If the Lunar Module had tipped over during any of the Apollo missions upon landing on the moon, would there have been any rescue available?
If one of the module's legs had sunken into a soft patch of lunar surface, and the module had fallen over, would the crew have been able to use the module's thrusters to power it back up? Could the module have been damaged beyond repair from the impact, and/or crippled communication between the crew and the ground?
- Ronald 7Lv 71 month ago
The low gravity of the Moon would have meant they could have got out and righted it
- ANDYLv 51 month ago
It all depends on the critical situation. Take for example driving a car. Many things can go wrong: a flat tire, run out of fuel, engine trouble...etc. Apollo 13 had a great problem, yet with the ground scientists' advice, the astronauts were able to survive (we all know the story).
Going to the LM's not landing correctly, if the angle is a little oblique, then maybe the upper part of the LM that will be boosted to join the command module in orbit would go well just the same. But if it landed and shifted to one of its side, then there would be nothing to do to save the crew.
Rescue from Earth takes time. And even If the oxygen is abundant like when it was for the Apollo 16 and 17 that stayed three days on the moon, rescue takes 3 days, too, just to reach the moon.
- 1 month ago
I don't know for sure, but I expect that Neil would have had his hand on the ascent motor switch as the LM landed. The instructions would have been that if any excess tilt was experienced, he was to push the "ascent go" button and immediately leave the moon before the tilt became too great to make ascent possible.
Can anyone verify this?
- daniel gLv 71 month ago
There would be 2 dead astronauts for any lander that did.
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- JosephLv 71 month ago
There would be no rescue. The CM pilot would fire the SM engines and go back to Earth.
The hull of the LM were made of several layers of mylar and gold foil. Had the LM tipped over there would certainly be a hull breach. While the two astronauts inside may survived the initial crash, the oxygen supply in their suits would have lasted no more than a couple of days, at the most. Even if there was another Saturn V with the Apollo/LM stack sitting on the pad ready to launch when that happened, it would have taken it three days just to get to the Moon.
However, having said that, scientists had the surface density data from the previous unmanned probes that landed on the Moon, so they had a pretty good idea that the pads on the LM landing legs would not sink.
Far more serious situation would have occurred if the astronauts, during the final descent, found that the planed landing zone was unsuitable for some reason, such as large boulders or steep slope, and there was no good landing area near by, necessitating landing abort. This almost happened during Apollo 11 when Armstrong took over manual control to avoid some boulders, landing with less than 30 seconds of fuel left in the descent stage.
- Anonymous1 month ago
It would have been AIP (abandon in place).
- MarkLv 71 month ago
No... It would be a one-way trip to death.