Crewed Mission to the Moon, Second
The second crewed mission to land on the surface of the moon was the Apollo 12 moon mission and was carried out by the U.S. National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA). The crew was composed of Mission Commander Charles “Pete” Conrad, Lunar Module Pilot Alan L. Bean, and Command Module pilot Richard F. Gordon, with Conrad and Bean being the ones who actually touched down on the lunar surface.
Apollo 12 was launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on November 14, 1969. The lunar lander with Bean and Conrad touched down on the moon on November 19, and lifted off from the moon on November 20. After a rendezvous with the command module, which remained in lunar orbit with Gordon at the control, Apollo 12 splashed down in the south Pacific Ocean on November 24.
Some notable achievements and events during the mission:
- The Saturn V rocket that lifted the crew and their craft off was twice struck by lightning on launch causing all the electronic instruments to go haywire, almost compelling Mission Commander Conrad to abort the mission. The problem was fixed when Electrical, Environmental and Consumables Manager John Aaron, who was at mission control, ordered the crew to “set SCE to Aux”, a rather obscure switch that only Bean recalled from previous simulations.
Apollo 12 Crew Portrait, from left to right: Charles Conrad Jr., Richard F. Gordon Jr., and Alan L. Bean
- The crew carried the first color television camera to the moon, which Bean immediately broke when he accidentally pointed the lens at the sun, frying the camera’s circuitry.
- The lunar module landed within walking distance of the Surveyor 7 probe, which had landed on the moon in April 1967. In visiting the probe, Bean and Conrad became the first and only astronauts to visit a previously launched probe on the surface of another world.
- Lunar Module Pilot Alan Bean was the first artist to visit another world. After he finished his NASA career, Bean became a full-time fine-arts painter. He even used some of the dust he collected from the moon in his paintings.
- Backup crew commander David Scott decided to have a little fun with the crew and hid pornographic pictures from Playboy Magazine in the wirebound wristbooks the astronauts had clipped to their wrists. These binders contained mission checklists and other information, so they made for good places to hide the pictures as a practical joke. Conrad and Bean upon finding the images as they walked on the moon, made sure not to comment on them in their space suits since NASA could hear everything they’re saying, but instead laughed to themselves without ever cluing in mission control.
The first mission to land humans on the moon, Apollo 11, took place four months earlier.
Back to SilverMedals Referencepedia...