Apollo’s First Lunar Rover, Driven 50 Years Ago

Next week will mark the 50th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 15—the fourth crewed mission to reach the moon. Launched on July 26, 1971, Apollo 15 became the first Apollo mission to carry a lunar roving vehicle (LRV) to the lunar surface. While the command module pilot, Alfred Worden, remained in orbit around the moon, the commander, David Scott, and the lunar-module pilot, James Irwin, set down on the Hadley-Apennine landing site. The two astronauts later unfolded and deployed the 460-pound LRV (among other gear and experiments), and over the next three days they drove it about 17 miles (28 kilometers) across the lunar landscape. When they were done, they parked the “moon buggy” a short distance from the lunar module, where it still sits today—the first of three rovers left on the moon by Apollo missions. Gathered here are images of the development, training, and deployment of the first vehicle driven by humans on the surface of another world.

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