The Spirit of Exploration

Dave Scott at Hadley

Painting Completed 1995
10 x 13 inches, Acrylic on Aircraft Plywood

"Falcon is on the Plain at Hadley," reported an excited Apollo 15 Commander David R. Scott July 30, 1971. Dave and Lunar Module Pilot Jim Irwin were on the surface of the Moon at a site rich with scientific potential. They would be able to make observations and gather samples from three types of lunar topography: a mare basin or plain, a lunar rille or gorge, and a mountain front. They would stay on the Moon some three and a half days and would have for their use the first car on the Moon, an electric dune buggy.

As I watched Dave and Jim go about their work, I was impressed. We had come so far so fast. Only two years earlier the whole world watched the black-and-white television pictures of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin moving about on the Moon for the first time. They never ventured far from their lunar module. Now, on beautiful computer-enhanced color television, Dave and Jim explored five times the surface area of the three previous landings all put together.

It was a stunning achievement.

Why had we gone to the Moon at all? Was it worth the cost? I feel that there is no single answer to these questions, and that each person must decide for themselves. The spirit of exploration is either in your heart or it is not.

Dave Scott spoke eloquently when he said, "As I stand out here in the wonders of the unknown at Hadley, I sort of realize there is a fundamental truth to our nature. Man most explore. And this is exploration at its greatest."