Chapter 10 – A Valley on the Moon

Chapter 10

A Valley on the Moon[1], [2]

Almost fifty years after the Challenger photograph ↑ of the valley of Taurus-Littrow was taken prior to the Apollo 17 landing, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Camera (LROC), took this oblique view of the valley. Unfortunately, an astronaut-inhabited Command & Service Module (CSM) was not flying ahead of the LRO. The LROC image has nearly the same angular relationship but was obtained at a much higher altitude than the similar, Challenger photograph. The topographic details in this LROC photograph, however, are much more clearly seen. The white star marks the landing site left of the three craters, Henry, Shakespeare, and Cochise. The LM landed ~0.8 km from Camelot, the large crater to the west and just above the star. (NASA/ASU/GSFC photo M192703697LR).

Day 6 – First Extravehicular Activity (EVA-1)


Deployment and activation of the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV or Rover) and the Extended Apollo Lunar Science Experiments Package (EALSEP or ALSEP) occupied most of the time available during EVA-1 in the valley of Taurus-Littrow. A shortened Rover traverse to the southeast to near Steno Crater, however, provided many samples of a single mare basalt lava flow that, in aggregate, define the crystallization history of the titanium-rich parent magma.[3]

Preliminary Activities

With both the Commander and the Lunar Module Pilot outside the Challenger in the valley of Taurus-Littrow, Apollo 17 finally could get down to the business of lunar exploration. Many things had to be done, however, before real geological fieldwork began. The Rover had to be deployed, sampling equipment had to be organized, and most time consuming of all, the complex hardware of the Apollo Lunar Science Experiments Package (ALSEP[4]) had to be deployed and activated, including the insertion of heat-flow probes and the drilling and extraction of the deep drill core. And, of course, the time required for the unexpected problems had to be dealt with.

Hey, Bob, I’m east of the LM now,” Cernan reported. “I’m east of the LM, and the back strut of the LM is…well, the LM straddles this crater I talked about, and that’s where we get the pitch angle; the back strut is probably right down in the eastern one-third of that crater – just a very subtle crater.”

“Hey, man,” I said, observing the regolith that had been pushed up by the forward landing pad, “you had some forward velocity.”

“That’s what I wanted to have.” With my call-outs during landing, I had made sure that he had the right forward motion. “Boy, I look at some of these rocks that are filleted (regolith ramps around the exposed base) here, Jack, and there sure are a lot of sparklies in them – awful lot of sparklies.”

“You landed in a crater?!” I exclaimed, trying to give the Commander a hard time.

“That’s a pretty good shot. …Okay. I’m going to get to work in a minute, just as soon as I take a look at Trident.” Later, it turned out that Cernan still had his craters mixed up. The crater he referred to here actually was Poppie (see Fig. 10.4↓).

“Why don’t you come over here and let me deploy your [PLSS] antenna?” I suggested. I had referred to the Cuff Checklist page covering our immediate, Post-Egress activities. This Checklist consisted of stiff Mylar pages, 3.5 inches square. A curved wire spring bound the pages into a slight bow so that when turned they would stay turned. The Checklist was very easy to use, even with a clumsy, pressurized glove.

“Okay. Just walk around for one second.” We had allowed some time in the EVA-1 timeline for familiarization with suited activities in the 1/6th g lunar environment; however, both of us felt comfortable moving around right from the start. Of course, we had been active in Challenger’s cabin for several hours, activity that assisted in rapid acclimation to lunar gravity.

[Qualitatively, I felt that I also had begun physiological re-adaptation to being subject to gravitational force once again, but quantitative verification of this is left to the future. Proof of re-adaptation or no re-adaptation will have a great engineering and operational influence on any future plans to explore or pioneer on Mars in that planet’s 3/8th g environment.]

“Hey, man, put your visor down,” I ordered, laughing.

“And, I’ll be over there, and you can fix my tool harness. I don’t like that thing loose.”

“I don’t like it loose, either. What are you doing over there? We’re supposed to be working.”

