Voices from the Moon
What it was like, in the astronauts’ own words. Excerpts from a new book by Andrew Chaikin.
- By Andrew Chaikin with Victoria Kohl
- AirSpaceMag.com, May 20, 2009
I hadn’t been in the air an hour, and I knew I was in deep trouble. Because my mind was being overwhelmed with one extraordinarily impressive view, image, picture—and as soon as you got that and you said, “Look at that!” And then, shit, here came another one that was even more impressive! And I remember we were hardly out of Earth orbit when I said, you know, I’m in trouble. I can’t—I’m gonna—I’ve got days of this ahead of me, I’m gonna forget all this stuff. There’s only so much memory. And if they keep stuffing this memory into my brain, shit, stuff’s going to run out the bottom, and I will miss it! And I’ll never get it back. I remember that vividly, because it was this feeling of despair that, I can’t write fast enough, I can’t talk fast enough. I can’t take pictures that are going to capture this. But, shit, somebody ought to tell the world how absolutely spectacular this stuff is!
—Ken Mattingly, Apollo 16 command module pilot
(Photo: Mattingly snapped this picture of Earth shortly after Apollo 16 headed for the moon.)