Looking back at Apollo's Lunar Modules (photos)
Forty-two years after the first moon landing, and with a new lunar X Prize looming, we take a look back at a few of the key Apollo missions, and specifically at the Lunar Modules that brought the astronauts to and from the surface of the moon.
This now-legendary photo, taken by Neil Armstrong, shows Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin descending a ladder from the Eagle lunar lander on to the moon's surface. Aldrin acted as pilot of the Lunar Module on the Apollo 11 mission.
The Eagle prepares to land
Buzz Aldrin next to Lunar Module
Neil Armstrong moon walk
Buzz Aldrin in Lunar Module
Apollo 11 Lunar Module controls
Aldrin gazes at Tranquility Base
With the lunar lander in the background, Buzz Aldrin does the moon walk, after just having deployed one of the "scientific experiment packages" the astronauts brought to study the lunar environment.
Apollo 12 crew members
This photo, taken on October 22, 1969, shows astronauts Charles Conrad Jr. (left) and Alan Bean in the Apollo Lunar Module Mission Simulator during simulator training for the Apollo 12 mission at the Kennedy Space Center. Apollo 12 launched on November 14, 1969, and made its own lunar landing five days later.
Apollo 13 Lunar Module
This interior view of the Apollo 13 Lunar Module, taken on April 17, 1970, shows the so-called mailbox, which was a jerry-rigged setup the Apollo 13 astronauts built so they could purge carbon dioxide from the Lunar Module using lithium hydroxide canisters from the command module. The "mailbox" was designed and tested on the ground at the Manned Spacecraft Center in an effort to help get the troubled crew back home safely.
Apollo 17's Moonship
Apollo 17's Lunar Module, called Challenger, ascends in lunar orbit. The hatch is clearly visible in the front, along with a round radar antenna at the top and small reaction control thrusters on either side.
Driving on the moon
Apollo 17 Mission Commander Eugene Cernan takes a moonbuggy, more properly called the Lunar Roving Vehicle, out for a spin during the first extravehicular activity of that mission.
LLRV test flight
Before any landers could shoot for the moon, of course, some serious testing needed to be done here on Earth.
In this 1965 photo, the NASA Lunar Landing Research Vehicle (LLRV) is seen above the airfield during test flights at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center.
LLRV test flights
LLRV No. 2
As 1966 came to a close, LLRV No. 1 had already taken 198 flights, while LLRV No. 2 was being assembled and completed. The first flight of LLRV No. 2 took place in early January 1967.