To the moon: Lunar rover engineer recalls experiences

Tom Conover doesn’t have plans to visit the moon he thinks that space is simply too harsh an atmosphere for anybody to visit there. And that he knows-he built and examined the gear that increased wide, such as the lunar rover.

Tom labored for that aircraft manufacturer Boeing being an engineer throughout the space race.

“We received many government contracts. They’d ask us to assist take something as much as space, and we’d get it done,Inches Tom stated. “It’s difficult to avoid Reagan.”

During this period at Boeing, Tom was contracted to produce the lunar rover or, because they known as it, the “Moon Buggy.” He particularly labored around the navigation system for that rover, permitting the astronauts to understand where these were around the moon with regards to the area station.

“The reason for the machine ended up being to show the astronauts how to return to the station. It demonstrated what lengths away these were in the landing site and just how lengthy it might take to allow them to return,Inches Tom stated. “You could be surprised how easy it is to buy lost available online for.Inches

The machine is really quite simple, based on Tom.

“It needed to be,Inches he stated having a laugh. “It needed to be not so difficult when it broke lower, the astronauts could do the repair.Inches


To Tom, probably the most interesting factor concerning the lunar rover was the makeup from the tires. These were produced from heavy wires after which created the same shape as a tire. These were just like a spring, Tom stated, which gave them good traction. Boeing examined the rover inside a classified location which recreated the terrain from the moon.

Scott Conover, Tom’s boy, stated his father affected him also to work with Boeing after graduating from BYU.

“I can’t communicate a lot by what I actually do or focus on, but many of things i do was affected in what my father did,” Scott stated. “I clearly loved what my father did since i thought about being like him.”

However, Tom described that existence allowing the moon buggy wasn’t as fun because the name indicates. The majority of these details was classified for any lengthy time, so Tom was unable to discuss the specifications of his job together with his family.

“It was hard not letting them know the exciting areas of my job,” Tom stated. “I would consider the buggy and consider the enjoyment my boy might have using it.”

Tom’s wife, D Conover, stated she still felt supported while Tom labored abroad.

“When he labored on secret projects, there is several I possibly could call basically required to contact him,” D stated.

Building space equipment had its perks. Tom would frequently visit Florida and Australia to operate final inspections on his projects after which watch them get released into space.

“That was my personal favorite part,” Tom stated. “I think I have a permanent tan line from watching the rockets under the sun.Inches

D stated she’ll observe how his labored assisted the nation’s technology.

“He would be a pioneer in technology,” D stated. “He assisted develop computer systems, the area program and missiles that assisted launch the U.S. in to the technical age.”

After Tom upon the market, he stated he centered on his two favorite things: his family and the passion for BYU sports.


Granddaughter Melissa Erickson, a BYU student studying dental hygiene after graduating, explained how Tom used his engineering skills to help with school projects.

“Whenever I needed help building something, I would always call Grandpa,” Erickson said. “One time, I had to build a MagLev train for one of my classes. He spent hours drawing the plans with me, trying to talk me through how aerodynamics work and the mathematics behind it. Then he helped me build it, which took forever because I kept messing up.”

Although Tom never physically went to the moon, a piece of him is still up in space. The rover remains on the moon, serving as a reminder to always be curious and work hard. You don’t need to be an astronaut to go into space; you can be a Boeing engineer, creating the equipment and technology to explore the unknown.  


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