I should have references 1 and 2 but they are at home. I'll try to remember
to look at them tonight if nobody else has commented on them by that time.
I think I looked briefly through reference 6 and saw nothing especially
relevant. I've already posted my comments about reference 3 last evening. I
agree that NGM is a pretty good indicator of what the informed public was
reading at the time (even though they did not have a "letter to the editor"
Most drawings in the NGM at that time showed either bare rocks or a thin
layer of dust.
> From: Jonathan Clarke[SMTP:email@example.com]
> Sent: November 3, 1998 2:32 AM
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Cc: email@example.com
> Subject: Re: moon dust info - please help
> Blaine D. McArthur wrote:
> > Quick follow up to my last post, I just looked through the Feb. 1969
> > issue of National Geographic. Found some interesting stuff.
> > On page 213 there is a photo of Thomas Gold of Cornell University
> > trowelling some ordinary, dry powdered cement onto the footpad of a
> > Surveyor spacecraft. The caption reads in part:
> > "In the long-argued question of the moon's surface
> > rocky, sandy, or powdery...."
> > There was without doubt, serious debate about the nature of the moons
> > surface. This can not be denied. Gold,at the time of this article,
> > several months before the Apollo landing, was not of the opinion that
> > the dust would be a problem.
> > There is some mention of the limits of earth bound telescopes; nothing
> > smaller than 800 feet across. Thus, the Ranger program, as Glenn
> > mentioned in his post. A total of Seven Rangers. Much improved
> > resolution, still, NASA engineers were not satisfied. I again quote
> > from this article, page 218:
> > "The Apollo planners needed more. They needed to actually test
> > surface, to assure that astronauts and spacecraft would not be swallowed
> > up, as some people feared, in a deep treacherous seas of dust. Five
> > successful Surveyors,...soft-landed on the moon and gave unequivocal
> > answers...."
> > "...as each spindly spraddle-leggged craft dropped gingerly to
> > surface, its speed largely negated by retrorocket, its THREE FOOTPAD
> > SANK NO MORE THAN AN INCH OR TWO INTO THE SOFT LUNAR SOIL. The bearing
> > strength of the surface measured as much as 5 to 10 pounds per square
> > inch, ample for either astronaut or landing spacecraft." (Emphasis added
> > by yours truly)
> > The October 1966 issue of National Geographic addresses the Surveyor
> > program and its finding. No "Sea of Dust", and NASA planners and
> > engineers knew this well before the July '69 landing of men on the
> > moon. There were a few dissenters, who still thought ther may be some
> > areas where the dust could be much thicker. But just look at those
> > famous *pads* on the lunar lander. Do you seriously think that if the
> > dust layer on the surface was 30, 50, 100 feet of more, that those pads
> > would be of any use at all?
> > Page 216-217 contains a photomosaic of the area immediately surrounding
> > Surveyor 7 showing trenches dug by its "claw arm" No evidence of a
> > "deep, treacherous sea of dust" in this 1968 photo.
> > I suspect anything in Life (Was Time around back then????) would
> > probably be in the same vein.
> > And I would still like to see those old tape of the original TV
> > coverage.
> > Blaine
> Searching my National Geographic's for relevant articles about the moon
> and the
> space program occur highlighted the following issues 1) Feb 58, 2) Feb
> 59, 3)
> Oct 62, 3) March 64, 5) Nov 64, 6) Oct 66, 7) Feb 69, 8) Dec 69, and 9)
> Sept 73.
> I have copies of 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, & 9.
> Reference 3) deals with the planned Ranger 4 mission to land a seismometer
> on the
> moon (it failed). No mention of dust, but the art work shows a cratered
> similar to, but somewhat rockier than,what is actually the case.
> Reference 4)
> discussed progress of forth-coming Apollo missions. Again no mention of
> dust, but
> art work of a rocky cratered surface. The October 66 (ref 5) article is
> Ranger 7 and is by Gene Shoemaker (who I was privileged to meet last
> year). He
> gives a good non technical summary of how he developed his model of the
> surface which a gardened regolith and eroded by a micrometeorite rain.
> Again, no
> mention of thick dust. Reference 7) is as good a brief summary of the
> state of
> pre-Apollo 11 knowledge as you are likely to get. Blaine has accurately
> summarised it's contents. The Apollo 11 landing is covered by ref 8) and
> - you
> guessed it - no thick dust either. Reference 9 is a post-Apollo summary
> and there
> is no mention about any surprises about the nature of lunar surface.
> Plenty about
> other unexpected things (density distribution, internal structure, and
> heat flow),
> but nothing on regolith.
> National Geographic is probably a good indicator of what the informed
> public would
> be reading. The articles I was able to "unearth" ("unmoon"???) show that
> theory was never portrayed in National Geographic as mainstream. At best
> it was a
> contentious possibility. It would be interesting to see Refs 1, 2, and 6
> - 1 & 2
> should give pre Apollo program summaries of what was known about the moon
> and Ref
> 6 reported the Surveyor 1 mission. Anyone out there got them and wants to
> summarise their contents? If this thread is still going on Thursday I
> will try
> the second hand book shops!
> Another source of info would be the Time-Life books I devoured as a child.
> was one on the Planets and one on the unversie as I recall. Both pre