Carrying out ALSEP

Alan Bean carries the two ALSEP packages attached at either end of a carry bar

Painting Completed 2001
10 x 15 inches, Acrylic on Aircraft Board

I can remember my building frustration as I carried the ALSEP. The strong earth gravity kept the two pallets hanging down as I walked along in practice sessions on planet Earth, whereas the light gravity of the Moon allowed the pallet containing the six experiments that I had attached to one end of the carrying pole and the pallet with the nuclear generator that I had attached to the other end of the carrying pole to bounce up and down as I walked out to the deployment site. In fact, I was concerned the carry pole might actually break as it was flexing so much.

No one had forseen this pronounced difference in dynamics and had not provided adequate attachment fittings. The fittings worked great as the pallets were swinging down, but as they bobbed back up both pallets tended to come right off the end of the carry pole. This was not good because the experiments and the power generator would certainly get contaminated with dirt and might sustain damage. To prevent an ever-increasing bounce, I had to stop walking every few steps. Using this slow walk-then-stand technique, I finally got to the deployment site, the experiments a little dusty but undamaged.

On a more artistic note, this painting is the second in a series of five similar paintings I used to investigate a variety of color ideas. Establishing beautiful and exciting color harmony I find to be the most demanding part of creating any painting. It is a subject so complex and convoluted that I have yet to hear or read an explanation that adequately describes more than a small portion of the problems that must be solved to make a successful painting.