How GM Engineers and a GI Joe Helped Put a Car on the Moon

This is the story about how two General Motors engineers, way back in 1969, brought a toy to NASA and ended up with a car on the moon.

The tale comes from Fast Company, and it’s a fascinating look at a time when space tech was moving faster than phone tech today. The two engineers were Sam Romano and Ferenc Pavlivs. They came to Huntsville, Alabama, home of the Marshall Space Flight Center, to tell NASA that there needed to be a car on the moon.

The first landing was just weeks away, and NASA had given up on rovers years before. Too heavy and too expensive. But the two engineers had kept working on the project.

“I decided it can be done, it should be done, and we want to do it,” said Romano. “If there’s going to be a vehicle on the Moon, it’s going to be a General Motors vehicle, and I’m going to make sure it happens.”

Through a bit of backroom discussion, they found out that there was an empty storage module on the outside of the lunar module and then they designed a rover that could fit. Into a compartment the size of a trunk.

They arrived with a scale model that had an Astronaut GI Joe in the driver’s seat. They drove the model into the right office and made one small pitch for man, one giant pitch for mankind.

And you know how the rest of the story goes. Three of them made it to the moon, starting with Apollo 15.

via Fast Company