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     Interview with Dr. Gordon Swann, geologist with the US Geological Survey
    (USGS) and Principal Investigator of Lunar Geology for Apollo, part 3 of 4
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fb gene shoemaker was one where he rows of the loma best french and a mentor role for convenience and thus far isn't his importance to the program but he was crucial because if it hadn't been for jeanine i don't think it had nearly the same time we did and certainly not the geology he was one of these guys that i could sell ice cubes to eskimos and he was a brilliant person with a member of the national academy of sciences to the recipient of a national science meadow and george bush in the rose garden he was just a wonderful scientist an all metal person and i don't think you can get near the science on the moon if it hadn't been for him and his personality and his bushes dog barney the combination of budget say anything to get a book the gene team first i think about moving us back in the forties even an early fifties house he regarded by
his peer group do si do geology on the moon well the usda's is a very concerning holed up there and a lot of the old gray beards in the survey thought that as young buck don't talk about dillan geology on the moon we came in to all you need to do on earth and that if he got some resistance in the end some ridicule usda's used to anyway have an annual cd to the senate called the pick and hammer really roasted people in doing that pretty well roasted and he had such a wonderful made perfect and so there's a view of the term called super gene enrichment and he would call like super jeanne moos shaker genius moon ray curran it won out and you just call the carport because his suit because it got it got quite a bit of ribbing and i think he loved it and he's arguably the really but
i think he like normal to get some real ray burton and tell him a lot of big convince a lot of them to work in explaining after twelve he left any less angry retort account about what was to human genes in a somewhat angry i think he was more disappointed they just weren't doing as much geology on the moon and the thought that they are or science and jim one i think he was unhappy with the congressional appropriations massive program that wake up that from what the first invasion routine maybe awards a large bases and rolling laboratories and stuff and all i got caught out very early in the program lina devoted an awful lot of his energies to selling concepts for these later current emissions and all and all went down the drain it's almost overnight i think people really let down and avoided a lot already had worked for was descending on
growing reports of mass and he didn't think were supporting they got back into the sewing given that you said you didn't feel are doing good scientists at nasa is not doing good science when they say that and i think he thought i think he thought that they were trying to train astronauts and robots and i think some people were seeing or going to be able to wander around freely and have plenty of time to think in only didn't it just didn't work that way and they were put in a pretty strict guidelines on schedule well we had over planned the mission somewhat to make sure that point was plenty of time for geology we get our share so it gets more planning of i think he thought there was too much planning what to do and he got up there he really want to describe the term whistle and wander around and listen mr bean co owner only
engineering oriented title thing they want things to go click click click click to know somebody is sitting on a rock sketch in his head about something he was wasting time scores have cost him a million dollars a minute or so forth to do that so there wasn't really time for him to do that kind of thing and there are some kind of liquid nicotine wanted that were never developed for very present and he was disappointed in ms collette and twelve or so you do a great job ron how did a little independent power pole and do geology geologic you think i think a good rule considering they had no time to be a lonely just have so little time and they did a good job of the time allotted to pick up for auction and they go quite a few voters and i think they did a good job of it and human well when oldham first came down he looked out he'd been in this event by some rockets on how old the minister of treatment i think i think
once was wanna rock salt and look that it had some black shiny stuff and he said i think he really thought would buy a kind of comical recall but i it wasn't it was a much rarer mineral owners called the almanac by a tight would have been significant in the but i could drink water at the moment the little boy back so for food any signs of water why it was not by a guy that was ill night live the avalon geologist got upset when i said no most of them did and i don't think the tabloid also think i don't know what we we caught onto not worry about making comparisons to say it looks like something you do that i don't like chemical ali by a tight unit conjures up a picture and it conjured up a picture in our minds in control so he's looking somewhat going by tight
mcconnell wasn't buying oh you know you really only have the best care and eleven to thirteen point nor was on fourteen fifteen cohen circle just about thirteen percent fred hitz was great jim lovell was interested not disappointed with a geologist went with a target that they were going to they didn't get there all over this point in court who were primarily concerned about safety which we had nothing to do with men relived to go back safely but we're disappointed the mission failed the forty odd he's concerned a fourteen did exactly what would blame for thirteenth we didn't really lose it but well we would add one more mission to somewhere else on the movement for this or the big successful you don't feel geologic lead level in case you would've gotten more enthusiastic job and shepard missile i don't think it'd be more enthusiastic i think that i think that global had more training
i'm alone when hays had more training probably than before the crew did but i also fought before the truth of it we're going to go how the geology content change from eleven through fourteen and then the j missions you know you mean that the difference in the landing site yeah we're getting more jobs picture of how all well we were getting more geology with every successive mission personal reasons warns of state crime increased with a remission the mobility increased markedly when we got the role were on fifteen sixteen seventeen months eleven may head west an hour about an hour on the surface a lot of which was that deploying instruments by seventeen they had three about seven hour eliades of i remember with oh roll over the place of soul food clothing with the group remarkably with the commission's job to get better as
