Were We Giraffes or Gazelles?

Pete and Al Float Across the Lunar Surface

Painting Completed 2004
10 x 15 inches, Textured Acrylic with Moondust on Airplane Plywood

"You know what I feel like, Al?" Pete Conrad called to me on November 19, 1969. "Did you ever see those pictures of giraffes running in slow motion? That's exactly what I feel like."

We were side by side headed toward Surveyor Crater and were running fast. I dropped back for a better look. I called, "Pete, you land flat-footed so your heels don't sink in, but as you push off with your toes, they sink down about 3 inches." I then reported to Ed Gibson, our CapCom in mission control, "every time Pete lands he sends little particles spraying out ahead of him, and beside him, and everywhere else."

Over the years since visiting the Ocean of Storms I've paid close attention when PBS or Discovery Channel show giraffes and other animals running, especially in slow motion. I think now we moved less like giraffes and even more like gazelles, at least that's how it felt to me.

Oh well, it was a fun experience and the only way Pete and I had to get around. Someday, say 200 years from now, adventuresome humans from planet Earth will be able to come to the Moon to live or just for a vacation. They will all enjoy running, and jumping and doing things in the light gravity they could never do on planet Earth.

Note added in June 2004: Ulrich Lotzmann called Alan's attention to something Pete said once they were back in orbit with Dick Gordon: "We were leaping over that lunar surface like a freaking bunch of gazelles."

Alan told Lotzmann, "If I had known that quote, I would have used it in my story!"