We were watching a documentary the other day called For All Mankind, about the missions to the moon. The video from Apollo 16 was amazing. Sharp digital-like images from hand-held cameras and a prototype buggy cam.
On the 1972 mission, astronauts John W. Young and Charlie M. Duke, Jr., were driving up to the crater, Descartes. You can hear their exchanges, captured but not released at the time.
“This is going to be SPECTACULAR!” Charlie yells. “YoooHoooo!”
After picking up crystalline rocks* and marveling at their own footprints, they begin the bounce-walking that marked all of the astronauts’ explorations on the moon. Only this time, they broke into song.
“I was strolling on the moon one day… in the very, merry month of . . .December..”
“No. May!” one says. “May!” sings the other.
…”When to my surprise, a pair of lovely eyes…”
“Dum, de dum, dum, dum de dum, dum, dum. . . .”
Later, one reflects, “Houston, as I stand here in the wonders of the unknown, I realize there’s a fundamental truth to our nature. Man must explore.”
Another wonderful truth these astronauts discover: Humans, by our intrinsic nature, can be downright joyous and silly while doing it.
* p.s. Just this past week, some of those gee-whiz rocks prompted a new discovery in the source of ancient water on the moon: comets. A new bit of science forty years after the wild rumpus.