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Astronaut Mobility - Speed

Copyright © 2008 by the Editors of Working on the Moon.
Last revised 2 January 2010.



Unencumbered Runs

Ground Elapsed Time

Apollo 11
Initial, on-camera portion of the run to Little West Crater
22 m
22 s

3.6 km/hr
Distance: from labeled detail from the 1 October 2009 LROC images of the site.

- "I had the documented sample to do.  I was running out of time and I wanted to get those pictures (of Little West Crater).  So I was hustling."
Apollo 12 118:27:04
Return to the LM from Middle Crescent Crater
305 m to 315 m

198 s to 343 s
3.3 km/hr to
5.5 km/hr
Pete and Al left Middle Crescent at about 118:21:21 and reached the LM about 5 min 43 sec later. The route shown on the post-flight traverse map is conjectural and is abou 315 m.  The distance travelled was at least 305 m.  The dialog indicates that they made three sampling stops along the way, at roughly 118:23:26, 118:25:03,  and 118:26:14 and, depending on one's interpretation of the dialog, these stops may have totaled up to 2 minutes 25 seconds.

Run from Sharp Crater to a rest stop east of Bench Crater
220 m
200 s
4.0 km/hr
Distance and route from post-flight traverse map conjectural.  No definitive information yet available from LROC imagery.
Apollo 14
Short run from SEQ Bay to the TV camera
15 m
15 s
3.6 km/hr

Apollo 15 123:14:30
Station 2
20 m
14 s
5.1 km/hr
Runs to and from the Rover.  The Rover is below the work site on a slope of roughly 13 degrees.  The travel time is about 14 seconds in each direction. Skipping stride.

Station 7
40 m
27 s
5.3 km/hr
Jim runs to the Rover to get the rake. The surface is relatively level.  Loping stride.

Station 7
45 m
23 s
7.0 km/hr
Dave seems to get a longer glide between steps than Jim did.  Loping stride.  This may be the fastest run recorded during Apollo.  They were running short of time at this site and Jim was ready to use the rake, so Dave wanted to get back to the rover quickly.

ALSEP (Station 8 Activities)
25 m
24 s
3.8 km/hr
Jim runs to the Rover. Level surface, loping stride.

147:56:48 ALSEP
30 m
32 s
3.4 km/hr
Carrying the drill and avoiding cables, Dave runs from the heat-flow holes to the rover.
Apollo 16

Station 1
70 m
51 s
4.9 km/hr

Station 11-12
56 m
32 s
6.3 km/hr
First half of Charlie's run toward House Rock.  Reasonable smooth route, crossing one shallow crater a few meters across. Slight downslope? Loping stride.  Charlie's rapid pace may, in part, have been due to his eagerness to examine House Rock.  John follows along behind Charlie, carrying the rake.  He takes a few hops to get started.  His trip takes about 41 seconds, giving 4.9 km/hr

Station 11-12
145 m

160 s
3.3 km/hr
Return from House Rock to the Rover.  the first half of this run was slow because of detours on broken terrain near House Rock and because of an uphill slope.  Charlie's heart rate peaked at about 110 beats per minute during the trip back to the Rover.  On the trip out to the rake site, it was 90 or less.

During the return trip, John ran 115 m before stopping at 167:58:09 to collect a sample.  His speed was about 2.6 km/hr.  John's heart rate on the return peaked at about 96.  His outbound heart rate was about 90.

 Carrying the ALSEP Packages
from the LM to the Deployment Site

Ground Elapsed Time

Apollo 12
116:57:52 130 m
220 s
1.5 km/hr Time excludes Al's 44 second stop to increase his cooling to Intermediate.  Note that Al has had 6 hr 15 min since the landing and 1 hr 08 min since exiting the cabin to adjust to lunar gravity.  Al is the first person to carry the ALSEP packages on the moon.  Because of the weight and inertia of the packages, all those who did this task had to walk, rather than use any of the strides that included time spent with both feet off the ground.
Apollo 15
124:28:02 125 m
189 s
2.4 km/hr
Dave and Jim started the ALSEP deployment after they returned from the EVA-1 geology traverse.  Consequently, Jim had the advantage of 19 hr 46 min since the landing and 4 hr 26 min since exiting the cabin to adapt to lunar gravity.  On Apollo 12, Al Bean had 7 hr 28 minutes to adapt after the landing and 1 hour 49 minutes after exiting the cabin. Although there are timing uncertainties in the Apollo 14 record that hinder estimates of Ed Mitchell's average speed going out the ALSEP site, his pace was probably similar to Al Bean's.

Apollo 14 EVA-2:  Pulling the MET

Mission Ground Elapsed Time
Speed Notes
Apollo 14
132:48:19 Outbound traverse from Sta. B to B1 300 m
522 s
2.1 km/hr Except for a 23-second grab sample, this segment is typical of the traverse from the LM to Cone Crater. They are pulling the MET, frequently consulting the map, and, starting with the second half of this segment, are on a slope of about 6.5 degrees.  Their progress is slow.

134:04:23 Downhill from Sta. E toward Sta. F 200 m
140 s
5.1 km/hr
Because they are moving downhill on their way back to the LM, running is easier, despite  the MET; and they don't have to stop to rest or consult the map.

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