New Photos From Apollo Mission Depict the Mundane Daily Tasks of Astronauts at Work

From the original film rolls that the astronauts took into space, a work-a-day routine emerges of Apollo mission voyages

Shaving was something of a job on all the Apollo missions because in Zero-G, water doesn't just run off the face. (Flickr/NASA Photo/ Project Apollo Archive)

The last human to walk on the moon was Eugene Cernan, commander of the Apollo 17 mission, on December 14, 1972. That was 43 years ago, and to this day, the Apollo program is still the high point of crewed space flight. Apollo missions are still the only ones that ever sent human beings to walk on another (natural) celestial body of any sort.

Earlier this month Kipp Teague, the founder of the Apollo Project, (independent from NASA) added a Flickr gallery of photos that were painstakingly scanned from the original film rolls astronauts took with large-format Hasselblad cameras. The photos themselves were in the public domain—they just weren't available so easily online, at such high resolution.

Some photos in the stream are recognizable; the iconic shot of Buzz Aldrin standing with the reflection of the Apollo lunar module in his visor is among the images. But some are less so: two of the astronauts on the mission, one of them Apollo 13 astronaut Jack Swigert, working to ensure they'd survive the near tragic voyage. And there are less dramatic, but human moments: Harrison "Jack" Schmitt shaving in the Apollo 17 lunar module, Ronald Evans spacewalking during Apollo 12's return trip to retrieve film, or his crewmates Schmitt and Gene Cernan sitting together, grinning on the trip home.

Space Pen

Astronaut Walter Cunningham on Apollo 7 writes with a space pen, which contrary to legend was not the result of a million-dollar NASA development effort. It was just a pen that didn't leak easily. Floating by Cunningham's hand is the Hasselblad film magazine. Apollo 7 was the first time a crew was sent into orbit; the mission lasted 11 days.

About Jesse Emspak

Jesse Emspak is a freelance science writer based in New York City. His work has appeared in Scientific American, The Economist, New Scientist,, The Christian Science Monitor and Astronomy Magazine.

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