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Busting a Myth: Did a Filipino Invent the Lunar Rover? (UPDATED, Nov. 2011)

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by , 04-28-2009 at 11:31 AM (52468 Views)
This is something that has bothered me since high school and until this very day. There seems to be this great conviction, among my countrymen, that it was a Filipino Engineer named Eduardo San Juan, who invented NASA's Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) or "Moon Buggy", the vehicle that allowed Apollo 15, 16 and 17 astronauts to drive over the lunar surface.



It bothered (and somewhat embarassed) me especially when I got involved in the Orbiter Addon community, because I was one of the first 3D meshmakers to create a lunar rover for that simulation, and I got joking remarks from other developers about the issue of who were the real inventors of the rover, and the claims made by Eduardo San Juan.

There was even a TV Commercial done sometime in the early 2000's (about some Ad Congress) that showed a Jeepney driving across what appeared to be a lunar surface, with the caption "A Filipino invented the lunar rover...", that made me cringe each time I saw it (good thing the said video seems to have been wiped off the face of the earth).

Well, here are some links I found that would finally debunk this claim:

The Lunar Rover and Eduardo San Juan: Update from an LRV Designer (how now brownpau)

And, this excellent documentary called "Moon Machines: Lunar Rover" off youtube:

Part 1: YouTube - 1of5_Moon Machines - Lunar Rover
Part 2: YouTube - 2of5_Moon Machines - Lunar Rover
Part 3: YouTube - 3of5_Moon Machines - Lunar Rover
Part 4: YouTube - 4of5_Moon Machines - Lunar Rover
Part 5: YouTube - 5of5_Moon Machines - Lunar Rover

So my countrymen, let's face the facts:

1. There was indeed an Eduardo San Juan who worked for Boeing at the time when the LRV was being developed. He wasn't a senior developer, just one of the technicians.

2. The inventor of the LRV are the following men: Dr. M.G. Bekker, Bruce Velasco, Frank Pavlics, Sam Romano. Thus, San Juan had NO HAND in its design concepts and development. He probably worked on it like other engineers at Boeing, and that's the extent of his contributions.

3. Blogs and Websites such as this... Eduardo San Juan - WikiPilipinas: The Hip 'n Free Philippine Encyclopedia ...only add embarrassment to the list of credible "Invented by Filipinos" claims, and should be taken down or modified to tell the truth.

4. It's now YOUR job to inform the misinformed, and debunk this embarrassing Filipino urban legend/myth.

So, now you are informed. Help me spread the word.


IMPORTANT UPDATE: November 2011

According to this website/blog...

http://hownow.brownpau.com/archives/...he-molab-study

...there was indeed an Engineer named Eduardo San Juan, but he worked on a project called MoLab (Mobile Laboratory) Rover, a subproject in the Apollo programme that aimed to land a large pressurized mobile laboratory on the moon. San Juan did a study and even made a few sketches of his large rover design, but it is important to note that he did all this TWO YEARS after Grumman already got the contract to build the smaller LRV, which was the final rover design that got onboard Apollo 15, 16 and 17.

-RODION

Updated 11-24-2011 at 02:35 PM by rodsky

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