Ten days ago, their Saturn V rocket had blasted Bean and his crew mates out of earth’s gravitational pull. Now their home planet was pulling them back at more than 24,000 miles per hour, twelve times faster than a high-speed rifle bullet. “Boy,” said Bean, “we are really hauling!”
Dick Gordon opened the tunnel to Intrepid, saw his companions floating in a dirty cloud of moon dust, and slammed the hatch closed. He called out, “You guys ain’t gonna mess up my nice clean spacecraft!”
After a total of 31.6 hours on the moon, the Lunar Module ascent stage fired for about 7 minutes placing Intrepid into an orbit of 10 miles by 54 miles.
Conrad and Bean now walked north, up Surveyor Crater’s 14 degree slope. Fatigue set in as Pete and Al walked up the crater wall. The hand tool carrier was nearly full of rocks now and Bean felt the full weight of it.