Sunday, July 26, 2009
LM, THE ALUMINUM BALLOON
Well, not quite. For years science authors (including myself) have searched for a way to express the fragility of the Lunar Module. And make no mistake, it IS fragile. But some of the characterizations may be a bit over the top... it is not as thin as a soda can (somewhere between that and a Toyota fender, though). It is not quite an "aluminum balloon" (though it did flex when "inflated"). And, although it may have been possible, there is no obvious record of a dropped screwdriver puncturing the hull.
As can be seen in this image, Grumman's LM was a compound hull, with an inner layer, perpendicular strengthening ribs, and (not seen here) an outer layer. If one presses against it, it is quite strong. In fact, perhaps more than a worry of puncture was the concern with docking. In Apollo 14, it took almost two hours of repeated, and increasingly aggressive, docking attempts to mate the Command Module with the LM., and there was great concern that if the CM came in too fast it would crush the eggshell delicate (there's another one of those metaphors again!) hull of the LM.
A lazy Sunday here today, prepping samples for a new book. Fun work, but the 95 degree heat is making me wish I was UP there instead or writing about it...
WELCOME TO THE FUTURE, CIRCA 1969
Welcome to the Missions to the Moon book blog. This is a place to re-live the heady days of the Apollo and Soyuz lunar programs- perhaps the crowning achievements of the 20th Century. Many blog entries will include a new downloadable image or artifact from the space age- items rarely seen and not available in print. It's all in the spirit of my newest book, Missions to the Moon- to remember the great adventure of the Golden Age of space exploration, and ponder what wonders await us in space.
For more info on the author, go to www.rodpylebooks.com.