More GIFs made from some of the 14,227 Apollo photos.

Part 2 of a procrastination exercise that went a little too far.

If you missed the first part of this little project be sure to go and check that out here:

As for a quick recap: I realised a lot of the Apollo photographs were taken in bursts, and therefor could be cobbled together and turned into GIFs. So, lovely space-nerds, here’s a few more for you.

Here below is the surface of the Moon moving from day through to night.

Images from Project Apollo Archive

This is taken from Apollo 8, the first manned misson to the Moon (they didn’t land, just went and had a look), so the photographs are far more significant when you take into account that it was the first time anyone had seen the moon in this much detail. While they orbited, a camera had been set up in one of the spacecraft windows to record a frame every second as the Moon passed by just 70 miles below, and I’m pretty sure someone was thinking about the potential for GIFs even back then.

Once the crew emerged from the far side of the moon and regained communication, Houston was keen to find out what it looked like and so Jim Lovell described it to them. You can listen to that description here.

Audio via Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station & NASA
The Moon is essentially grey, no color; looks like plaster of Paris or sort of a grayish beach sand.

Meanwhile, Frank Borman thought “it looked like the burned-out ashes of a barbecue”

Next up is the test flight of Spider…

Images from Project Apollo Archive

The Apollo 9 guys didn’t go to the moon and instead just did a few laps of the earth while they tested equipment and practised all the manoeuvres that would eventually need to be done at the moon.

This was the first manned flight of the Lunar Module, which is the bit that lands on the moon, and what Apollo nerds just call ‘the LM’. Here’s a quick diagram for everyone else:

Basically, you’ve got two main parts: The LM and the CSM (Command/Service Module) In the case of Apollo 9, they named the Lunar Module with its gangly legs ‘Spider’ and the CSM ‘Gumdrop’ on account of its shapes.

Here below is the test flight of Spider above the earth, the first time a manned Lunar Module had been flown.

Images from Project Apollo Archive

Once that had been perfected, Apollo 10 flew to the Moon for what was essentially a dress-rehearsal where they did everything except land, and from there it was up to Apollo 11 to actually do it.

Here’s the Apollo 11 Lunar Module, (called Eagle this time, instead of Spider) having detached from the Command Module and getting ready to descend onto the moon.

Images from Project Apollo Archive

And here below is ascent stage of the Apollo 11 LM doing that same manoeuvre over the moon that Apollo 9 had practised over Earth further up the page there. The coolest thing about this sequence of shots is the earth rising halfway through. Amazing.

Images from Project Apollo Archive

As for some shots from the moon, it turns out the Apollo astronauts loved a panoramic sequence, which works really well when you stitch them together.

Here below is Apollo 16, by which time they’d began taking up a Lunar Roving Vehicle, better known as The Moon Buggy.

(If I’ve learnt anything from making these GIFs it’s that all the equipment has an official name and a better-known nickname)

Images from Project Apollo Archive

This panoramic above was taken by Apollo 16, I quite like that there’s some grime on the camera lens which shows up in each frame of this one.

Apollo 16 spend 71 hours on the surface of the moon and did three moonwalks, and covered 26.7 km with the Moon Buggy, here it is in action below. (If you look closely you can see the moon dust spraying up in a few frames)

Images from Project Apollo Archive

I thought I’d reverse back this next one given the lack of frames. Seems to work!

So this next one is quite cool. The last three missions (Apollo 15, 16 and 17) were longer missions, with more time spent on the moon, and some extra instruments attached to the Command/Service module that orbited the moon.

Because the Service Module would ultimately be jettisoned, this meant at some point during the return from the moon someone had to step outside of the spacecraft and go and retrieve the film from those instruments.

Here below is Ron Evans doing that job, around 100,000 km away from the moon, and 300,000 km from Earth (they’re a lot further apart than people think). If the idea of going for a swim and not being able to see land scares you a bit, then this should be your nightmare.

Images from Project Apollo Archive

And finally, here’s a lovely panoramic taken by by the same crew while they were on the moon.

Images from Project Apollo Archive

That’s it for now, the entire archive is worth a look, and the full sized images are worth chewing up your data up for, as some of the detail in them is quite impressive (as you can see from the image below).

Thanks also to Colin over at Honeysuckle Creek for the use of the audio. The essays on each landing over there (along with corresponding audio) are also worth a read/listen.

And finally to the space-nerds; if I’ve got any of the above info wrong, please do let me know and I’ll update it!