A Labor of Love

Carrying the Experiment Packages

Painting Completed 1983
24 x 36 inches, Acrylic on Masonite

This painting is of one of my favorite memories of my moonwalks. I am carrying out our suite of Apollo lunar scientific experiments and the small atomic power unit which provides their electrical power. Pete Conrad is running ahead in search of a relatively flat surface so that we can properly deploy them. The six experiments are mounted on one end of the pole while the radioisotope thermonuclear power unit is on the other.

Three things about the walk remain in my mind. To begin with, the pole with experiments and power source was difficult to carry even in the light lunar gravity because is was hard to keep my hands closed around the thin pole the pressure inside the suit and gloves tended to force the gloves open. Second, I could feel the heat that was being radiated by the thermonuclear power unit on my right leg even through my suit. Last, the pole was so flexible that as I walked, the ends would bounce up and down and the experiments and power unit would keep coming partly off the pole. I had to stop 3 or 4 times to reattach them.

Pete found a good site and we spent the next hour and a half unpacking the experiments and setting them up. When we finished, the scientists in Houston turned the experiments on and they all checked out OK. In fact, the seismometer which was designed to detect moon quakes would pick up our foot steps anytime we ran within several hundred yards of the site.