The Apollo Program
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy challenged the country to safely put a man on the Moon and return him to Earth during the then-current decade. This later became the Apollo Program. Starting in 1961 and running until 1972, there were 17 Apollo missions (unless you believe the premise of the movie "Apollo 18"!). Neil Armstrong became the first human to walk on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission in 1969, followed by 11 other Americans on 4 other missions. This section displays the work of a number of artists who were inspired by this awesome feat.
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Mark Karvon has followed the Apollo program with great interest, and has produced artwork representing three important milestones. All three are available below. In Apollo to the Moon, he depicts an early launch, featuring the massive Saturn V launch vehicle. The Longest 4 Minutes I Ever Spent recounts the Apollo 8 Mission, which was the first time a human orbited a celestial body other than the Earth. Finally, Men From the Planet Earth commemorates the landing of the Eagle, and the first human to walk on the Moon.
"Apollo to the Moon" by Mark Karvon
Developed in the 1960s, the Saturn V rocket was a part of America's goal to land a man on the moon. In order to send the three-man crew and their equipment on this journey, a huge rocket of incredible power was necessary in order to escape the pull of Earth's gravity. Standing 363 feet tall and weighing approximately 6.7 million pounds at launch, the Saturn V developed 7.5 million pounds of thrust which initiated the acceleration to speeds in excess of 17,000 MPH required to go to the moon. Upon their return, the three astronauts were traveling at speeds of approximately 25,000 MPH when they re-entered Earth's atmosphere. Even 40 years later the Saturn V is still the most incredible machine to ever fly. This rendering of an Apollo launch, Apollo to the Moon by Mark Karvon depicts the powerful rocket carrying it precious cargo into the environs of Space.
"The Longest 4 Minutes I Ever Spent" by Mark Karvon
Depicted in this scene is the Apollo 8 Command Module, which is moving from right to left. Upon approaching the moon, the crew, consisting of Bill Anders, Frank Borman, and Jim Lovell were required to fire up the service propulsion engine to slow the spacecraft down to allow for moon orbit insertion. This was done after they had swung around the far side of the Moon, with communication with Earth temporarily interrupted. This was a critical maneuver and everyone was more than just a little tense as the engine had never been tested in lunar orbit before this mission. A malfunction or deviation in burn time could have lead to disastrous consequences.. Jim Lovell later stated that it was the longest four minutes he had ever spent. Everyone was relieved as the engine performed flawlessly and on Christmas Eve, the crew became the first humans to orbit another celestial body other than the planet earth. This was one of the many procedures that the pre-moon-landing flights accomplished, ensuring the success of the actual landing.
"Men From the Planet Earth" by Mark Karvon
“Houston, the Eagle has landed.” With these words, on July 20, 1969, men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon. They came in peace for all mankind. After ten previous Apollo missions to test the equipment, navigation and procedures required for a lunar landing, the crew of Apollo 11, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins, became the first to accomplish the goal. The Apollo Lunar Module was the first true spaceship designed and flown by man. It could only operate in the vacuum of space. It not only served to ferry two men to and from the surface of the moon but also served as their temporary home for up to three days on later missions. Men Fromt the Planet Earth is Mark Karvon’s tribute to the success of the mission that answered the challenge by President Kennedy issued 8 years earlier.
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