“I was just going to give them a fix [on where we are]. All these little craters, Jack, have got glass in the bottom of them. Here’s another one.” Cernan exaggerated some with this comment. Only the freshest of small craters in the regolith had irregular, amoeboid pools of impact-generated glass, mixed with indurated regolith, as well as relatively lighter gray (higher albedo) ejecta around them.

[The masses of impact glass have disappeared in older small craters, having been broken up and mixed with regolith by micro-meteor impacts. Along with an apparently dominant effect caused by solar wind sputtering, those smaller impacts also contribute to a darkening of the lighter gray ejecta. This darkening occurs because of the formation of extremely fine-grained (nanophase) particles of iron in the aluminum-silicate plasmas produced by sputtering and micro-meteor impacts. Each process creates spot temperatures of several thousands of degrees, generated at the point of impact by high energy solar wind ions and space dust traveling at 10-20 km/second. The nanophase iron particles result from the heat-induced reduction (removal of oxygen) of iron bound to oxygen in iron-bearing minerals (e.g., olivine, pyroxene and ilmenite).[5] Evidence has continuted to accumulate, including evidence in samples collected at Station 4 (Chapter 11), that sputtering of the silicate minerals and glass by high energy solar wind ions[6] is the dominate means of nano-phase iron production and surface darkening by a ratio of about 7/1.]

“There’s very clear sweeping of the surface by the descent plume out, oh, about 10 meters [from the engine bell],” I said, observing the striations on the surface that radiate from the nozzle of the Descent Engine. “…Come over here, and I’ll fix your antenna.”

“Okay. Hey, Bob, how big is Poppie supposed to be?” Cernan asked, still unnecessarily worried about exactly where he landed Challenger.

“Stand by. …It looks on the map like it’s about 75 meters in diameter. Fairly subtle.”

“Okay, I tell you where I think I landed…oh, about 100 meters from Poppie at 10 o’clock.” Cernan may have meant to say our “2 o’clock” position. If so, that is where Poppie actually is.

“You think that’s Poppie, huh?” I questioned, but not sure I should encourage him to spend time on the subject.

“I think so. I think…”

“That’s an awful big hole.”

“Well, I know. I got to look around a little more. It sure is not Trident. …Bend over and I’ll…get your antenna. …Oh, a little more.”

“It might be part of Trident,” I mused.

“God, it’s beautiful out here,” exclaimed Cernan in an apparent moment of non-professional wonder.


Indeed, looking around this deep lunar valley for the first time, a valley deeper than the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River, created an extraordinary memory. The dark-gray, cratered valley floor merges in the near distance with the much lighter gray, steep and brilliantly illuminated slopes of the valley walls. The undulating tops of the Massifs, five to seven thousand feet above us, lie starkly against the blacker than black sky in inverse silhouette. The rays of the low Sun in the east illuminate the sunward slopes of all valley features, leaving dark shadows behind rocks and crater walls in their path. Around the shadow of one’s own helmet, there exists a halo of bright reflection emanating from the fairy castle texture of the surface and from billions of sparkling glass particles. And then, your eyes reach upward to the blue and white Earth, hanging with no relative motion over the southwestern massif wall of the valley. All in all, it was one of those experiences in life whose full visual and emotional impact could never have been anticipated or fully described. The words and pictures provided by others will never be enough. Being there is the essential human ingredient.


“Well, hang on,” Cernan said as he worked to release my antenna held down by a small loop of Velcro so that it would not get broken during cabin egress and ingress.

“Yep…” I had been bending over and started to stand up when Cernan stopped me. “Not yet. Yeah, you talk to them. I don’t want you to stand up yet.”

