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Riding Along with Apollo 16 Astronauts

Only six people have driven around on the gray, dusty, cratered lunar surface. Now the rest of us can, too. The Dutchsteammachine YouTube channel has provided a spectacular view from the passenger seat in the electric car known as the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV more information, see left photo) as it drove towards Station 4 on Stone Mountain at the Apollo 16 landing site on the Moon in April 1972. Watch here! It is a rollicking ride with NASA astronauts Charlie Duke and John Young as the rover goes up and down on the rolling terrain. You will pass craters of various sizes, boulder fields and isolated boulders, while relentlessly traveling uphill to get to a good location to sample the rocks on Stone Mountain, all the while listening to the astronauts talk to each other and the team back on Earth. It's a thrill!

Frame from a NASA video of Apollo 16 Lunar Roving Vehicle at the Descartes landing site on the Moon. NASA video of riding along with Apollo 16 astronauts in the Lunar Roving Vehicle on the Moon. 

[LEFT] This view is a frame from motion picture film exposed by a 16mm Maurer camera held by NASA Astronaut Charles M. Duke, Jr. while NASA Astronaut John W. Young drove the LRV at the Descartes landing site on the Moon. [RIGHT] This frame is also from a 16mm motion picture film taken during the Apollo 16 mission that now has an upgraded frame rate by Dutchsteammachine. To see the entire 5 minute 42 seconds ride, go to the Apollo 16 ride along.

The video is an amazing upgrade from the original 16 millimeter motion picture film used during the Apollo mission. The team at Dutchsteammachine used artificial intelligence techniques to increase the frame rate from 12 frames per second to 60 frames per second and with a resolution of 4k (like modern television monitors). For youngsters reading this, "film" is a flexible plastic strip coated with a light-sensitive layer. The captured pictures are revealed by treating the coatings with chemicals. Film for motion pictures came in sizes from 8 to 65 millimeters in width.

pdf link, Riding Along with Apollo 16 (pdf version)

See related:
·   Apollo 11 landing from the Dutchsteammachine YouTube channel. [LINK]

·   Enhanced Apollo 13 still images from (Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine) featuring work by Andy Saunders. [LINK]

Written by G. Jeffrey Taylor, Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, for PSRD.

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July 2020