Talk:Apollo 11

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Featured articleApollo 11 is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Article milestones
September 26, 2006Good article nomineeListed
June 15, 2008Good article reassessmentKept
December 9, 2018WikiProject A-class reviewApproved
January 7, 2019Good topic candidateNot promoted
January 13, 2019Featured article candidatePromoted
Current status: Featured article

Very little about Collins in the Command Module during Armstrong/Aldrin's surface operations[edit]

Was a bit surprised to find so little in this article about what Collins was doing - or feeling or thinking or saying - during his near 24 hours alone in the Command Module. I don't have the knowledge to say anything about this myself, but seems to me there should be something about it to complete the article, and certainly before it's comprehensive enough to be a Featured Article.

Landing site selection[edit]

The NASA web site which gives the candidate landing sites as "23°37" East, 0°45" North, in the Sea of Tranquility" must be mistaken. The Tranquility Base page gives the coordinates of Site 2 as 00°41′15″N 23°26′00″E which is closer to 23°37' East, 0°45' North.

Lattitude and longitude coordinates are given in degrees-minutes-seconds; a lower level of precision would be degrees-minutes; no one would give degrees-seconds skipping minutes (since seconds are more precise than minutes). I think the person who wrote the "50 Years Ago: Lunar Landing Sites Selected" web page must have confused the notation for minutes as the double quote instead of the single quote. The reliability of a "reliable source" is sometimes relative to context. JustinTime55 (talk) 21:22, 13 November 2018 (UTC)

I'm aware of that. I originally had them that way, based on the same reasoning as you.[1] Lacking a RS, I reverted my change. But I'm happy with it this way if you are. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 21:37, 13 November 2018 (UTC)


There are about 20 instances of lunar module, command module, etc., and 10 of Lunar Module, Command Module, etc. (not counting proper names such as Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and Command Module Columbia). The lowercase is much more consistent with sources, but at Apollo 8 they're mostly capped. I haven't checked the other Apollo articles yet, but for an A-class article this needs to be fixed. See discussions at Talk:Apollo_Command/Service_Module#Requested_move_26_November_2018 and Talk:Apollo_8#Capitalization. Dicklyon (talk) 05:24, 9 December 2018 (UTC)

The first instance of lunar module should be Apollo Lunar Module linked in text and in the first mention in a caption, with the rest 'lunar module' lower-cased per compromise at the page. It's too bad historically that the Command Module is now lower-cased on Wikipedia, but that's the result of the recent RM. Randy Kryn (talk) 01:16, 8 January 2019 (UTC)
"Command Module Pilot Michael Collins" and so on is incorrect. It isn't a title like "President Nixon", it's a job description. Also "Command Module Pilot Michael Collins piloted the command module Columbia" is really poor (redundant) phrasing Magic9Ball (talk) 17:00, 11 January 2019 (UTC)
Yes, it is awkward. How about "Michael Collins piloted the Command Module Columbia"? Randy Kryn (talk) 17:06, 11 January 2019 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 11 January 2019[edit]

In the first paragraph of § Landing, the 107 ft altitude is formatted using {{convert|107|ft|m|adj=on|sp=us}}, which produces the adverb form which does not fit the surrounding sentence: "Now 107-foot (33 m) above the surface". The |adj=on is wrong and should be removed, to produce "Now 107 feet (33 m) above the surface".

The same correction is needed twice more in the second paragraph. (The third paragraph, however, uses |adj=on correctly.)

Another thing that deserves a mention (but I haven't written the wording for, so it'll be a separate edit request) is the oft-repeated story about "20 seconds of fuel remaining". The engines were shut down about 20 seconds from "bingo", which was the last possible time to abort. Abort required 5 seconds of 100% thrust, so there was 20 seconds of 25% hovering thrust after bingo. In addition to those 40 seconds of guaranteed fuel, about 30 seconds more of unquantified residual remained.

