Galactic Navigator

Ed Mitchell studies the EVA-2 traverse map, trying to figure out where they are

Painting Completed 1985
44 x 31 inches, Acrylic on Masonite

Apollo 14 Astronaut Ed Mitchell is having the same lost feelings all moon explorers experience. He doesn't know exactly where he is right now. Lunar maps are made using photographs made from lunar orbit, and the most noticeable features from orbit are craters. Unfortunately, the view changes at ground level. As Ed observed, "Al Shepard and I couldn't see our next set of landmarks from our present position. Large craters we expected to be able to see were hidden behind other craters, ridges, old worn-down mounds." It is difficult to judge distances because there is no atmosphere. Al reported, "It's so crystal clear up there it just looks a lot closer than it is."

Moving about on the Moon is so different from walking or running on Earth that estimating how far one has moved during a certain period is impossible. Ed is wondering, "Have I gone 500 feet or 1500 feet?"

When Ed arrives at a crater or boulder, there are no signs to confirm that it's the right one. He said, "I never knew what to expect when I went over a ridge, what I was going to see on the other side." Although he may not know exactly where he is, he's not lost. Ed and Al can always trace their footsteps back to the lunar module and then back home.

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