Questions you'd ask an Apollo moonwalker?

Have you ever been in a Turkish prison?

“Were you ever tempted to, you know, um… annihilate the moon? You know, just a little? So nobody could share credit with being on the moon?”

Because if I can’t walk on the moon, NO ONE can! :mad:

I would actually be curious to know how many times he’s been asked that question, and how did he respond.

How has it changed you?

Charlie Duke visited my high school and spoke to an assembly. He told a great story about driving the lunar rover and damned near crashing it. It was interesting to hear the differences between driving the rover and driving a car on earth.

He is, however, a very religious man and the last 10 minutes of his speech was about having Jesus Christ as your Lord and personal Savior. Nothing wrong with that at all, but be forewarned. :wink:

How hard is it to get Moon dust out of your hair?

Do you like movies about gladiators?

Did your feet hardly touch the ground?

Did your feet hardly make a sound?

I have been priveleged to attend two public venues where astronauts gave talks, one in Kennedy Space centre, and one giving a talk to a university, astronomy group in the U.K.

But having dinner with one !

Yep I’m envious as hell !

I hope that you let us know what it was like afterwards.

Ask him to join the Dope and start an “Ask the guy who walked on the Moon” thread. I’d even spring for his membership and his special membership category - Skywalker :slight_smile:

Inspired by this Police quote: Did NASA have a protocol in place in case an astronaut on the moon broke a leg or had some other medical emergency?

“Did you have the chance to think, 'Wow, I’m on the freaking moon!”, or were you too busy just doing your job?"

“What can we learn by sending people, rather than explorers such as Sojourner and Voyager?”

“What comes to your mind when you see the moon in the sky?”

"After all your training, preparation, and prior descriptions from your fellow moonwalkers, what about being on the moon surprised you the most (besides the fact, “Holy fucking shit, I’m on the fucking moon!)?”

“On April 21st, do you celebrate the anniversary of Orion’s touchdown in any way?”

"Were you tempted to lay down, and make the very first “Moon Angel”?

"Are there times where you think, “Oh! I should’ve done [blank] on the moon! Damn!”

“Could you see your house from there?”

As an amusing side note, don’t be a dumbass like I was in middle school:

Back then I had just started learning about the space program and was into golf at the time. On a school trip to Washington, we learned that our class of 20 would have a private audience with Sen. John Glenn! Be on our best behavior! Dress up and don’t ask stupid questions!

So, me being the dumbass that I am, I remembered that there was an American who was in the first American in space (or something) but was also an astronaut that walked on the moon and hit golf balls on the moon. That was John Glenn! I was sure of it, so I had a few questions prepared about golfing on the moon. When the day came, he opened it up for questions and here was the (dumbass!) exchange:

Glenn: Anyone have questions?
Me: Yes, Senator Glenn, I was wondering about golf on the moon. As I understand…
Glenn: I never went to the moon.
Me: What?
Glenn: I was in the Mercury program.
Me: Are you sure? (D’oh!)
Glenn: *laughing. Yes. Had I went to the moon, that’s something I probably would have remembered. :slight_smile: (laughter all around)

As it turns out, I confused him with Alan Shepard, the first American in space instead of Glenn, the first American to orbit the earth. I had my followup questions ready, so he threw me off guard with his immediate “no.” I felt like such a DUMBASS, and I was…

Please don’t tell anyone I told this story. :slight_smile:

I think that I would ask him how his experiences as an actual space traveler color how he views space travel as it is depicted in fiction. Does he find himself getting kind of annoyed at the various inaccuracies, or does he mostly just wish he had photon torpedoes and teleporting and all that good stuff? I bet that he would be all over the photon torpedoes.

I had a few brief moments to speak with James Irwin, the eighth on the moon. (At the time I didn’t know he was into woo.)

He was very personable.

He mentioned the poem High Flight in telling me that he had felt he was reaching out to touch the face of God, and was astonished when I quoted the first two lines. He asked how I knew it, and I told him we learned it in school. That interested him even more.

Our conversation ended at that point; he was being called to his car. I didn’t even get an autograph.

High Flight was written by an American who flew Spitfires for the RCAF in England. He had joined the Canadian air force before the U.S. entered the war. He was killed in 1941.

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air…

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
Where never lark, or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,

  • Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

I’d ask how they dealt with the passage of time, and did they notice it?

My expected opportunity to speak with Charlie Duke didn’t come together due to a scheduling problem on my end, but I was able to meet Buzz Aldrin instead. Many questions one might ask have been addressed in one book or another, so I tried to focuse on items I haven’t read before. And Buzz has long been adamant that he still doesn’t know how to respond to the “what did it feel like” type questions. So, in gratitude for your suggestions, which I combined with many others before deciding what to ask, here are some of the topics I was able to pose to Buzz:

Re: what did the training get wrong? Buzz mentioned a couple of things. Most notably were the lessons learned from the nearly fatal EVA by Alexey Leonov, when the Cosmonaut had to aggressively bleed off pressure from his suit to re-enter the flexible airlock of his orbiting spacecraft. Those lessons caused the Americans to rethink their spacewalks, contributing to Buzz’s historic (and quite successful!) 5+ hour spacewalk on the Gemini 12 mission. Another item he mentioned was that the geologists did not anticipate the globules found in the lunar dust, although it made sense in hindsight.

Re: circumstances that led to his mission assignments? With astronaut Charles Bassett in the rotation for Gemini 9, Buzz was was originally scheduled as the backup for Gemini 10 (along with Jim Lovell). With Charlie (and See) killed in a flying accident, Buzz and Jim became the backups on 9. I never realized this meant, before the accident, Buzz and Jim would be on schedule to fly on Gemini 13 (and, of course, there wasn’t a Gemini 13). With Charlie’s death, Buzz and Jim became the backups on 9 and, obviously, flew on Gemini 12.

Re: the roll of govt. vs commercial exploration? He believes governments should work together to set a framework for exploring and colonizing space, and the US is in a position to take the lead on this effort. But commercial ventures, such as capturing and mining an asteroid, should be left to private enterprise.

Re: what does the moon taste like? Previous accounts address what the astronauts smelled when returning to the LM from the lunar surface, but I wondered if they happen to get a bit of moon grit in their mouths, or even tasted it on purpose. No such luck, as he said he had no interest in tasting the dust since there were questions about what it might contain and whether tasting it would be safe.

Re: are most interviewers well behaved and fundamentally knowledgable? He still gets an occasional question from conspiracy-minded reporters, but fewer these days.

I must add the Buzz as quite gracious and pleasant. It was a real treat to chat with him.

Cool Beans, I’m jealous.

Thanks for the update.