NOVA; To the Moon; Interview with Farouk El-Baz, Director of the Center for Remote Sensing at Boston University, part 3 of 3
What did you know about the Lord in 1967? What did you know about the Lord in 1972? In 1967, we just had notion of what the moon may be made of, and we had some gut feelings about the fact that the features that we see on the moon would have formed the way we geologists think that features would form on the earth. And that was really the most critical aspect of the whole thing, the whole one thing that bothered us would things form on the moon the way we think, things work on the earth, and that was the critical, because we interpreted all the pictures from our experience, none of us has been to the moon, none of us was going to likely to be, maybe one of us, Jack Schmidt. But are we looking at these features in the right light, so to speak, are the features
on the moon would be identical to how would they look if they were formed on the earth, and that was a great big question. When the Apollo program ended in 1972, we learned all of that, and we learned, yes indeed, there are these types of features that form in the same way. Yes, the moon is much older, yes, the moon had volcanism, yes, the moon had gases that come out, and yes, we assume that there will be permanently shadowed areas on the moon that would actually have water in the form of ice around them, yes, there are all kinds of things that there would have been absolutely no way to even think them in 1967 before the Apollo program began. You had worked on the, among other things, the dual mode rover, were you, can you tell us a little bit about that, and did those kind of things that didn't happen at all? As far as the rover is concerned, there was really a toss-up, whether you would have
a rover anyway, or you have a lunar flying vehicle, and there was a lot of support for the lunar flying vehicle, particularly for the geologists that wanted to go to the top of the mountain, and the bottom of the riddles, and the bottom of the craters, and so on. And Jinshu Maker was really in support of this thing, and he went to the company that made it and tested it, and so on to myself, and he wanted to push so that we would have that lunar flying vehicle, and we went to Arizona with the Apollo program director, and we had a test of both, the lunar flying vehicle and the lunar rover. And I must say that, thank God, the lunar flying vehicle, the guy that was flying, actually hit himself on the mountain ledge, right, in front of us, and the lunar rover behaved very beautifully, because I really was concerned about the fact that the lunar rover, the lunar flying vehicle, would not be so easily maneuverable, and all you really want was to get to the different sample, a sample from the mountain, so that you go to the base of the mountain,
and you get sampled that, you don't have to go to the top of the mountain, because in here on earth, many of the rocks that are on top of the mountain actually slide down, and we saw many pictures, showing rocks that have slid down, so why do you need to go and get that rock from the top, wait for it until it slides down and get it, so I really was boar for the rover then for the lunar flying vehicle, because I knew that it would work easier, I knew that the lunar flying vehicle might cause accidents, and we were always concerned about accidents because an accident, a fatal accident on the moon would have stopped the program, right there. Let's talk about the stopping of the program, 1972, we're still with Velkham, Velkham shuts down, tell me about your last day, your thoughts on that last day, what were you going to do next? When the program ended, it was only about three months before the program ended that I really thought about what we do next, because as far as I'm concerned, it didn't matter, I'd seen it all, I mean, it was an Egyptian who geologists who came into the US and he
now is important to follow the program, he's a friend of the astronauts, the astronauts talked to him from the moon, he is in the middle of the whole thing, he's a secretary of his selection committee for the lunar landing sites, he's written up in the papers everywhere because of what he knows and what not so I really thought that that's it, I had it all, there is nothing else for me to do, and it was very interesting that Stuart Trusson, the Apollo 14 pilot, talked to Michael Collins, the Apollo 11 man, was at the time the head of the Air and Space Museum in Washington, and Michael Collins was telling him that he has to start some scientific aspect here at the museum, and students have told him, I know one guy that can start this science for you, it's Farouk Arvaz, why don't you call him up, and we talked and they actually said, as soon as the program ends, we'll come and talk to you, so that was a new, yeah. Can you feel a sense of, or maybe I'll read it, tell me your feeling on that final day,
when the Apollo program ended, and we walked out of the NASA doors for the last time, knowing that this is program ended, first of all, I knew that there would be absolutely nothing like it ever again, because no matter what else NASA did, it will never reach that pinnacle of Apollo, because men reaching the moon, satisfied the dream of mankind, from the first time a human being, a human being, so if anywhere, before civilizations began, looked at the moon, they were, oh, and I must have wondered about this place, and for the Apollo program to take men and land them on the moon, bring them back and get samples and get pictures and figure out what this thing was, was something that is super fantastic, was something beyond imagination, and they really don't think, any other program, no matter how great, or no matter how far we go, we will reach that pinnacle of the first exit from Earth, landing on a planetary body and coming back, and particularly the moon, because
so close to the Earth, and people from day one had wondered about it and wished to even touch it, and now we know it, and now it has become a friendly place, and so we knew, or I personally knew that there would be nothing like this program, and I was not as saddened by the end of the program, I was very pleased that I was part of it, I was honored, I was pleased, I was elated, that I had any part to play in it. Thank you.
- To the Moon
- Raw Footage
- Interview with Farouk El-Baz, Director of the Center for Remote Sensing at Boston University, part 3 of 3
- Producing Organization
- WGBH Educational Foundation
- Contributing Organization
- WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)
- AAPB ID
- Program Description
- This remarkably crafted program covers the full range of participants in the Apollo project, from the scientists and engineers who promoted bold ideas about the nature of the Moon and how to get there, to the young geologists who chose the landing sites and helped train the crews, to the astronauts who actually went - not once or twice, but six times, each to a more demanding and interesting location on the Moon's surface. "To The Moon" includes unprecedented footage, rare interviews, and presents a magnificent overview of the history of man and the Moon. To the Moon aired as NOVA episode 2610 in 1999.
- Raw Footage Description
- Farouk El-Baz, Director of the Center for Remote Sensing at Boston University, and space scientist who worked on the Apollo program, is interviewed about his contributions to the Apollo program. El-Baz explains early ideas of how the lunar landscape was formed, and how the learning from Apollo created a greater picture of the moon. El-Baz also talks about the selection of his Rover versus a Lunar Flying Vehicle, after the two were tested and the Rover flew better. The interview ends with a description of El-Baz's last day at NASA, and his pride at having contributed to the program.
- Created Date
- Asset type
- Raw Footage
- American History; Gemini; apollo; moon; Space; astronaut
- Media type
- Moving Image
Interviewee: El-Baz, Farouk, 1938-
Producing Organization: WGBH Educational Foundation
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
Identifier: 52082 (barcode)
Format: Digital Betacam
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- Chicago: “NOVA; To the Moon; Interview with Farouk El-Baz, Director of the Center for Remote Sensing at Boston University, part 3 of 3 ,” 1998-00-00, WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 9, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-15-3j39020j4t.
- MLA: “NOVA; To the Moon; Interview with Farouk El-Baz, Director of the Center for Remote Sensing at Boston University, part 3 of 3 .” 1998-00-00. WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 9, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-15-3j39020j4t>.
- APA: NOVA; To the Moon; Interview with Farouk El-Baz, Director of the Center for Remote Sensing at Boston University, part 3 of 3 . Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-15-3j39020j4t