Let's assume that our Apollo astronauts are on the Moon, driving their Lunar Rover and they are far away from the LM. What if LRV failed during the mission? Would they be able to get back to the LM on foot?

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    $\begingroup$ related and potentially helpful: Apollo 17, Lunar Roving Vehicle walkback limit “relaxed”? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Aug 3, 2021 at 7:24
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    $\begingroup$ They would call AAA. All Apollo lunar mission astronauts were provided with AAA full service memberships. - However in December 1972, according to AAA's toll-free phone menu, the estimated waiting time for roadside service to Mare Serenitatis was 58.5 years. $\endgroup$ Aug 3, 2021 at 16:51
  • $\begingroup$ How is AAA coming up, besides just the memberships? This has me curious. $\endgroup$ Aug 3, 2021 at 20:28

1 Answer 1


The track for the Lunar Rover was planned not to exceed the maximum walking distance back to the LM.

The astronauts could drive away from the LM to the maximum distance and then drive a circle around the LM. Every spot outside this circle was forbidden, any spot inside the circle was allowed. As long as they stayed inside the circle, they were permitted to drive to any unplanned but interesting-looking spot.

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    $\begingroup$ Would the maximum walking distance depend on the consumables remaining in each EVA suit? $\endgroup$
    – DJohnM
    Aug 3, 2021 at 21:03
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    $\begingroup$ Also was it a perfect circle with some margin? Or was it dependant on topography, i.e driving uphill and walking back downhill differs from the inverse. $\endgroup$
    – user19132
    Aug 3, 2021 at 21:19
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    $\begingroup$ @DJohnM yes. The trips were planned in a "drive out to the furthest point then work your way back" fashion so that the astronauts would be comfortably within the walkback limit (which, btw, is the relevant search term) at all times. The ground would monitor consumables and tell them to get a move on if they ever came anywhere near the limit. They were quite conservative. $\endgroup$
    – hobbs
    Aug 3, 2021 at 21:32
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    $\begingroup$ @qq jkztd Common sense still applies to astronauts. Driving into difficult area where mobility is severely limited is not an option. So driving into a bottomless pit or such. NASA had different factors for different terrain (ranging from "smooth mare" to "rough uplands"). See page 11 in lpi.usra.edu/lunar/ALSEP/pdf/31111000673366.pdf for details. $\endgroup$
    – Klaws
    Aug 5, 2021 at 7:24
  • $\begingroup$ Do you have any idea of the typical order of magnitude of this distance? 100 meters? 1 kilometer? $\endgroup$
    – AoooR
    Aug 3, 2023 at 12:51

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