John Young in the Mountains of the Moon

John at Plum Crater

Painting Completed 2003
10 3/4 x 14 inches, Textured Acrylic with Moondust on Aircraft Plywood

John Young stands ready with a documented sample bag in his left hand. He has placed his gnomon near a rock he thinks should be returned to Earth for further study. After a photograph or two, he will place the aforementioned rock in its individual bag for a 240,000 mile journey to planet Earth.

John and Charlie Duke landed in the Descartes Highlands, just southeast of the center of the Moon as we see it from Earth. This mountainous area would probably contain older and more geologically interesting rocks than Neil and Buzz, and Pete and I had collected on Apollos 11 and 12, or even Al and Ed on 14. We at NASA did not have the confidence and skills to attempt an approach and landing on anything but a relatively flat mare surface early on, but by Apollo 15, 16, and 17 we had learned much and we could begin to explore more difficult but intriguing landing sites.

After landing and a rest period, John and Charlie are well into their first moonwalk. They have parked their Lunar Roving Vehicle at Station 1, next to Plumb Crater and both are collecting rock and dirt samples that may have been blasted out of Plumb or two larger craters nearby, billions of years ago. Spook is off to the left and we can see the reflection of Flag Crater in John's visor. The light colored surface at the base of the distant mountains behind John is the South Ray Crater and associated ejecta.

John and Charlie and Ken Mattingly orbiting above, flew a great mission. There would be only one more Apollo, a total of six lunar landings in all. Apollo was one of the almost impossible accomplishments of the twentieth century.

Larry McGlynn, proud owner of John Young in the Mountains of the Moon, says that Al explained to him that he really enjoyed painting 'Young at Descartes', feeling that he had succeeded in capturing the color and shadows that have been a goal of his evolving style. McGlynn took the following photo in November 2003.

Al Bean with work in progress