  • Fjeld, Paul (May–June 2013). "The Biggest Myth about the First Moon Landing" (PDF). Horizons (Newsletter, AIAA Houston Section). 38 (6): 5–10. (talk) 14:40, 11 January 2019 (UTC)

 Done as to the conversions. When you're ready for the other request, please reopen or add a new request. Thanks! ‑‑ElHef (Meep?) 14:50, 11 January 2019 (UTC)
I had decided not to include the amount of fuel remaining after reading through sources. The source that made me decide (maybe First Man?) said the gauge was too inaccurate to really tell, but that it was low. If anything is included, it should be something like that. Kees08 (Talk) 16:22, 11 January 2019 (UTC)
@Kees08: The Fjeld article above is one of the best sources, and it explains in detail the sloshing in the tanks which caused the low fuel light to falsely trigger early (and was corrected by adding baffles in Apollo 14 et seq.). It was a backup to the fuel quantity gauge and was expected to trigger around the moment of landing. I think the truth is pretty well-documented; it's just that a lot of people misunderstand the word "bingo" in that context.
What I'm trying to figure out is if there was 18 or 22 seconds until bingo at landing. It's well established that the quantity light came on at 102:44:31 and engine shutdown was alled out 72 seconds later at 102:45:43. What's not clear is if the "bingo" moment was 94 seconds from the quantity light (22 seconds after shutdown) or 90 seconds (18 seconds after shutdown).
The text above says it's 94 seconds ("bingo" at 102:46:05), but the 60 and 30 second callouts at 102:45:02 and 102:45:31 are more consistent with the 90 second number. And if you're trying to get down to second-level accuracy, the location of the timestamps is important because there's 1.3 seconds one-way communication delay (plus quite probably some additional transmission delay between the DSN tracking site and Houston).
It's all a bit confusing, but something can be said that's more accurate than the oft-repeated "20 seconds from running out of fuel". (I most recently heard it repeated in the Lunar Module episode of the Moon Machines documentary series.) (talk) 19:10, 11 January 2019 (UTC)
Sounds good; I see now that I did leave in the article that 25 seconds of fuel were remaining. I will try to compile a list of sources and how much fuel they say was remaining so we can accurately summarize it in the article; I would love any more sources or input that you have. I will probably start off w/ Reichl, First Man, and Carrying the Fire; I will see if it is mentioned in the mission report, and decide from there if the sources agree enough that we can pick a number or if we need to put a range of numbers (and explain why) in the article. Thanks for pointing this out. Kees08 (Talk) 20:07, 11 January 2019 (UTC)

"Abouts" in the lede[edit]

The lede paragraph includes "...Aldrin joined him about 20 minutes later. They spent about two and a quarter hours together outside the spacecraft..." This historical event, chronicled on the best encyclopedia on this planet, probably shouldn't include "abouts" on the timeline of the first Moon walk. Must be an exact minute-by-minute timeline somewhere to fix this, anyone know of one? Thanks. Randy Kryn (talk) 22:57, 13 January 2019 (UTC)

