November 24 was the 50th anniversary of the landing of Apollo 12, NASA’s 2nd moon-landing. Apollo 12 landed on the moons Ocean of Storms. The Lunar Module lander was flown by Pete Conrad and Alan Bean. The command module pilot Richard Gordon, orbited the moon taking photographs.
The Lunar Module known as Intrepid made a pinpoint landing within walking distance of 535 feet from Surveyor 3, an unmanned robotic mission that landed in the same area in 1967. Apollo 12 landed 950 miles from where Apollo 11 had landed
While on the moon the two lunar module crew members made two extra-vehicular activities lasting a total of 8 hours. The first EVA included setting up communications antenna and science instruments as well as collecting lunar samples.
After a rest the second EVA took them up to 1,300 feet away from the LM, past four craters and a stop at the Surveyor 3 robotic lander where they removed several parts for later study on earth.
As successful as the mission was, its launch put the mission into jeopardy. Apollo 12 launched November 14 1969 into cloudy and rainy skies. Launch controllers lost telemetry contact 36 seconds into the launch when the Saturn V launch vehicle was hit by lightning and again at 52 seconds after launch. Apollo 12 was able to get placed into earth orbit where the electrical systems were checked out and no major problems were found and soon Apollo 12 was placed in a translunar trajectory to the moon.
They returned to earth and landed near American Samoa after a flight of 244 hours.
Next time you look at the moon, remember the hero’s of the six Apollo Moon landings.