LEM's - the Answer

Willie Koorts (wpk@saao.ac.za)
Mon, 9 Jun 1997 08:42:53 +0200 (GMT+0200)

On Thu, 5 Jun 1997, I wrote:

> Just got something interesting on the ASTRO mailing list:
> Let's see how the satellite experts do on this one.
> What did the Eagle have four of that the later LEMs only had three of?
> Willie

Well,  one can see we are dealing with the experts here.  The two Bills 
(Welker and Moore) knew the answer off the cuff.  On ASTRO nobody got 
it correct.  

Attatched is the full answer (by Dennis Ward) and the only two 
respondands to ASTRO.


------Attatched message------

NASA needed to provide some way of notifying the astronauts when they had
actually touched down on the surface of the moon.  So they attached a stiff
wire about two meters long to the bottom of all four landing pads.  These
"curb feelers" were attached to pressure switches that turned on the
"contact lights" referred to in the audio.

One problem though, these wires curved back around and up when the LEM
landed.  Imagine it-- you've just travelled 250,000+ miles, made a landing
with <30 seconds of fule left, you climb out the hatch and down the ladder,
only to have to dodge a sharp piece of wire, just waiting to puncture your
space suit!

NASA decided they could get by with only three contact probes on the later
flights, and eliminated the one under the ladder.


------The two tries------

>> I will make a guess that the 4 thingies on Apollo 11 were landing feet,
>> and the rest of them used 3 thingies.
>> Ruthie

> They all had four. I think it's probably the number of brake lights or
> something...
> Claudio