Trail in Namibia Trail in Namibia

Navigation Conference

I’m just back from giving a short talk at the Royal Institute of Navigation‘s Land Conference at the National Physical Laboratory.

I learnt plenty from the other speakers and chats during the breaks. One little gem: the Apollo program nearly lost two astronauts, literally. They were roaming the lunar surface and became temporarily unaware where ‘home’ was. Without a map, compass, GPS or any other instrument there were some tense moments before they found their way back successfully. Definitely an opportunity for some natural navigation training in this niche market, as I was not too shy to point out to the assembled!

Something that makes a walk on the moon more challenging than on earth is that the moon has a much smaller radius and therefore has a more dramatically curved surface, the result being you cannot see nearly as far on the moon as you can on Earth. All other things being equal your horizon is much closer on the moon and things will drop out of sight far more quickly. Please keep this in mind for your next lunar ramble.