Driving on the Moon

By Merle Poirier 

I’m guessing that if you are reading this, and you are a kid, you don’t drive yet. Oh, you might drive your bike or if you live on a farm, perhaps you’ve driven a tractor, but we guess you haven’t driven a car out on the highway.

If you could drive a car, what kind would it be? Your parents car? A sporty racecar? How about this idea? What if you could drive a car on the moon? Now that would be something!

Almost 50 years ago, on July 30, 1971, astronauts David Scott and James Irwin landed on the moon. They were part of the Apollo 15 space mission. They weren’t the first to land on the moon. They weren’t even the first to walk on the moon. But they were the first to drive on the moon. Tucked away in their lunar lander was a dune buggy-size land rover that was built just for lunar driving.

Remember, there is no gravity on the moon. The rover had to be lightweight. It had to fold up to pack in a small space. And it had to be able to drive over rocky craters. 

One of the people who help design this moon buggy was a man named Robert Shurney. Dr. Shurney designed the tires of the moon buggy.

That wasn’t all. As an engineer, he invented a way to eat food in space. He designed a device to help take dirt from the moon. He even invented a space-age toilet!

When not designing things for space, Dr. Shurney spent time with his family and at church. He was a member of the Oakwood Adventist Church in Huntsville, Alabama. He liked to read his Bible and attend Sabbath School and church. When he retired, he and his wife established a community service center to serve others. Dr. Shurney died in 2007, but he made a lasting impact, not just in space, but on earth too, in the neighborhood where he lived.

This is adapted from an article that appeared in June 2019 Adventist Review.