Here's something we never saw: Werner Von
Braun, Willy Ley, et al's plan as laid out in
Collier's. for the first manned lunar expedition. Not
landing, mind you, but expedition. Where Apollo had the goal of
putting a man on the Moon, the Collier's plan was for a
beachhead to claim it. Not to take anything away from the
achievements of Apollo, but once Neil Armstrong set foot on the Sea of
Tranquility, the mission was over. But for Von Braun, who was
the man behind Apollo, it was an exercise in compromise. Just
look at this behemoth touching down on the Moon. The Apollo LEM
wasn't much taller than this thing's landing legs.
Collier's plan thought big. Where the first Apollo landing
had one ship carrying two men who would stay on the Moon for a few
hours; Collier's provided for a fleet of three ships carrying
fifty men, tractors, and provisions for a six weeks of exploration.
Not to mention a prefabricated habitat for future expeditions.
interior of the moonships were incredible. Built in Earth orbit,
the crew sphere had five decks, solar power arrays, airlocks, and a
galley where it looks like the crew was being fed curling stones.
Take a look at the pilot on the top deck right. I don't
think Von Braun planned to be left behind.
here is the landing itself. And these guys were not just popping
down to collect rocks. Two of the ships would return to Earth to
be reused for the next expedition while the supply ship was dismantled
to provide materials for the first lunar colony. The total cost
of all this was supposed to be $300 million, but I think they might
have been just a tad optimistic in light of Apollo's $25 billion price