2008 Joint Meeting of The Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies with the Gulf Coast Section of SEPM

Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 9:05 AM

A Video Catalog of the Apollo Field Geologic Activities: A Vital Data Set for the Return to the Moon

HURTADO Jr, Jose Miguel1, CASTLE, Alice2, QUINONEZ, Sarah2 and LOFGREN, Gary E.3, (1)Department of Geological Sciences, University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West University Avenue, El Paso, TX 79968, (2)Department of Geological Sciences, University of Texas at El Paso, 500 W. University Ave, El Paso, TX 79968, (3)NASA Johnson Space Center, 2101 NASA Parkway, Houston, TX 77058-3607, hurtado@geo.utep.edu

Over 100 hours of newly-digitized video of the Apollo EVAs -- principally the Apollo J missions (15-17) -- is being cataloged to produce a record of the geologic activities conducted on the lunar surface. The video catalog is a valuable resource because it is one of the only records of lunar surface operations and, specifically, of humans doing field geology on another planetary body. Beyond its suitability as crew training material, the video is a fundamental data set with which to investigate how best to use humans for lunar exploration. For example, the footage illustrates real examples of important issues that arise during lunar field work, including: (1) human-equipment interactions (e.g. effectiveness of equipment, troubleshooting, improvisation, etc.); (2) space-suited human performance (e.g. difficulties negotiating terrain, potential hazards, mode of movement, etc.); (3) mission control-crew and intra-crew interactions (e.g. communications, scientific and mission decision making, etc.); and (4) the roles that new technologies can fill in the future (e.g. robotics, field computation and instrumentation, etc.). Compilation and analysis of the Apollo J mission lunar surface activities is therefore a logical first step for comparing and contrasting the geologic work done during Apollo with what should be done in the coming decades. Whereas Apollo focused on the collection of samples and imagery from carefully pre-selected sites, future exploration must also incorporate increasing amounts of exploratory geologic mapping and geophysical surveys. As with geologic field work on Earth, this type of investigation will be driven by multiple working hypotheses, and it will involve detailed, systematic data collection and in-situ, real-time analysis. These activities will require skilled field geologists/geophysicists with broad backgrounds and will fundamentally affect training and surface operations, including EVA equipment design, technology requirements, mission safety, and crew autonomy.