Fender Lovin’ Care
“Apollo 17 Astronauts Gene Cernan and Jack Schmitt are doing some ‘low-tech’ body work on their high-tech Lunar Rover. During their first moonwalk Gene accidentally hooked the hammer he carried in his right leg pocket onto the Rover’s right rear fender extension, knocking it off. He fixed it temporarily by taping it on with duct tape. Unfortunately, somewhere on their lunar drive the tape gave way and the fender extension fell off and was lost for good.
“Losing a part of a fender, a minor problem on planet earth, is a serious one in the light gravity of the moon,” Gene would report, “Oh, it pretty near makes me sick at losing that fender. With the loss of any of the fender extension the dust generated by the wheels is intolerable. Not just the crew gets dusty, but everything mechanical on the Rover is subject to dust. I think dust is probably one of our greatest inhibitors to a normal operation on the moon.”
“Back on planet earth, Astronaut John Young and other friends in mission control conceived a nifty repair. After wake-up the next morning, Gene and Jack would select four plasticized maps already used on the mission and tape them together. Back with the Rover on the surface that morning, they could continue with the repair. I painted Gene and Jack aligning the maps to the fiberglass fender. When Gene is satisfied, Jack will hold the maps steady as Gene secures them using two small clamps normally used to mount auxiliary lights inside the lunar module cabin. The fix worked!”