How could the astronauts
manipulate the delicate controls of the cameras in those clumsy
The Hasselblad cameras were standard 500/EL models specifically
modified to be operated while wearing space gloves and to endure the
lunar environment. The shutter release button on the front of the
camera body next to the lens was enlarged considerably. Some of the
astronauts took inadvertent pictures because it was sometimes hard to
hold the camera without pressing the shutter release.
Fig. 1 -The Zeiss Biogon wide-angle lens on an actual Apollo
lunar surface camera. The controls are: (a) shutter speed (b)
aperture, or f-stop (c) depth-of-field indicator (d) focus. The
assist paddle attached to the f-stop ring is visible on the right
side. The other paddles are behind the lens barrel.
Fig. 1 shows the lens controls on the Zeiss Biogon wide-angle lens
fitted to the Apollo Hasselblad camera. The exposure and focus rings
were fitted with paddles to allow an astronaut simply to press them
with a finger and rotate the ring appropriately. The focus ring
featured detents for zone focusing.
The EVA suits for the
space shuttle have visible joints to allow for movement. The Apollo
suits have no such joints. Without them the suits would have been
impossible to flex.
There is no doubt that space suit design has come a long way in
thirty years. Today's space suits are very different in some ways
from the Apollo suits.
The Apollo suit was constructed of several layers. The outer
layers were various types of cloth and insulation which were naturally
flexible. The layer of interest is the pressure garment, which is the
predictable inflated airtight bladder. Far from a simple balloon of
rubber, it featured accordion joints at the knees and elbows, and
swivel joints at the shoulders to provide the necessary range of
motion. These are the same features as the shuttle suits. They're
just covered up by fabric in the Apollo design.
Fig. 2 - A test subject participates in an experiment wearing an
Apollo lunar surface space suit without its outer layer. The bellows
joints and hinged joints can be seen at the elbows and knees.
the suits were pressurized in a vacuum they should bulge out. But we
never see them where they look inflated.
To the experienced eye there is a visible difference between a
pressurized suit and a deflated suit. But at the same time, the suit
designers provided a "restraint layer". The suit did not need to
bulge in order to be effective. It merely had to contain a volume of
air around the astronaut's body. But in order to do that and still be
flexible it would have to be made from some material like neoprene
which is both flexible and airtight. The tendency of these materials
to stretch when inflated is a problem, not a desired effect. So the
suit was allowed to balloon a little bit in order to provide the right
environment for the astronaut, but it was kept from bulging as far as
it wanted to go because that poses problems for flexibility and for fitting through hatches and moving about
inside the spacecraft.
The restraint layer was simply a web of nonstretch netting
integrated into the suit's pressure garment (the Neoprene part). As
the pressure garment expanded, it could expand only until the netting
was taut. Imagine blowing up a balloon in a small fish