well partly because you have more time to do it partly because it was more more time for training or sleeper appreciate that you took the flight records out on one particular the outrage was that important that they get a long day it wasn't so you know they want to go to the fight i'm trying to remember we took several flight directors on missions it's been out on training trip's road to jerry griffin out to be will park it was in eastern arizona during the pre interested in geology to get help to get the control center there for backing jihad because of like miraculous win a lot of support from dean cramps and control center there's another flight director on fourteen and i can't remember his name i didn't know him very well known ok so do you want
to take part apollo fifteen was i think overall my favorite landing site may be a little bit bridges that way but it had such a variety of things that had not heavily which to the highest point on the moon and had a rule which was the longest largest since rule on the moon and had built mari material i literally just so tremendous variety of things that we thought that they might find an author site in ireland's because we'd found in our society and the sample so we were taught to look green or a sudden they thought of what that video alone riverside is an important job very important building block in the development of a planet sized desserts where you have a lot of organism you know what color magnetic differentiation from melting stuff and then recombine and in our societies of the more primitive time to rock to come to our lives this process of finding an
orifice i thought was quite a bit about these humble evolution and so more history of the moon but that was an important thing we thought that writers it found little bit so that was sort of inside rock samples we talked and to look across kenyans him describe the opposite walls we did that at the little colorado river gorge near flagstaff we did it the house gorge in new mexico because they were going to be on the edge of this big gaming called have you real and they saw that almost certain rat is taking and wants an upcoming only taught them to do in training all those things i knew they were going to see was a big feature on the moon called heavy rail which is a senior israel almost certainly allow the channel or a hundred miles long about a thousand feet deep and a mile wide and we didn't expect him to go down in it which you didn't but
we knew they could look across its only have missed all four wins five hundred millimeter lens and on at least two trips we taught them hadn't practiced describing what they saw on the opposite side of a canyon one was filled little colorado river gorge near north of flagstaff and the other was a palace gorge near taos new mexico or use an affirmative time describing what this song for definitely song the opposite side on the gut the handrail in the cross and they saw what looked like layered bedrock the salton sea described in some detail and photographed across gaming with or with or doleful lands and then they got in the hall we think was pretty much dead rock someone jostled by impact on the mere sight of the role and sampled what we think of really in place are nearly in place the salt probably about the only thing the sample on the moon leading to really essential employees and been thrown here by some impact on a good overall budget the fifteen pretty good job all very good in that
ok i'm not write up in the nixon was really think about cutting the program the company about about the idea that convincing to keep going i don't normally i don't know that they've convinced him to keep going or not a date with either be up to do you have been acquainted with him and he was a very strong supporter of the though the reprogrammed particular the simple program that had been his wife ann are pretty avid rock out draw collectors and she was more than he was but he was he was quite instrumental program and how much effect a and m nixon i have no idea and missouri as a way to roll won ten to the sixteen nation went to an area called the big card area and their primary function was to sample it holds all the highlands called the carte formation and to sample some havens white plains material called occasionally formation the
geologists at studied area interpreted their first interpretation was repeatedly formation was probably all the highlands for candidates their second choice it was probably some kind of impact because it it turned out was not violent but salt or islands i don't look at it was the result of an impact there was some criticism that or perhaps some people were sold the idea of the violence a walk and it with defaults had really studied it were really that shows will carry kids what they want to find out to turnout wasn't told the first choice interpretation was brawl i'm effective well we had made any mistakes maybe you've been no reason to go to new orleans yelling do do a good job yesterday and the rebels were enthusiastic and that i'm going to drawing
was not one dissenting vote before you're talking about jack schmitt how important was jack schmitt to the program and i think that was would the geologist in the half an officer was a geophysicist jet was you only geologists love for the jet did a good job of helping get other astronauts interested in geology but he did an excellent job of getting them interested in geology i think he did a good job on helping to sell training left a notch and geology i think he influenced from the equipment to the board to do the report even vote jack is a very intelligent and well educated the oldest of data from caltech in his phd from harvard and was a fulbright scholar on the very well trained that you can tell me about your relationship you guys were together you you were with him when he found out about the selective how was that i mean have you been friends for a while before he became an astronaut
yes though jack was hired by the branch of astrogeology in nineteen sixty five i believe about the time the same time that i came to flagstaff from denver to work and after the oddly so jack and i started out working together on the same kinds of projects trying to figure out what astronauts should do knowing how to build a kind of interject know working very closely together really applied and in fact he and i share an apartment for a while i was in the apartment and it got phone calls talk of saying that he was selected as a as master will help of that moment like i'm very happy for and then he was the free excited about it and then course you know second movement to get permission they did some job in a round of cruise and jack would normally gone on up all week he would have been but being a scientist astronaut we decided to diversity but one scientist at dawn geologist ahead to the mood of
