# Who zoomed the video camera in and out when David Scott dropped the feather and hammer on the Moon?

This answer to Have optical zoom systems been used in space exploration? explains that there were video cameras on the Moon that could zoom.

In the video below someone (or something) is zooming the camera showing Commander David Scott in the classic demonstration of dropping a feather and a hammer in the vacuum of space. Was this being done by an astronaut or by remote control from Earth?

(NASA source for video: Apollo 15 Hammer-Feather Drop)

Hammer vs Feather - Physics on the Moon Apollo 15 (cued at 00:36)

Courtesy: NASA - Galileo and Apollo 15. At the end of the last Apollo 15 moon walk, Commander David Scott (pictured above) performed a live demonstration for the television cameras. He held out a geologic hammer and a feather and dropped them at the same time.

• The writeup on this in the Preliminary Science Reports is gold: " Within the accuracy of the simultaneous release, the objects were observed to undergo the same acceleration and strike the lunar surface simultaneously, which was a result predicted by well-established theory, . but a result nonetheless reassuring considering both the number of viewers that witnessed the experiment and the fact that the homeward journey was based critically on the validity of the particular theory being tested." – Organic Marble Jun 17 at 13:02
• @OrganicMarble Sorry if this is off-topic but I would love to have the source for that quote. It is awesome. – Swike Jun 17 at 22:29
• @Swike no problem! hq.nasa.gov/alsj/a15/as15psr.pdf page 2-11 – Organic Marble Jun 17 at 22:32
• @OrganicMarble Beautiful. Thank you – Swike Jun 17 at 22:32
• Stanley Kubrick. – Andrew Grimm Jun 18 at 23:21

Ed Fendell, a controller in Houston was controlling the rover camera.

It’s in the EVA-3 mission logs.

https://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/a15/a15.clsout3.html

• The control of the camera from Houston must have been delayed by 1.3 seconds, right? – LoveForChrist Jun 17 at 17:17
• Yes, but I suspect they practiced. The ascent video was always lagging behind, but this camera work look so good I think it lead to the question. – Anthony Stevens Jun 17 at 18:45
• Houston says"Drop it ...now!" and starts zooming. Instructions to the astronaut and to the camera get there simultaneously... – DJohnM Jun 18 at 5:35
• @DJohnM I don't hear anyone say that - at what time, exactly? Lags and delays would depend on which end the recording was made. If the tape is recording on the moon with Houston's voice coming on over radio, then an instruction from Houston would be simultaneous with the action on the Moon (the astronaut would hear the instruction at the same time as it gets recorded). Responses from Houston would be time-delayed. If the recording is happening on Earth, it would be the other way about. – Oscar Bravo Jun 18 at 10:36
• @OscarBravo More likely each feed was recorded on separate channels of audio tape for later analysis (ie, evidence) so that small details on one wouldn't be hidden by louder audio events on other inputs. Later, it would be trivial to mix the two sources offset into a final recording that timed up with the footage. – Criggie Jun 18 at 12:04