Fender Lovin' Care

Gene Cernan accidentally tore off the right rear fender of the Apollo 17 rover during EVA-1.  The replacement is about 50 cm on a side and will be held in place with small clamps that were in the cabin

Painting Completed 1995
15 x 21 inches, Acrylic on Aircraft Plywood

Apollo 17 Astronauts Gene Cernan and Jack Schmitt are doing some "low-tech" bodywork on their high-tech lunar rover. During their first moonwalk, Gene accidentally hooked the hammer he carried in his right leg pocket on the rover's right-read fender extension, knocking it off. He fixed it temporarily by taping it back on using gray duct tape. Unfortunately, somewhere on their lunar drive the tape gave way and the fender extension fell off and was lost for good.

Losing a part of a fender, a minor problem on planet Earth, is a serious one in the light gravity of the Moon. Gene would report, "Oh, it pretty near makes me sick losing that fender." Gene later said, "With the loss of the fender extension, the dust generated by the wheels is intolerable. Not just the crew gets dusty, but everything mechanical on the rover is subject to dust. I think dust is probably one of our greatest inhibitors to a normal operation on the Moon." Back on planet Earth, Astronaut John Young and other friends in mission control conceived a nifty repair. After wake-up the next morning, Gene and Jack would select four plasticized maps already used on the mission and tape them together. Back with the rover on the surface that morning, they could continue with the repair.

I painted Gene and Jack aligning the maps to the fiberglass fender. When Gene is satisfied, Jack will hold the maps steady as Gene secures them using two small clamps normally used to mount auxiliary lights inside the lunar module cabin. The fix worked!

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