|Apollo 16 astronauts John
Young and Charlie Duke have just arrived on the rim of
North Ray Crater. John reported, "As we climbed the rim
to North Ray, it was really a steep slope going right up
to the edge of the rim. Of course, the old rover didn't
notice; it just went right up." Charlie continued, "The
slope must be on the order of 20 degrees. You don't
realize it 'til you get off and turn around." As they
looked around they could see that the rim was populated
with rocks in all sizes and shapes. These rocks had been
thrown up and out when a large object impacted the
Moon's surface over three billion years ago. The
resulting hole is North Ray Crater.
I have painted John on the left selecting tools for
the traverse while Charlie is removing the Hasselblad
camera with the 500-millimeter telephoto lens from
beneath the seat. Charlie would later report, "we did
take the 500-mm photos of the interior of the crater.
I couldn't see the bottom and I wasn't going to get
close enough to see in because there was no way I
could have gotten out if I had fallen in."
John agreed, "now I tell you, I can't see the bottom
of it, and I'm just as close to the edge as I'm going
to get." He laughed, "that's the truth."
North Ray was the largest crater, 300 feet in
diameter, and deepest crater, who knows how deep,
directly explored in the Apollo Program.
Editors' note: Topographic
measurements made from images taken with the
Apollo 16 Panametic camera
during the mission indicate that the floor of the
crater is about 225 m (750 ft) below the crater
rim. With thanks to Rafael Finter.