So, I took advantage of this close examination of the regolith surface, and began: “The surface is moderately cohesive, which holds a pretty good boot print; very fine-grained. Gene’s [track] looks very much like [tracks in] previous soils [at other landing sites],” I reported, while staring down at the surface already disturbed by our activities. We had known since return of the Apollo 11 samples that the regolith consists of particles of rock, minerals, glass, volcanic glass beads, and impact glass-bound aggregates of glass, rock and minerals (agglutinates). As all these particles have been created in hard vacuum, their surfaces have unbonded electrons that attract other particles giving the regolith a slightly cohesive character similar in appearance to damp beach sand. In fact, when you scuff the surface, clods fly away in addition to a temporary spray of fine dust (See Appendix C). “…You got it (the antenna)?” I asked as he dropped his arms.

“Yeah.” Cernan had finally released my PLSS antenna.

“You got a hole (crater) behind you now,” I warned.

“Well, I’ll stand in it, and you can get at it (his antenna) better.”

“Well, you got me right in (facing) the Sun,” I said. “Can you come around this way? Ho-ho. I’m going to have to get upstream of you.”

“Look, you get up on the hill (low crater rim), and I’ll get in the hole.”

“Yeah. There you go. Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!” I struggled to regain my balance.

“Don’t move too fast. Boy, your feet look like you just…”

“Walked on the Moon, huh?” I added, finishing the thought. “Well, I tell you Gene, I think the next generation ought to accept this as a challenge… Let’s see them leave footsteps like these someday…”

“What did you do with my tool harness?” Cernan asked, ignoring my spontaneous challenge to the future.

“I’m going to work on it; that’s what I’m going to do… Whoa; hold still. … Okay…”

“Boy, I tell you,” continued Cernan as I worked on his harness, “looking [into the Sun] to the east…you might just as well forget it…”

“Well, let’s see. How’s this thing…? I’m going to have to loosen it (the harness).”

“Well, if you could just stretch it around [the corner].”

“I can’t.” Insufficient slack and stretch in the fabric of the strap meant that I couldn’t force it around a corner of the PLSS.

“You can’t, huh?”

“But I will be [able to] in a minute.”

“Don’t loosen it to the point where you can’t get it back on,” Cernan said, unnecessarily.

“Won’t. … Okay. You’re almost reconfigured,” I assured him.


“…Somebody tied you on wrong, too. They’ve got the strap reversed for the Velcro. …Okay, Gene. I think that’ll hold.” The tool harness had been put on before the PLSS was stowed in the cabin prior to launch. I just unhooked part of it and put in a twist so the pile and hook of the Velcro matched.

“Okay, and I’m going to…”

“If it doesn’t [hold], I’ll fix you again.”

“Man, there’s sparklies in the soil, Jack. You can just look at it. See them all over? [It’s] very fine-grained. It’s sparkly, that’s all…” Cernan refers here and before to the myriad of reflections coming off glass particles in the regolith. As Buzz Aldrin remarked during Apollo 11, the “sparklies” look very much like the reflections from soil mica that crews had seen on many geological training trips. “Bob, I’m going to…INTERMEDIATE cooling. …See the soil sparkle?,” Cernan repeated

“Yeah, I think that’s little [shards of] glass,” I suggested.

“Let’s go back here and get to work, and I’ll show you that crater that’s got nothing but glass in the bottom.”

“That’s a vesicular rock (rock with holes) of some kind there, Geno. It almost looks like a Mono Craters [California] pumice, but don’t quote me.” The vesicular pumice at Mono Craters consists of a silica-rich rock called rhyolite, whereas the rocks on the valley floor are largely fragments of relatively silica-poor basalt. Still, this feature indicates the former presence of bubbles of gas in the original lava.

“Bob, I have to reiterate,” Cernan continued. “Even the small, even the very small – the 1- and 2-inch, 3-inch – fragments that are laying around here – have been dusted and filleted…with the dark mantle.”

