Pete Conrad, Dick Gordon and I are participating in the checkout of our Command and Service Modules at North American Rockwell Space Division in Downey, California.
NASA built this device to simulate the experience of walking in the one-sixth gravity of the moon, by lifting five sixths of the combined weight of an astronaut, suit and backpack. I am the first to try out the device, and as you can see from the expression on my face, I become the first astronaut to experience a space-age wedgie.
Pete Conrad and I are performing a simulated moonwalk in a lunar surface-like environment. We trained in locations that geologists believe would be the closest replicas available on earth to the surfaces they thought we would encounter on the moon. To do this, we trained in several volcanic areas of the western United States, Hawaii and Iceland.
One of the most important objectives of our Apollo 12 mission is to make a pinpoint landing near an unmanned Surveyor spacecraft, which had landed on the moon's surface some 33 months earlier. Pete and I are practicing, with a mock-up, what we will do when we get to Surveyor III on the Ocean of Storms in a few weeks. I am holding the television camera and Pete is cutting the support members with a bolt cutter so that we can bring the camera back to earth for evaluation.
General Motors realized that astronauts are getting a lot of exposures in newspapers, magazines and television. They decided that loaning us a new Corvette every year will get them a lot of very excellent publicity. All of us thought this was a great idea. They were also nice enough to loan our wives another Chevrolet of their choice.
Next: Apollo 12 Slideshow