Mon, Feb. 24

Verde Heritage: 1970: MOONSCAPE USED BY APOLLO 14 CREW

"Two of the three members of the Apollo 14 crew, scheduled to go to the moon on January 31, rehearsed traverses at the Black Canyon crater field near Cottonwood for almost five hours Monday and then faced a battery of newsmen and cameramen in a 30-minute interview."

"Pulling a tool cart behind them on the 'moonwalk,' the two astronauts, Navy Captain Alan B. Shepard, Jr., and Navy Commander Edgar D. Mitchell, pointed out that the second excursion to the moon would be primarily for geological purposes and that the wheeled cart would enable them to get much more accomplished in their short stay on the moon's surface. The cart carried tools and other equipment which the two astronauts used on the walk to make geologic descriptions, take photographs and collect rock samples as they will do on the moon."

"During their practice, they were in constant communication with the third astronaut, Air Force Major Stewart Roosa, command module pilot, radioing from the command module at Cape Kennedy, as well as with astronaut Fred Haise in Houston, who will be their astronaut contact on earth."

"During the interview, Shepard, the first American in space who made a 15-minute flight in May, 1961, stated that everyone working in the space program was concerned about the stories coming from Capitol Hill that indicated a lack of support from Congress and the general public for space exploration. 'But Apollo 14 is in good shape, although we're still concerned about the decline of support for the entire space program in this country.'"

"The Apollo 14 space flight will be the first space mission for Mitchell, who said that he was convinced that morale in the space industry had risen in recent weeks and that everyone in the Houston Aero-Space program is doing his 'utmost to make this a good launch.' There's a spirit of 'let's get going and get the job done,' said Mitchell."

"The Cottonwood moonsite was blasted by explosives last spring to duplicate, as nearly as possible, the hilly and rocky Fra Mauro area of the moon where the astronauts will gather samples and take pictures. The local site was also selected for the ill-fated Apollo 13 practice."

"Besides the three major T.V. networks and their affiliates, United Press International and Associated Press, newsmen on the scene Monday included a team from France, also with television cameras and soundmen." ...

"Representing The Verde Independent, with camera and note pad, were Helen Dick and Florence Dickinson. Mrs. Dickinson is the Independent's Camp Verde editor."

(The Verde Independent; Wednesday, November 18, 1970; pages 1 and 2.)

See: The Verde Independent: "Verde Heritage -- 1970: Moonscape Created;" February 20, 2015.

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