“Do-tu-doo,” I sang before continuing a description of the area around the Challenger. “And that sweeping by the descent stage goes all the way out there, Houston, to where we were; which was about 50 meters [away], I guess. Hey, man…” Then I stumbled and gave some verbal recovery sounds. “Whuh, whuh, whuh, whuh. … Hey, these rocks, they almost have a very light pinkish hue to them, and they’re not obviously breccias. Now, that’s like a breccia there. But this [one] is something else again.” The “pinkish hue” I referred to is my first notice of the very thin, actually more brownish than pinkish, impact glass patina that characteristically covers most rock surfaces. The thin gold film on my visor, there as protection from direct exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the Sun, may have caused the brown to look pinkish.

“Yeah. I don’t think there is any place you could land around here where you wouldn’t have one foot[pad] in a crater.”

“Looks like a vesicular, very-light-colored porphyry (two distinct sizes of crystals) of some kind,” I continued, “it’s about 10 or 15 percent vesicles. I’m right in front (west) of the LM. Quite a few of the rocks look of that type – sort of a pinkish hue to them. The [grain-size] texture is coarse, but I’m not sure how crystalline they are, yet.”

[I was describing a basalt fragment with many smooth-walled holes (vesicles) surrounded by rock containing scattered crystals imbedded in a very fine-grained matrix. This texture is typical of many lavas seen on Earth and usually indicates that crystallization began slowly before eruption after which solidification took place much more rapidly as the lava cooled after reaching the surface. The vesicles would begin to form in the rising magma column as pressure decreased and gases could exsolve from the liquid lava. Vesicles in lunar rocks are normally lined with only one or two kinds of minerals.[7]]

“Okay; back to work. Jack, when you put up the ETB [on the MESA], check down there below it.” Our one pair of scissors had fallen out of the ETB as Cernan lowered it from the porch.

“Oh-ho-ho,” I reacted, laughing. …”Let’s don’t forget those scissors” … That’s my fault, I guess [for not packing the ETB carefully enough].” Actually, the Velcro seal for the lid of the ETB was not strong enough to take the weight of everything we put in it. ETB stands for “Equipment Transfer Bag” and contained the camera, sissors, maps, and other items from the cabin that we would need during EVA-1.

Rover Deployment

Okay, let me take a look at the Rover.”[8] Cernan will examine what he can see of the Rover (Lunar Roving Vehicle or LRV) while I adjusted the height of the MESA and folded back its thermal blankets.

“Oh man, I tell you,” Cernan continued, “We came down at just a little forward velocity. Look at that, right there. About a [one]-foot slip on the pad… I tell you, there’s craters all over here. …Okay, baby. I’d sure like to think that that [Rover] wheel is where it’s supposed to be. It looks good to me…” The mechanical engineering marvel that configured the Rover for stowage in a triangular prism-shaped space in Challenger’s Quad-I meant one of the wheels always looked to be out of place but was not. (Numbered counter-clockwise from the ladder, Quad-I was one of four stowage compartments located between the four legs of the Challenger.)

“Our next little [space] vehicle to work. …Okay. Bob, so far, the Rover looks pretty good,” Cernan reported as he prepared to remove the Quad-I thermal blanket and examined the specific items called out on his Cuff Checklist.

“Roger; sounds good, Geno,” Parker acknowledged.

“Hey, [Bob], let me ask you,” he replied. “When I was behind the LM, I could look right into an area [between the Ascent and Descent Stages] and see the [engine] bell of the ascent stage. I never realized that before, but I guess that’s normal, huh?”

“Yeah,” I interjected, “we saw it on the Pad [a few days before launch]. Remember?”


“Remember when we went out there?”

“The only reason I asked, Bob, I’m sure it’s normal, and it doesn’t look [like] anything’s missing; [but] it’s just right into the Sun.”

“Yeah, the consensus of opinion down here is that you can [see the engine bell], also.” Parker was getting nods from Thorson and Legler at the LM CONTROL console.

“Well, that’s probably the best place in the world to get a ‘consensus of opinion’ from. …Okay, Jack, it’s about work time. I’ve got this Rover about ready for your pull up there.”

“I got a little delayed here.” More slowly than expected, I removed thermal blankets that cover the MESA contents.

