“When the First Ares V thundered into the Florida skies in 2018, the booster trailed not only a column of incandescent smoke but also a rich …
This item is available in full to subscribers.
If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.
Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.
If you made a voluntary contribution in 2022-2023 of $50 or more, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access includes access to all websites and online content.
“When the First Ares V thundered into the Florida skies in 2018,
the booster trailed not only a column of incandescent smoke but
also a rich heritage spanning half a century. From the simple
scouts to the complex shuttles, from the diminutive Redstones to
the mighty Saturn Vs, Ares topped a vast family tree that stretched
back to ancient Chinese fire arrows a millennium before. Thousands
of engineers and technicians labored to transform blueprints into
boosters. And after years of development, static firings, wind
tunnel tests and computer simulations, it was finally time to set
sail on the translunar sea…” Michael Carroll.
“The Seventh Landing: Going Back to the Moon, This Time to Stay”
is a new book by Littleton space artist and author Michael Carroll,
who warns, “civilization flowers and grows when it explores — when
it stops exploring, it gets ingrown; China and Scandinavia as
examples.” The U. S. has made six trips to the Moon, but none in
As many engineers and scientists at Lockheed Martin work on the
Orion spacecraft, which will replace the shuttles due to be
retired, Carroll says it’s time to consider how and why humans
should return to the Moon, and perhaps beyond. He has interviewed
involved dreamers and practical scientific types across the US and
“There have to be good reasons — scientifically, politically,
financially,” the writer says, obviously convinced that there
Fortunately, he writes for the layman, so the non-specialist can
share a dream that has been at the forefront for half a century. A
reader who is not in the space exploration loop might not be aware
of the ongoing efforts and successes of Russia‘s very active
program. Russia is most active in the International Space Station,
ISS, although the NASA Web site shows three new astronauts in Santa
hats (Russian, American and Japanese) enroute for an ISS stay. In
the appendix, Carroll lists moon missions since 1958, as well as
Mars and Asteroid/Comet explorers.
Carroll says, “It takes several days, moving at an average of
15,000 miles per hour, for a crew of humans to reach the Moon. It
will take six to eight months to make landfall on the rusted sands
of Mars, years to voyage to the moons of Jupiter. Like those
soaring cathedrals of Europe, such immensities humble us, make us
feel small, put us in our place, while at the same time, prodding
us to greater things. John F. Kennedy’s call to ‘do those things,
not because they are easy, but because they are hard’ ripples
across five decades to a time when we can, indeed, venture back out
into the worlds around us, sculpting a future for humanity
throughout the frontiers of the Moon, Mars and beyond.”
For many younger people, he finds, the Challenger and Columbia
disasters are the markers for NASA. Earlier history is important.
“The next generation has to decide it’s worthwhile and take
His familiarity with other worlds came early, he says, with a
father who was a Martin Marietta visionary, who worked on planetary
projects. He attended Arapahoe Community College and graduated from
CSU with a BFA in art and started with magazine illustration jobs.
His paintings have been commissioned by NASA, National Geographic
and others, he has authored books for children as well as adults —
and teaches art.
He has learned that there is more than one opinion about how
Moon and other exploration (especially Mars) can/will happen: While
the new Ares launch vehicle is under development, engines of the
Delta IV and Atlas V, which have been the “workhorses of the U. S.
space program” are suggested by some as still viable models. The
National Aeronautical Space Administration, NASA, defines
considerations for the booster that will take Orion into lunar
orbit: performance (necessary lift capability), risk (comparative
reliability and track record of various existing systems), and the
cost of all approaches and systems. Climate change must be
calculated in policy decisions. Constellation is the name used for
the combined projects. Six-time astronaut Marcia Ivins heads the
exploration branch of NASA’s astronaut office.
The new Orion will need to carry substantial human and cargo
payloads into low earth orbit. It could carry six astronauts to the
ISS and four to the Moon, able to transport 23.3 metric tons into a
translunar orbit that leads out of earth’s gravity and ends at the
Moon, Carroll writes.
“People have been warning about the need for new development for
a decade. We should have started 10 years ago,” he says, adding
that people must see it as a national need, an integral part of
international diplomacy. “It sounds a little science fiction to us,
but we’re on the verge of a spacefaring world.”
Details of new development, as well as history are profusely
illustrated with NASA-provided drawings and photographs, plus
photos from Russian and Chinese sources. A challenge was getting
permission to use a photograph by a Chinese photographer, and the
logistics of how to pay for it— you can’t just send an American
check or money order. Another was getting permission to quote from
a Marvin Gay song, which had morphed through multiple ownerships.
He started in late 2007 (usual timeline is 9 months to complete a
book). Travel, interviews with astronauts, which was set up by NASA
added to the timeline. And then there are the paintings. “In a way,
I’ve been working on the book for 20 years,” he says.
He explains what might happen on the moon and how astronauts
might set up camp to stay awhile and explore. The 50-year-old
explorations in the Antarctic are cited as a model, in terms of
internationally shared research and discoveries.
The Shackleton Crater (named for the famous arctic explorer) at
the lunar south pole is mentioned as a possible site, because it
allows for almost uninterrupted solar power and is almost
continuously visible from earth, Carroll writes. Daytime
temperatures climb to 100 degrees Centigrade, while night
temperatures drop to minus 150 C.
Spacesuits will be improved based on experiences of the Apollo
moon astronauts. Interesting photos here again, of a glove, of how
the astronaut enters the suit.
Chapter Four is called Robot-Human Combo Systems, describing the
landing of an Altair cargo vessel, with a robot ATHLETE which will
unload cargo when met by robotic 12-wheeled Chariot vehicles. (Or
it can navigate uneven terrain on its own). Habitat design is also
under consideration (photos of models shown).
Carroll describes what will be “a peak life experience,” and
contemplates future outposts on Mars and the moons of Jupiter.
Lunar history, more about exploration on Mars and varying
thoughts about that projection plus a consideration of
entrepreneurs and the private sector complete this fascinating look
at the really rather immediate future.
The book is published by Springer at $29.95.
Other items that may interest you
We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.
The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.