How the Apollo Astronauts Guided Their Ships With a Brilliantly Simple Telescope

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One of the most impressive aspects of the Apollo space program was how NASA worked around the limitations in computer power. The smartwatch on your wrist eclipses what the Apollo space craft’s computers were capable of, so NASA’s engineers often had to rely on clever ingenuity to solve difficult problems.

As engineerguy Bill Hammack explains, in order to properly align the Lunar Module’s guidance system (before GPS and other electronic aides existed) the Apollo astronauts relied on an Alignment Optical Telescope that used techniques devised by Archimedes to be simple, lightweight, but absolutely essential to getting to the moon and back again.