Fig. 10.1. The Modularized Equipment Stowage Assembly (MESA) carried on the J-missions (Apollos 15, 16, 17) with size and content variations on earlier missions. At least 2 items in this illustration were not carried to the Moon on Apollo 17 ─  the TV tripod shown at the lower front and the 16 mm movie camera denoted on the right side. (Based on a NASA drawing).

[The MESA is an aluminum alloy, compartmented, flat box that measured approximately 163 × 156 × 46 cm[9], including containers projecting beyond the MESA’s hard structure. The interior compartment contained three extractable pallets two of which had items we would need between each EVA. On the latter two of the pallets, the EVA Pallets, were mounted our daily food packets, two PLSS replacement LiOH canisters, and two replacement PLSS batteries. The canisters and batteries would be used as replacements in the PLSSs for the second and third EVAs . The third pallet had the mounting and control unit for the Rover’s color TV camera. Just in front of this latter pallet had been placed the two batteries for the Lunar Communications Relay Unit (LCRU), pronounced, “la-crew”). Two SRCs (Sample Return Containers or “Rock Boxes”) were on shelves on the left side along with Lunar Module LiOH canisters. The Lunar Rake was mounted outboard of the rear-most Rock Box. A small shelf in front of the outer-most Rock Box contained a large bag for large samples (the Big Bag), and two other specialty bags that we would eventually use to protect the Solar Wind Composition experiment and the Deep Drill Core Stems Cernan would bore into the regolith at the ALSEP site. A worktable could be extended and locked in place on the front of the MESA.

Shelves on the right side of the MESA, symmetrically opposite the Rock Boxes, held our second Hasselblad film camera and the RCA color TV camera. Underneath these shelves, the Heat Flow Experiment Bore Stems and the Deep Core Stems had been inserted. The Drill that would emplace these stems and take the deep core, called the Heat Flow Drill Assembly, had been placed in a compartment back and below the Rock Boxes.

Telemetry points monitored the temperatures of those pallets with batteries, food and cameras. Heaters in those areas would be on low heat continuously so long as the MESA circuit breakers in the cabin remained closed. After we activated Challenger, had Mission Control noted the need for more heat, we could move a MESA heater switch in the cabin from LO to HI; however, I do not recall that ever being necessary.]

“Okay. …I’m sure glad those guys made us train so hard.” Cernan may have been recalling his very bad experience with the Gemini 9 EVA when some at the Manned Spacecraft Center thought his training had been inadequate.

“The MESA’s up, [adjusted and ready]. Let me know when you’re ready to deploy [the Rover].”

“Okay. Babe, I am ready for you. Everything I can see looks pretty good. The walking hinges, you will be glad to know, are intact! They did not drop.” Cernan has removed the thermal blanket covering the stowed Rover and now can examine important parts of its deployment mechanism more fully.

“Roger! That’s a first,” commented Parker, remembering problems we had during training. Special, self-adjusting hinges supported the inside portion of the Rover chassis at the start of deployment. After I go back up the ladder and pull a lanyard’s D-ring to unlock the stowed Rover, Cernan and I will supply muscle power and control for deployment by means of pulling separate fabric tapes that gradually unwind and force the Rover to largely assemble itself.

“You want me to go up there [to the porch] and do that, huh?” I asked, referring to the D-ring.

“Yes, sir. The beginning.”

“You ready for me to deploy?” I asked again before climbing the ladder.

“Okay. Let me just double-check [the Checklist]. ‘Drape [left tape on strut], [unstow] Contingency [Tool], Unstow Aft Deployment Cable, Verify Walking Hinge, Forward And Aft Chassis Parallel.’ They are [all done].”

MESA insulation is not coming off as easy as [it did] in training,” I informed Parker.

“…Outrigger cables are taut. Looking good to me. Yeah, Jack. You can go on up. Go on up.”


“I’m ready for you. God, that LM is a pretty sight. Challenger, you’re a beauty!”

