First Deep Space Walk

In 1971 during Apollo 15’s return from Earth’s moon, astronaut Al Worden performed the first deep space walk nearly 200 000 miles from Earth to recover external service module film canisters that had mapped the lunar surface. Worden was able to pause and orient himself to simultaneously see both Earth and moon as disks against the blackness of space, the first human to do so. Looking back toward the command module, he saw astronaut Jim Irwin waiting in the open hatch against a colossal moon — but did not have a camera to record the breathtaking view, the iconic photograph that never was. Fortunately, back on Earth Worden was able to collaborate with artist Pierre Mion for National Geographic magazine to reconstruct the vista. Deep space walks may occur again next decade from NASA’s Orion spacecraft.

The first deep space walk, by Al Worden reflected in Jim Irwin's visor, during Apollo 15 in 1971, as painted by Pierre Mion

The first deep space walk, by Al Worden reflected in Jim Irwin’s visor, during 1971’s Apollo 15 mission to the moon, as painted by Pierre Mion for National Geographic magazine

About John F. Lindner

John F. Lindner was born in Sleepy Hollow, New York, and educated at the University of Vermont and Caltech. He is an emeritus professor of physics and astronomy at The College of Wooster and a visiting professor at North Carolina State University. He has enjoyed multiple yearlong sabbaticals at Georgia Tech, University of Portland, University of Hawai'i, and NCSU. His research interests include nonlinear dynamics, celestial mechanics, and neural networks.
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