forgettable comedies more about how people and then and why is that i like to say that we're all very excited that i was going to go to movies taking the best about an inferno that will be around for a while and jackie's of years ago very good civic you really kids' allowance we get going to play all seventeen of you what were the highlights a seventeen stores are concerned as we did was fifteen seventeen or seventeen when a partial withdrawal which is interest possibly being very young volcanic a relatively young well they're a little younger than other volcanic song moon but we've had been sampled but it's still pretty old everybody got very excited about the war and soil of course is that there's some interesting stuff like when's the experts apple bartlett budget
that description nation former just probably a little bit better than anybody else's but there should've been a phd geologist and is a very enthusiastic young to go up to infect them an excellent reason his forays get into lifeboats he was so excited about the deaths i was like in the back room for you guys the geologist back and to have one of you describe that at all or those killed bessie of the last decade caught a bit that is on the news of those of for a little crazier than that become known as bell a crater on the moon is a little critter all couple meters in diameter kind shelling jacqueline to take a sample lyric and he took a couple pictures of the raucous a crater in a commanding win for the rock anyone lusty about any started spinning around me fell on the back the ballots that went around and around and back and forth morocco laughter that is all on television it was a wonderful surprise the clinic twenty five the guys balancing that stop
there wasn't any sign of that greater good to preview the most assaults now known belly greater than that oh how essential was that good geologist on the movie that i figured it to fuel i think it helped getting those goods into jobs that can save a jet set the program forward by great strides by going to the moon but i i think he did a better job he allegedly many years but it should be a remarkably well when pressed jeans and yes i thought genius really fell into the role of jack field assist in the login with them a new mission and a military person will act as soon as he got out for looking for office he became jacks assistant and follow that can help that can all i see some people with military training might not be willing to give
up your store and what we have also worked very well just take me back to the moment they found that the current so they can eat anything that's a story what was going on and what happened what was the reaction well they were on the way back on the second the va and that you're going to make a quick stop or crater called shorty crater and they got an irritant technical rinse it was orange and teamwork and confirmed that one over me you dug a trench in a notebook court can drive down and been sampled of both laterally with airtran to berkeley was the core and on remote time they took for us it was a calibrated course gay you know a beautiful photograph yes a solo origin the stuff they brought back was born to a blue orange gawk at her tiny little spheres of glass
true pretty bright orange color was exciting about it a moment while riley says and partly because it's about the first color in one supplement will never remove greater quantities all individually in order but the old to something it's got some color on the moon and we did it fb and he supported training of his troops are very well known and we were very well funded to do the training and the end of the biggest limitation was that the astronaut didn't
have a lot of time their primary thing in life was to have to fly a safe they strapped in science a second amendment standard cassette second to safety in chronic conditions can change roles that method of that actual corruption the walls so the rule on the far side which is about a mile away from the kitchen could tell for pictures of them described in quite a bit of detail and it probably you know the best the best evidence or real bedrock that we got on the move prudent problem of information was brought into the program and i think that played in the group in the final acceptance of selecting scientists as astronauts
To the Moon
Raw Footage
Interview with Dr. Gordon Swann, geologist with the US Geological Survey (USGS) and Principal Investigator of Lunar Geology for Apollo, part 3 of 4
Producing Organization
WGBH Educational Foundation
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WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)
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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
Dr. Gordon Swann, geologist with the US Geological Survey (USGS) and Principal Investigator of Lunar Geology during Apollo 14 and 15, is interviewed about working on the later stages of the Apollo program. Swann discusses his work with Gene Shoemaker, and expresses his opinions on the geological successes of the Apollo 11, 12, 13, and 14 missions, saying that Apollo 11 and 12 did well for the training and time that they had, but wishing that Apollo 13 had been able to reach the moon, since he says Jim Lovell and Fred Haise had better geological training than the Apollo 14 crew. Apollo 15 landed in the Hadley mountains and found anorthosite, which Swann describes, and Apollo 16 found that the Cayley formation was not volcanic. Swann credits Jack Schmitt with getting more geology into the program, and talks about their time living together, during which Schmitt found out he would be going to the moon on Apollo 17. Swann describes the events at Ballet Crater during Apollo 17 and how the crater got its name, and mentions Schmitt and Cernan's discovery of orange soil on the moon. The final minute of the interview contains audio from Gordon Swann and Jack Schmitt's (from tape 52255, ID "barcode52255_Schmitt_01") respective interviews.
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American History; Gemini; apollo; moon; Space; astronaut
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Interviewee: Swann, Gordon, 1931-2014
Producing Organization: WGBH Educational Foundation
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Identifier: 52255 (barcode)
Format: Digital Betacam
Generation: Original
Duration: 0:23:18
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Chicago: “NOVA; To the Moon; Interview with Dr. Gordon Swann, geologist with the US Geological Survey (USGS) and Principal Investigator of Lunar Geology for Apollo, part 3 of 4 ,” 1998-00-00, WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed October 1, 2023,
MLA: “NOVA; To the Moon; Interview with Dr. Gordon Swann, geologist with the US Geological Survey (USGS) and Principal Investigator of Lunar Geology for Apollo, part 3 of 4 .” 1998-00-00. WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. October 1, 2023. <>.
APA: NOVA; To the Moon; Interview with Dr. Gordon Swann, geologist with the US Geological Survey (USGS) and Principal Investigator of Lunar Geology for Apollo, part 3 of 4 . Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from