“Well, let’s see how good I am [at getting up the ladder],” I said to myself before jumping and pulling 61 Moon pounds of suit, backpack and astronaut up to the first rung of the ladder and then climbing up to the porch.

“Yes, sir,” Cernan said as I laughed at my jump to the ladder. “Yes, sir. You’re pretty agile there, twinkle toes.”

“You bet your…life I am.” I resisted using an off-color body part word, here.

“All I asked you to do was pull that handle up there… Man, anything you grab, Jack [gets dirty]. …I just grabbed this lanyard that was in the dust…is really black.” Presently unknown to us, the Taurus-Littrow regolith included several percent of very fine, dark black volcanic glass beads.

“You ready?” I ask Cernan.

“GO. …She fell, Houston! She’s open.” Pulling the D-ring removed a restraining pin and allowed the top of the packaged Rover to swing outwards from Quad-I.

“You’ve got [three] parallel chassis [sections still in place],” I observed from above Quad-I. “The wheels look good on this [left] side.”

“Okay. They’re good on this side. Get down and let’s get it out… I’ll wait for you to get the [left] deploy cable. …I’ll tell you, Jack, this place is not locally level.”

“You’re right.”

“There’s not many places you could put the LM down and have it be zero, zero, zero (pitch, roll, yaw).” Challenger is pitched up 5.3 degrees and rolled left (south) 2.6 degrees. “Okay. I’m ready if you are.”

“I don’t know how much help I’m going to be.” My job was to back away and maintain tension on the left-hand tape while Cernan also backed away while pulling the right-hand tape to supply energy for the unfolding of the wheels and chassis sections. My concern was about getting enough traction in one-sixth g to maintain the desired tensional control.

“Well, I’m starting; you pull. It’s coming. It’s coming. Its coming, baby. How’s your wheels on that side? Can you see them? Mine look good.”

“Wheels?” I questioned, pretending to be surprised. “You mean it has wheels? …They looked good a minute ago. I got the Sun [in my eyes], so I can’t tell much…”


“Wheee! The only way to do it. …I’m putting all my weight [on the tape],” I claimed, laughing, and leaning backwards as I pulled on the tape.

“Okay. Wait a minute. I’m coming down now. She’s going to pop here.” Cernan was supplying most the deployment energy at this point, and I was supplying enough tension to keep the Rover coming out in a straight line.


“Wait a minute,” Cernan urged. “Stand by.”

“I may pull a Jim Irwin here,” I said. Irwin had stumbled and fallen at this point in the Apollo 15 Rover deployment.

“Wait a minute. Watch out. Here she goes!” exclaimed Cernan.

“Got her.” At 45 degrees of rotation from stowage, the forward chassis section separates about 45 degrees from the center chassis and the aft chassis moves outward and locks into place on the center section. At the same time, the rear wheels spring quickly to the side and lock.

“Okay. Beautiful, Houston. The aft chassis’s out.”

“Roger. Beautiful,” replied Parker.

“Beautiful. …Whoa, whoa, wait, wait, wait, wait,” I cried. “[It] tried to get off the [walking] hinge there.” The walking hinges projected from the stowage area enough so that the Rover would move outward as it deployed.

“Yeah, yeah. She’s on, though. She’s all in. She’s in the walking hinges. I wish you could see I. …Jack, those [rear] wheels did not lock all the way up though. We ought to pull them up [to lock] before we [go further]. …Well, there it (the wheel) goes, by itself. …Okay. Wait a minute. Wait a minute. …Okay. Let me pull it until the outrigger cables get slack.” The aft wheels now had settled on the ground.

“Walk away from it,” I suggested. “That’s easier.” By this, I meant that walking away took less fatiguing arm action than facing the Challenger and pulling the tape hand over hand.

“It’s coming.” At 73 degrees from stowage, the forward chassis section begins to unfold further and move outward.

“It’s (my tape) free reeling,” I called, meaning I had no more control on tension.

