Author Topic: Living in 1/6th G - what I'd like to ask an Apollo astronaut(s)  (Read 1120 times)

Offline Everett

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Well, my personal opinion is we're not going back to the moon anytime soon, and I'm not sure we ever will. Because of that, and so it doesn't get lost to time, here's what I'd like to ask an Apollo astronaut (who landed, or more than one). The thing is, everybody had experience with living in a 1 G environment. And plenty of people have had experience with living in a 0 G environment. But only those who landed on the moon have an experience with living (even just for a day) in a 1/6th G environment, or a reduced gravity environment at all for that mater. What are the little things, the little details, that come with living in a reduced gravity environment that it wouldn't occur to anyone to think of otherwise, and that a person would only discover by being there, that otherwise wouldn't make it into the history books?

Ideally it'd be someone from the J missions, who spent the most time on the surface. Sorry the above isn't my best writing, rambling a bit, but I hope my meaning comes through.

Offline bknight

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Re: Living in 1/6th G - what I'd like to ask an Apollo astronaut(s)
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2019, 01:22:43 PM »
Although I haven't looked, I'm sure that from time to time those remaining few gives lectures/talks.   Look them up and if you are able to find the time and resources to go, then by all means go, but do it soon.  Those remaining are dewindling.
Truth needs no defense.  Nobody can take those footsteps I made on the surface of the moon away from me.
Eugene Cernan

Offline ka9q

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Re: Living in 1/6th G - what I'd like to ask an Apollo astronaut(s)
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2019, 02:13:02 AM »
Armstrong and/or Aldrin commented soon after landing that they actually preferred 1/6 g over both 0 g and 1 g. I don't know if any of the others made similar remarks but I wouldn't be surprised.

Offline Kiwi

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Re: Living in 1/6th G - what I'd like to ask an Apollo astronaut(s)
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2019, 08:23:26 AM »
Everett, have you Googled the subject and trolled through the entire Apollo Lunar Surface Journals?  There must be plenty of information about it.

I just got 21 hits for "sixth" from my old text file of the complete Apollo 11 ALSJ. Here are the first few -- the relevant phrase follows after the GET (Ground Elapsed Time) and before the next one:

102:46:23 lift for the remaining one-sixth of the LLTV's weight was provided by two 2250 Newton hydrogen peroxide lift rockets

102:57:01 Aldrin: Okay. This one-sixth g is just like the airplane.

103:03:32 Armstrong: You might be interested to know that I don't think we notice any difficulty at all in adapting to one-sixth g. It seems immediately natural to move in this environment.

104:39:48 [Armstrong, from the 1969 Technical Debrief - "There were two factors that we thought might influence that decision. One was the spacecraft systems and any abnormalities that we might have that we'd want to work on; and the second was our adaptation to one-sixth g and whether we thought more time in one-sixth g before starting the EVA would be advantageous or disadvantageous at that point. Basically, my personal feeling was that the adaptation to one-sixth g was very rapid and was very pleasant, easy to work in, and I thought at the time that we were ready to go right ahead into the surface work and recommended that."]

109:17:29 [Armstrong, from the 1969 Technical Debrief - "I guess the most important thing here with respect to the egress through the hatch and the work on the ladder and the platform (porch) is that our simulation work in both the tank and in the (one-sixth-g) airplane was a reasonably accurate simulation. They were adequate to learn to do the job and we didn't have any big surprises in that area. The things that we'd learned about body positioning, arching the back, clearances required, and one person helping another and so on worked just like the real case. There weren't any difficulties in movement through the hatch or with stability on the porch."]

109:25:45 Armstrong: There seems to be no difficulty in moving around as we suspected. It's even perhaps easier than the simulations of one-sixth g that we performed in the various simulations on the ground. It's absolutely no trouble to walk around. (Pause) Okay. The descent engine did not leave a crater of any size. It has about 1 foot clearance on the ground. We're essentially on a very level place here. I can see some evidence of rays emanating from the descent engine, but a very insignificant amount. (Pause)

109:39:11 Armstrong: All set. Okay. You saw what difficulties I was having. I'll try to watch your PLSS from underneath here.

[Two means of training for operations in one-sixth g is (1) to work in a water tank with extra weights worn to give you an effective weight of one-sixth g; or (2) to fly in a KC135 aircraft (the transport version of the Boeing 707) as it flies successive parabolas. On each parabola, you can get about a half minute of one-sixth g. I asked if they'd had much egress training in either a water tank or in the 135.]

[Armstrong - "I don't think so. The procedure for getting out of the hatch takes longer than the (aircraft) parabola."]

[Aldrin - "We probably had some kind of a backpack, pressurized. You did it in crude training gear, not flight gear, and in one g and concluded that it probably wouldn't be difficult."]

[Armstrong - "We didn't do much aircraft training. A lot less than we did in Gemini. I did a lot in Gemini and I suppose you did too."]

[Aldrin - "I had a few records with successive parabolas. I think we did some for Apollo 11. I think maybe that was the time we... Yeah, we'd had a little bit of spacesickness in some of the flights, like (Frank) Borman (on Apollo 8) and Rusty (Schweickart on Apollo 9, both of whom suffered from zero-g induced disorientation and nausea), and I don't know whether we had much of a concern or indication from the 10 crew but it was beginning to be a growing concern as to what the room in the Command Module might do."]

[None of the Mercury or Gemini flights produced any reports of discomfort or nausea in zero-g, but some of the astronauts on the early Apollo flights suffered dramatically. One theory was that, in the earlier spacecraft, the astronauts sat in tight quarters for the whole mission and, among other things, had no chance to move their heads very much. In the Apollo Command Module, you could move about freely and, so, disturb the inner ear.]

[Aldrin - "And I felt that shaking the head around during zero-g with a suit over me would test my system to see whether I had any concern. It probably wasn't very good. As I mentioned the other night, I don't think moving your head has that much to do with it at all. Anyway, I rode that trainer more for SAS (Space Adaptation Syndrome). And I don't remember that we did contingency sampling or anything like that (on the airplane flights)."]

[Current thinking is that, rather than being motion related, Space Adaptation Syndrome occurs in some people because they have trouble coordinating the information coming from their inner ears and from their eyes. After a day or so, almost all people adapt and the queasiness goes away.]

[Armstrong - "We did some one-sixth g, but not much. But we did a little of it, I think, more to test walking and things like that. I don't remember that we ever did it in suits."]

[They also had a training device called the POGO, which was a contraption build of cables and booms to give a walking astronaut a sensation of one-sixth g. I asked if they had done any training with it.]

[Aldrin - "Yeah. But we weren't great believers in that."]

[Armstrong - "There was one (POGO) that partially lifted your weight with cables from above, and then there were others where you were suspended at an angle so that you had one-sixth of your weight against a board. It wasn't very good."]

[I remarked that they seemed to have no trouble adapting to one-sixth g.]

[Aldrin - "I think our comments after the flight were that you didn't need to do one-sixth simulations very much for mobility purposes. I would think even less for Mars."]

Edited to add: The "Apollo [smiley]" above should read "Apollo digit-eight". It seems pretty silly for the software here to do that.

I have absolutely no doubt at all that as soon as there are suitable pressurised habitation modules on the Moon, some male astronaut will do a scientifically valid test of how high he can pee on Earth, and then repeat the test at the first opportunity after reaching the Moon.  :)
« Last Edit: August 10, 2019, 09:03:18 AM by Kiwi »
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