Savoring the Moment

Jack Schmitt with LRV Sampler after EVA-3

Painting Completed 1984
20 x 30 inches, Acrylic on Masonite

Harrison "Jack" Schmitt is taking a brief break to look in wonder, and to just appreciate how incredibly fortunate he is. As the only professional geologist ever to study firsthand another world, he needs a little time to let the significance of the event sink in. He is near the end of his third lunar surface exploration, and exploration is hard, hard work.

Both Gene Cernan and Jack have been going full speed. The human body gets tired in a different way on the Moon. This is largely caused by the 3.7 pounds-per-square inch pressure inside the suit that is required to keep us earthlings alive in the Moon's vacuum. With this internal pressure, the fingers want to stay open and a lot of conscious effort is required to hold tools, rocks, or just anything.

Jack probably won't be back this way again, and he is trying to capture in his memory the magnificent desolation of the lunar world. This spot hadn't changed much over the last three billion years. Now, there are signs of visitors from another place: part of a spaceship, an abandoned car, a flag. They will remain just as they are for at least the next three billion years.

Jack is living a dream that is almost as old as Man himself, to voyage off this Earth and outward toward the stars. As Jack said earlier, "Oh, what a nice day...there's not a cloud in the sky."