“Yeah. Let me…let me… Don’t pull it until I… Okay. Now I’ve got it. …Man, I’d fall into that crater (Poppie) if I went to the end of this line. …Well, we’re deploying it at an angle. Okay. The outrigger cables are free, Jack.”

“Okay.” This meant the front wheels now had locked in place but still hovered off the surface. Meanwhile, I started another geological report: “Got a different breed of rock up here. The stuff’s sticking through this thin regolith…or regolith, period. I don’t know whether it’s thin or thick yet. Oop, oop, oop bo-doop-boop,” I exclaimed as I moved my feet to regain my balance. “Okay. Mine’s (reel) free,” I repeated.

“Let me get all this cable out of the way. Otherwise, I’ll [trip]. …Got enough of this stuff. I don’t like all that [cable] over there.” Cernan rightly was concerned about all the tape that we have accumulated in the work area around the Rover, and he was gathering it up to put out of the way under the Descent Stage.

“A geologist’s paradise, if I ever saw one,” I expounded in general recognition of where we were. “Boy, you certainly are changing the color of that cable, sir.” In trying to corral the Rover deployment tape, Cernan had covered it with more and more lunar dust.

“Just tried a John Young trick,” referring to Young’s tripping over and breaking loose an ALSEP cable for their Heat Flow Experiment, rendering that equipment inoperable.”

“Did it work?” I asked, facetiously.

“Yeah,” Cernan answered to my laughter.

“You’re getting dirty,” I observed.

“But, I’m still getting my balance. I didn’t touch the ground. Just got to get some of this cable out of here.”

“I’m not sure my pockets are going to be accessible,” I said to no one in particular. We had large pockets on the front of the shin portions of the suit,” but I could not bend the suit enough so that I could reach them. Cernan, with longer arms, would use his left pocket to hold the hammer. This, however, would contribute to a later problem.

“Man, I’ll tell you,” he expounded. “I don’t know how long this line to pull the Rover out is, but… Well, I’ll tell you, it sure is easy to get dusty, but that’s nothing new to anybody. Okay, Babe, let me get… Whee!”

“I think it’s safe to say this [original] surface was not formed yesterday. There is a regolith; it looks classic. [There is a] seriate distribution of particles up to (below) 3 or 4 centimeters (exponential increase in number of particles with decreasing size), anyway. Then, you start to get maybe a selective (irregular) distribution of large fragments…” The regolith at all Apollo landing sites had essentially the same general characteristics with small variations based on the nature of local rock types and proximity to craters that would affect the number of large rock and impact breccia fragments.[10] It would turn out that the regolith on the valley floor at this location had more very fine particles than at the five other Apollo sites (see Chapter 11) “Got that cable [out of the way]?”


“I’m going to walk away with this one.” I would continue to pull my tape, now at some distance from the Challenger, supplying deployment energy until the front wheels reach the surface. I just walked southwest with the left-hand cable for a ways and left it lying on the surface. I had discovered in training that, in the pressure suit, it was much easier to use my legs than my hands.

“Okay, …outrigger cable [loose],” noted Cernan. Now, we would release the pins holding the outrigger deployment cables inside the Rover stowage area.

“You ready?” I asked.

“Okay,” Cernan said and then read the Cuff Checklist: ‘When forward wheels on surface’… Let me pull [on the deployment cable some more]. Okay, Houston. She’s continuing to come [out].”

“Here’s a couple of different-looking rocks,” I said, continuing to combine Rover deployment with geology. “One’s very white; one’s quite dark. But we do have a general rock type, I think, in the area…[at least] of the big boulders.” My working definition of a “boulder” was anything that required two hands or more to lift; maybe greater than about 20 cm in diameter. “…Jesus, how much cable is there?”

“There’s a lot of it (deployment tape), Jack. Keep going,” he said as I laughed. “You’re going to be a long way away. We’re not there yet. Keep going. …Okay. We’ve got the front wheels on the surface, but keep going, I don’t think you’ve got it up there.”

“I never thought I’d do geology this way.”

“Okay. I think you got it. Let me see.”

