Lunar Grand Prix

John Young demonstrates the bouncy rover ride, with dust flying off the wheels

Painting Completed 1997
16 x 26 inches, Acrylic on Aircraft Plywood

Apollo 16 Commander John Young is putting the lunar rover through a full test. This was the second mission with the rover onboard and this "Lunar Grand Prix" would allow John to evaluate the performance of the rover in the light gravity and the dusty, cratered, and rocky surface of the Moon.

His companion, Astronaut Charlie Duke, is photographing it all with the 16-mm Data Acquisition Camera normally mounted on the rover, but hand-held temporarily to document the rover motion.

John later said, "The tendency was to drive wide open or very close to that and take what you got. The best reference to speed control was the speedometer, as I really didn't have a feel for the difference between 7 and 10 kilometers per hour."

Later, he demonstrated a sharp turn at ax speed, about 10 kilometers per hour. "I made the rover end break out to show the engineers how it looked. It is no problem as all I had to do was cut back like I do when driving in snow...I didn't get up to any great speed, maybe 10 clicks at the most, but the terrain around there was too rough and rocky for that kind of foolishness..."

Charlie, who was filming it all, told Houston, ", Indy has never seen a driver like this."