Apollo 15, Corvette and the Lunar Rover…


Having been a small infant at the brief, fleeting years of the Apollo space programme, the moon landings are a hazy physical memory for me, but an object of passionate interest. So when one stumbles on some archive material related to Lunar Rovers, Corvettes and moonshots, it’s bound to take my notice.

Apollo 15, the crew members of which you can see pictured here with their promotional Corvettes and the Lunar Rover, was the first of mission to the moon to take a rover to the surface of a celestial body. The Lunar rover might have cost $16M, but I’d sooner cruise the strip in the 1976 ‘vette.

The Lunar Roving Vehicle, developed and built by boing, had been commissioned in 1969 – and this amazing piece of tech could be folded into a space 1.5 m by 0.5 m. Unloaded it weighed 209 kg and when carrying two astronauts and their equipment, 700 kg. Each wheel was independently driven by a 200 W electric motor. On the lunar surface it could travel at up to 8MPH – hardly earth shattering – but considering this was a quarter of a million miles away from the nearest filling station, not bad.

For the first time Astronauts were able to roam around the surface of the moon : and you could even consider Allan irwin, the Astronaut in the picture below, to have been the first human to have done a celestial donut.

There’s a kind of poignancy though, to this crazy, exploratory, pioneering mission – and something that makes us wish we were born in another time and another place.