Author Topic: Apollo 12 as a milestone of exploration?  (Read 3258 times)

Offline Glom

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Apollo 12 as a milestone of exploration?
« on: April 10, 2012, 03:20:48 AM »
Apollo 11 was end of a long phase of the manned space program being about developing capability.  From Apollo 12 onwards, the program was about exploration rather than developing the capability for exploration.

But can we generalise this an say Apollo 12 was the start of NASA great age of exploration that still continues to this day?

I know there were a few Mariners prior to Apollo 12 and of course the trail blazing Moon stuff, but even Mariner 9, the first spacecraft to orbit another planet, post-dates Apollo 12.

Offline Bob B.

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Re: Apollo 12 as a milestone of exploration?
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2012, 08:19:50 AM »
I've always considered Mariner 4 (1964) to be the first really exciting exploratory mission.  Those images that it returned of the cratered surface of Mars were pretty cool.

Offline raven

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Re: Apollo 12 as a milestone of exploration?
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2012, 02:01:01 PM »
I'd say Luna 3 was pretty special. It showed how space exploration could show us things that were literally impossible to find out any other way. OK, the pictures weren't the best quality, being noisy and taken at a bad time of lunar day to show much detail, but it was still very much a milestone in my opinion. And with some modern cleanup, they don't look half bad.

Offline Glom

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Re: Apollo 12 as a milestone of exploration?
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2012, 03:50:19 PM »
I've always considered Mariner 4 (1964) to be the first really exciting exploratory mission.  Those images that it returned of the cratered surface of Mars were pretty cool.

When Mariner 4 returned those first pictures, what was the mood like?  Was it sullen with the realisation that it was a barren planet and there would be no adventures for male models with four armed aliens against giant pandas?

Offline ka9q

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Re: Apollo 12 as a milestone of exploration?
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2012, 07:10:37 AM »
I don't really see why you need to draw a sharp line between Apollo 11 and 12. Yes, there was a shift from engineering to science as the Apollo program progressed, but there was always some science in the beginning (even if Wally Schirra didn't like it) and some engineering at the end (that Jack Schmitt had to learn before he could do his science).

The entire Apollo program was a program of exploration.