HOUSTON: America’s Apollo-10 astronauts this morning [May 19] sped towards the moon where two of them will soar in hazardous orbit only eight nautical miles above the mountains and craters of the lunar landscape on Thursday.

Sweeping along the moon’s equator in the lunar mode they will be taking a final close look at possible landing sites for the first Americans due to step onto the dead world next July.

But today Astronauts Thomas Stafford, Eugene Cernan and John Young looked forward to a leisurely day aboard Apollo-10 with the world receding as they plunged deeper into space. The astronauts have only one major task scheduled for the day — the firing of the command module engine at 1928 GMT to put them on precise course for their destination.

Altogether the astronauts sent 72 minutes of colour television back to earth on their first day in space. From 20,000 nautical miles out in space earth appeared as a multicoloured ball with blue oceans, brown lands and mountains and areas of green splashed with patches of white cloud.

“It’s just sitting out there in the middle of nowhere,” Astronaut Eugene Cernan said. “It’s just incredible.”

Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2019