Alan Shepard’s wife Louise was elated after watching on TV as Shepard boarded a Navy ship bound for Houston, where he would be safe behind the glass windows of the post-flight quarantine room.
Gradually, as Mitchell worked and glanced at the bright crescent, he was filled with a quiet euphoria, great tranquillity, and an overpowering sense of understanding. It was as if he had suddenly begun to hear a new language, one being spoken by the universe itself.
Would the docking probe that caused so much difficulty a week ago during the first docking work now or would Shepard and Mitchell be forced into a space walk in Lunar orbit?
141:45:30 Shepard: Okay. The abort stage is set. Ascent Engine is Armed. 6, 5, 4…
141:45:38 Mitchell: Proceed with the ignition program
141:45:38 Shepard: …3, 2, 1, 0…
141:45:42 Mitchell: Ignition.
141:45:43 Shepard: We have ignition…
141:45:44 Mitchell: What a lift-off!
“It was terribly, terribly frustrating; coming up over that ridge that we were going up, and thinking, finally, that was it; and it wasn’t – suddenly recognizing that, really, you just don’t know where you are.” Ed Mitchell
The majority of the second moonwalk was dedicated to reaching the rim of Cone Crater. The wide, deep geological gold mine, which scientists believed was actually the remains of an ancient volcano.
With the Hycon camera down, Roosa would have to step in and use a Hasselblad with a 500 mm lens, to take detailed photos of the Apollo 16 potential landing site. If Roosa did nothing else, he had to return to earth with pictures of Descartes that would be good enough to plan a lunar landing.
The mortar package contained a set of grenades which were planned to be fired to distances of 500, 1000, 3000, and 5000 feet to the north of the ALSEP site.