The American television personality, musician, puppeteer, writer, and producer “Mister” Fred Rogers (Fred McFeely Rogers, March 20, 1928 – February 27, 2003) reads some of Apollo 15 Astronaut Al Worden’s space poems at his TV show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”, which ran from 1968 to 2001.
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Poems of Al Worden
Al Worden, Apollo 15 Command Module (CM) pilot was the first poet to have ever flown to the Moon. Here are the poems read by Mister Rogers. From Al Worden’s 1974 book named “Hello Earth; greetings from Endeavour”.
it’s clear you’re hiding
Worldly problems from my view
Could it be you are forgetting
I am worldly too?
I wish you’d answer
And in answering take stock
It’s clear you are a spaceship
And must do with what you’ve got,
Being let out
For a swim
By Moby Dick
“Mister” Fred Rogers’ Introduction to Al Worden’s 1974 book “I Want To Know About: A Flight to the Moon”
Al Worden is the first poet to have ever flown to the Moon! Of course, he’s a great scientist, but one of the great things about him is that he uses his gift of communication to make traveling in space so much more comprehensible to those of us who stay on the Earth.
“Did anybody tell you that you had to go to the Moon?”
“What do you eat up there?”
“How do you go to the bathroom in space?”
… all questions that young people ask with frankness and real interest. Al Worden answers them and many more in this very personal “conversation” with his reader.
When I look at the Moon, I often think of things that Al has told my family and me about his Apollo mission. I am glad that he has taken the time to write his book for all of us who care about human beings and our world and anything which may help us understand and plan ahead.
NASA Remembers Apollo 15 Astronaut Al Worden
Former astronaut Alfred M. Worden, command module pilot on the Apollo 15 lunar landing, passed away March 18, 2020, in Texas.
“I’m deeply saddened to hear that Apollo astronaut Al Worden has passed away,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted about Worden. “Al was an American hero whose achievements in space and on Earth will never be forgotten. My prayers are with his family and friends.”
As command module pilot, Worden stayed in orbit while commander David Scott and lunar module pilot James B. Irwin explored the Moon’s Hadley Rille and the Apennine Mountains. Apollo 15’s command module, dubbed Endeavour, was the first to have its own module of scientific instruments. During the flight back from the Moon, Worden retrieved film from cameras in the module during a spacewalk. Altogether, Worden logged more than 295 hours in space.
“The thing that was most interesting to me was taking photographs of very faint objects with a special camera that I had on board,” Worden told Smithsonian Magazine in 2011. “These objects reflect sunlight, but it’s very, very weak and you can’t see it from [Earth]. There are several places between the Earth and the moon that are stable equilibrium points. And if that’s the case, there has to be a dust cloud there. I got pictures of that.”
Like other command module pilots, Worden stayed as busy as his colleagues on the surface. But he also took some time to enjoy the view.
“Every time I came around the moon I went to a window and watched the Earth rise and that was pretty unique.”
After retirement from active duty in 1975, Worden became President of Maris Worden Aerospace, Inc., and was Vice-President of BF Goodrich Aerospace Brecksville, Ohio, in addition to other positions within the aerospace and aviation industries. Worden wrote several books: a collection of poetry, “Hello Earth: Greetings from Endeavour” in 1974; a children’s book, “I Want to Know About a Flight to the Moon”, also in 1974; and a memoir, “Falling to Earth,” in 2011. His interest in educating children about space led to an appearance on “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood”.
Al Worden was born in Jackson, Michigan, on February 7, 1932. He was appointed to the United States Military Academy at West Point, graduating in 1955. He earned master of science degree in astronautical/aeronautical engineering and instrumentation engineering from the University of Michigan in 1963. In 1971, the University of Michigan awarded him an honorary doctorate of science in astronautical engineering.
Before becoming an astronaut, Worden was an instructor at the Aerospace Research Pilots School. He had also served as a pilot and armament officer from March 1957 to May 1961 with the 95th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland.
Worden was one of 19 astronauts selected by NASA in April 1966. He served as a member of the astronaut support crew for Apollo 9 and as backup command module pilot for Apollo 12.
After leaving the astronaut corps, Worden moved to NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. He was the Senior Aerospace Scientist there from 1972-73, and then chief of the Systems Study Division until 1975.