Dr. George Carruthers

(1939 – )

Dr George Carruthers
Dr. George Carruthers, right. Man’s First Moon-Based Space Observatory-The first observatory ever operated by man from a fixed platform outside the earth was this gold-plated ultra-violet (UV) camera/spectograph.It was placed on the moon by the Apollo 16 astronauts, after they landed there April 20,1972. Photo by NASA.

Dr. George Carruthers, a Black American, was the principal scientist responsible for the development of a special camera that made the trip to the moon aboard the Apollo 16 in 1972.

Carruthers was born in Ohio in 1939.  At high school in Chicago, his futuristic thinking was put down by most of his teachers and he was jeered at school science fairs.  Yet, by the age of 26, he had applied for a patent for his camera telescope.   Called the “far- ultraviolet camera/spectrograph,” The gold plated unit was designed to study the earth’s upper atmosphere and other inter-planetary conditions.  It was the first telescope to operate from the moon.

On the Apollo 16 mission more than 200 frames of pictures were made of eleven selected targets. In 1973, another model of the camera was made for the Skylab 4 to take pictures of the comet speeding towards the sun.

Because of Carruthers invention, we now know more about the Earth and its atmosphere, the gas and dust in space, how stars are formed – and life on Mars! 

Carruthers was interested in science as a child and built his own telescope at the age of ten. From the age of 25, he made significant contributions to the field of electronic imaging and space.

Read more about Dr. George Carruthers