Sourav “Teddy” Biswas
Humans have always been amazed by the vastness of the universe. There are infinite secrets to uncover and explanations to make. This curiosity has led us to step further into the realms of space. With advanced technologies, mankind has the capability to explore vast reaches of the universe. Then comes the achievement of humanity reaching Earth’s only moon and successfully sending man to it.
Apollo 15 was one of the missions undertaken by NASA in the lunar expedition series. On board this mission were Lunar Module Pilot, James Irwin, Commander David Scott, and Command Module Pilot, Alfred Merrill Worden. During this mission (July 26 – August 7, 1971), Alfred Worden would spend more time alone, than anyone could possibly imagine. As James Irwin and Commander Scott landed on the moon and began collecting rock samples for analyzing; Al Worden was alone in the command module doing equally important work in the name of science.
Al holds the record as “Most Isolated Human Being Ever”. His experience tells us how far we’ve come in exploring the universe, which is actually quite impressive. When his module flew behind the moon, he had no radio communication with NASA. At the time, only the vast silence of space accompanied him during his mission and journey. Being there all alone, he could experience some of the amazing, visual delights ever witnessed by man. During his mission, he could see the sun rise with the stars floating around him. He watched the universe with a totally new perspective.
Beyond the monotonous work schedules, the chance to see space in a very different way made him enjoy his solo flight. Al was alone in the module for 3 days, and worked continuous hours; taking lunar photographs and mapping. Though he was alone, he never called himself, lonely. If it was possible to see what he saw, we all could have been equally taken aback like him. He has brought back numerous memories which we can only dream about.
We have hardly made significant effort to reduce our oppression on mother Earth. People like Alfred Worden have seen the beauty of the Earth and space from the other side. They understand where we stand in front of nature. Al describes the range of our universe is beyond what we can ever dream of. Being the loneliest person also made him the person to visualize beauty in darkness. Everybody focused on David and James for the success of the mission. We have missed out about Al and the legacy he brought.