March 5: The Museum in Washington, DC will open today. Due to weather, the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA is closed.
This is a reconstructed back-up engineering model of the first astronomical telescope to observe from another planetary body. It represents a telescopic camera that was flown to the moon on Apollo 16. Built by George Carruthers at the Naval Research Laboratory, it was operated by astronaut John Young in a programmed series of studies of the Earth's outermost atmosphere, its "geocorona." It was also used to examine ultraviolet colors of stars, nebulae and clusters in deep space. The camera operated in dual mode: spectroscopic and direct view.
This artifact is one of two back-up units to the flown camera that were transferred to the Museum in 1981. It was restored by Carruthers and Project SMART students in 1992 prior to putting it on display next to the Lunar Lander in 1993. As part of the restoration, Carruthers attached a flown film cassette at the back end of the electronographic camera. The cassette and camera are presently on view in the Apollo to the Moon Gallery.
The electronographic telescope has a 3-inch aperture collecting area designed for maximum efficiency in the far ultraviolet portion of the spectrum. The Earth's upper atmosphere glows in this spectral region, as does diffuse gaseous material in the depths of space.
Transferred from the Naval Research Laboratory