I'm okay with it. There is some inherent imprecision about the duration, given various ways to measure it. Is it hatch-open to hatch-close? (2 hours 32 minutes.) Armstrong's first step off the LEM landing pad to his stepping back on? (2 hours 13 minutes.) The time they were both on the surface? (1 hour 49 minutes.) And then we start getting into some of the MOS:UNCERTAINTY issues.
I think "approximately" sounds more encyclopeadic than "about," but "about" works, too. TJRC (talk) 21:50, 14 January 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, exact times would be better. Encyclopedic language connotes exact information, so "about" isn't as good as the timings you mention. So Aldrin stepped on the surface 23 or 24 minutes later? That's actually a long way from "about 20 minutes". Randy Kryn (talk) 23:07, 14 January 2019 (UTC)
Well, from the Lunar Surface Journal, the timings seem to be:
  • 109:07:33 Hatch opens
  • 109:24:23 Armstrong steps from pad to surface
  • 109:43:16 Aldrin steps from pad to surface
  • 111:27:26 Aldrin returns to the LEM (when he steps off the surface and reenters the spacecraft is unclear)
  • 111:37:35 Armstrong reenters (again, where he is when is unclear)
  • 111:39:13 Hatch closes
You can probably construct some somewhat precise timings from that. Again, I'm still okay with having "about" or "approximately", particularly because of the uncertainty in the timings, the exact number of minutes cannot probably be told; it would certainly be an error to have an estimated number while removing "about" so that the article text purports to give an exact number that is not in fact exact.
"About" is not vague or unencylopeadic; it acknowledges that precise times are not known and avoids providing false precision. TJRC (talk) 23:42, 14 January 2019 (UTC)
Even in the absence of exact timings, AFAIK, there's never been an official definition of when an EVA starts (and a corresponding definition for when it ends). Is it when the spacecraft (or airlock in the case of the ISS) is depressurized, which would be the first time that an unsuited astronaut would die? When the hatch opens, marking the first moment an astronaut _could_ leave? When any part of the astronaut's body is outside the spacecraft? When it's completely outside? Using actual time on the surface isn't a good choice, because there have been plenty of EVAs (including ones during Apollo) where an astronaut at least partially left the spacecraft, but never set foot on the Moon.Almostfm (talk) 00:04, 15 January 2019 (UTC)
I was hoping for "about" to stay in the lead for brevity's sake. We could have the specific times later in the body of the article (if they are not already there). Kees08 (Talk) 00:05, 15 January 2019 (UTC)
I'd be cool with that. My only point is that Randy Kryn's desire for more precision can't really be implemented unless and until there's a definition for when an EVA starts. If I were king of Wikipedia (and who hasn't had that dream at least once :-) I'd say it starts when some part of the astronaut's body is outside the spacecraft and ends when he or she is completely back inside.Almostfm (talk) 00:50, 15 January 2019 (UTC)
It would not be an error to remove "about". It is understood that "20 minutes" means plus or minus 5 minutes and there is no "false precision"; the zero gives us the precision. All of our measurements use and apply this rule rigorously. The "about" adds nothing. MOS:UNCERTAINTY: Avoid using "approximately", "about", and similar terms with figures that have merely been approximated or rounded in a normal and expected way Hawkeye7 (discuss) 01:35, 15 January 2019 (UTC)
Nice chart up there, thanks TJRC. Hi Hawkeye7, you're doing great work on these pages. On this one I'd suggest that down-to-the-minute accuracy is relevant and notable. The historian in me. Being the first time people walked around on the Moon, the first pleasure strolls and work strolls on another Solar System surface, encyclopedic accuracy should reach the level of the infobox numbers for the days, hours, and minutes (the infobox has the EVA duration at 2 hours, 31 minutes 40 seconds). How about something like "..stepped onto the lunar surface", "Aldrin joined him 23 minutes later", etc., like that. Pinning the language to actual walks on the lunar dust and ground, which is what all the fuss was about. Good discussion, and it's nice to see the actual times. Randy Kryn (talk) 01:45, 15 January 2019 (UTC)
Agreed. I always try to be as accurate as possible, proving exact dates and the like when other people don't think they are really necessary, because years of trying to paraphrase the Australian Dictionary of Biography have given me great sympathy with anyone trying to paraphrase the Wikipedia, so I try and make it easy for them. By saying that the hatch opened at 109:07:33 and Armstrong stepped onto the surface at 109:24:23, someone else can say "less than 20 minutes later" or similar. I'm not sure what other people find interesting. For me, Project Apollo is much like the Manhattan Project in its size and scope. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 03:30, 15 January 2019 (UTC)
From the timeline presented above, instead of "...about 20 minutes later" how about changing it to the more accurate "...19 minutes later" which is when Aldrin joined Armstrong on the surface (imagine being alone on the Moon for 19 minutes, I'd be drawing things in the dust like Picasso did in the sand in Bradbury's short story). Randy Kryn (talk) 13:52, 15 January 2019 (UTC)
I'm fine with that. 19 minutes gives a precision of ±30 seconds. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 19:18, 15 January 2019 (UTC)
Thanks. From the times listed it's more like 7 seconds, maybe enough to drop the "about" on that portion. Randy Kryn (talk) 20:38, 15 January 2019 (UTC)
 Done Hawkeye7 (discuss) 21:03, 15 January 2019 (UTC)