Astronauts Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell became the fifth and sixth man to walk on the moon's surface Friday (5 February) after bringing their lunar landing craft 'Antares' to near-perfect landing in a shallow valley of the Fra Mauro region.
MS Commander Shepard standing on surface next to LM ladder describing immediate area....
CU Shepard approaches camera to make adjustment.
MS Mitchell descent ladder to surface, tests surface and returns to ladder....
WS View of LM and Astronaut Mitchell as Shepard positions TV camera.....
Shepard walks away from tv camera towards LM commenting on surface details and number of rocks; Mitchell unpacks equipment in background....
Cutaway to Houston ground control room...
MS Shepard(right) and Mitchell(left) deploy umbrella shaped dish of radio antenna...
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Background: Astronauts Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell became the fifth and sixth man to walk on the moon's surface Friday (5 February) after bringing their lunar landing craft 'Antares' to near-perfect landing in a shallow valley of the Fra Mauro region.
A serious problem in the guidance computer was overcome at the last minute to make the landing possible. But it was never totally corrected, forcing Commander Shepard to manually control descent and landing. However, the LM was brought down just sixty feet from the act aiming point, settling gently on an 8-degree slope in the hilly region near the Sea of Showers called Fra Mauro. The landing site is surrounded by rocky ridges, and the immediate area around the Antares is heavily catered. Astronaut Mitchell said there were many boulders near the spacecraft, some of them 3-feet in diameter. He described the colour as "mouse brown or grey, depending on the changing angle of the sun."
Some five and one-half hours after touchdown, Shepard descended the ladder and stepped on the lunar surface. He said the surface soil was very soft and deep, coming over his boot tops. His first step on the moon was not seen because of minor error by a ground controller in Houston, but his second step and all activities by both astronauts from that point onward was seen in colour by millions of viewers on earth. Unlike the Apollo 12 mission, the television camera carried by the Apollo 14 astronauts worked perfectly, although initial lens adjustments caused some slight overexposure.
Shortly after Edgar Mitchell descended onto the surface, Commander Shepard moved the television camera fifty feet away from Antares and then joined his colleague at the landing craft to unpack various pieces of equipment. Our film shows Mitchell in the distance deploying the solar flare detector and then Shepard deploying the umbrella shaped radio antenna. During their first three and one-half hour walk, the astronauts set several other experiments and collected soil and rock samples. The astronauts are scheduled to spend a little more than 33-hours on the moon's surface, with a second excursion on the surface scheduled for Saturday morning ( 6 February).
Fellow astronauts Stuart Roosa meanwhile orbited 10 miles above the moon in the command ship 'Mitty Hawk carrying out photography and observation tasks.