The countdown nears its final stage. Apollo 14 atop its giant Saturn rocket is nearly?
SV Astronaut Shepard, seismometer
CU Placing the above on ground
LV Shepard ALSEP central station
LV Shepard walking Mitchell follows with cart
CU Above being towed
LV Shepard in B/G Mitchell in F/G towing cart
LV Shepard gets ready to start trenching operation
CU Trench being dug (2 shots)
LV Shepard towing carts joins Mitchell
Initials BB/BHH/SGM/0049 BB/BHH/SGM/0116
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Background: The countdown nears its final stage. Apollo 14 atop its giant Saturn rocket is nearly at full readiness. The three Astronauts Shepard, Mitchell and Roosa are now as ready as they will ever be for the long, lonely journey through space to the Moon. Sunday (January 31) is blast-off day. But the many days preceding their journey to the Moon have been full, arduous ones for the space trio - day of rehearsals, of simulation, of try and try again to get the many vital operations exactly right.
For this, the fourth United States Moonshot, the two men to walk on the lunar surface will be Alan Shepard, America's first Astronaut and at 47 the oldest man ever to venture into space, and Ed Mitchell, a 40-year-old Navy Commander, making his first space trip.
Stuart Roosa, the Command Pilot, at 37 the youngest member of the team, is also a space first-timer. Roosa is a Major in the U.S. Air Force with several thousands of hours jet-flight experience behind him. He will hold the Apollo in low orbit around the Moon while his two colleagues tramp the Lunar surface, carrying out a series of vital experiments.
The equipment and the cart in which it will be carried over the rugged moonscape, is now sealed ready to be stowed in the Lunarcraft. But for weeks Shepard and Mitchell have been practising with exact replicas, dressed in full space kit while trudging across an area of terrain similar to that which they will encounter when they achieve Moonfall.
The Met, as the cart the astronauts will tow around the Moon with them is called, will be the first manually-operated vehicle to be used on the alien surface. It will carry all their digging equipment and tools used during their two surface expeditions.
With the Apollo Programme cut back to three more missions after Apollo 14, scientists are particularly anxious for the Moon experiments to be successful.
The area in which the astronauts will land is of particular interest to earth-bound scientists. It is in the "hilly" region. It is believed that a giant meteor crashed into the Moon in this area, its impact throwing up debris from as far below the surface as 100 miles (160kms).
With billions of dollars already invested in the Apollo Programme scientists, technicians and the astronauts, themselves are leaving nothing to chance - trial runs and rehearsals are just as important as the real thing.