“Is it (the support cable) slack?” I asked as I was supposed to pull until tension left the 45 degree support cable in the stowage bay.

“I’ll get up there and take a look. …Okay. It’s slack.” Finally, the front wheels rested on the surface and all tension had disappeared from the deployment cables.

“Longest cable in the world,” I said from about 30 m to the west of Challenger.

It’s slack,” Cernan repeated.

“Wait till you get to the ALSEP package,” Parker added, referring to all the cables associated with the various experiments I would deploy on this first EVA.

“Okay. ‘By golly’, those wheels did lock,” Cernan reported. He had stolen “by golly,” one of Evans’ favorite phases.

Laughing at Parker’s anticipatory comment about the ALSEP, I said, “I never knew that [Rover deployment] cable was that long, Bob. …Oh, a glass-bottom crater with a little [internal] bench! Looks like one of the Flagstaff explosion craters except for the glass in it. Right out at 12 o’clock [from the Challenger]. That’s the one I was talking about [from the cabin as] having a bright halo. …I don’t know whether it’s easier to walk out there or to do what I did in training. [That is what I] said I wouldn’t do on the Moon,” referring to the alternative of pulling the cable hand over hand while standing in one place… “Somebody’s going to get tangled up with this thing (deployment tape).”

“That’s why I’d get it all under the LM somewhere. It took me five minutes to do and get it all out of the way. …Okay, Bob, the front wheels [are] locked in. I had to pull the rear wheels back to get them to lock in.”

“Okay. Copy that.”

“At least no one let any air out of the tires.” Cernan makes another standard Apollo Mission joke, as the Rover wheels consisted of an open wire mesh with chevron shaped cleats (see Fig. 10.2). “Man, I look like I’ve been on the surface for a week already. Holy smoley…” Back to the Checklist, Cernan read, “‘Pull Pins On Deploy Cable And Fittings; Move LRV From LM.’” Before we finish, 15 pins will have to be pulled to detach the Rover from its deployment mechanism.

Fig. 10.2. The LRV tire replicated by Goodyear from the original GM lunar rover tire in a 2007 NASA study for future roving vehicles. The wire mesh with chevron cleats was a vast improvement over the soft rubber tires with inner tubes used on the Apollo 14 Mobile Equipment Transporter (MET), a rickshaw-like cart designed to be pulled by one person. Foot traction in the soft lunar regolith soil was so poor, the Apollo 14 crew often had to pick up the MET and carry it between them. (Goodyear photos).

“Wait a minute,” I said, as I came back to help with the final deployment items. “I haven’t let my…other pins [loose]. It’s going to take awhile. …Think we can avoid that cable?” I referred to the deployment tape that I had left lying on surface.

“Why don’t you set it there, pull this pin, and then you can go back and get it (Rover contingency tool),” Cernan suggested, that is, it’s better to use the Rover contingency tool to extract the pins.

“Yeah, but that’s (the tool) off over there on the ground now, somewhere or another,” I explained.

“Okay. Pull that pin. See if you can get that saddle loose.” The “saddle” was the main piece of hardware that supported the Rover when it was stowed in Quad-I.

“It’s loose,” I told him after a moment.

“Ah, beautiful. Okay, we’re going to have to move that line, Jack. You ready?”

“I’ll move it [the line]…”

“Okay. Let’s find a [level place]… Back over here. See there?”

“Yeah.” We picked up the Rover, one of us on each side, moved it by walking sideways away from the Descent Stage, and aligned it in an east-west direction. At this point, the Rover, without any exploration equipment attached, weighed about 74 lunar pounds.

“Oh, man,” Cernan exclaims as he stumbles a little. “Face [it] a little more east, so I don’t have to run into the rim [of that crater when I test drive]. Okay, how about here?”

“You’re the driver,” I reminded him.

“Okay; right there.”

“You like it?” I asked.

“Like it.”

“Okay. You got it.” Now we have to configure the fenders, seats and the central navigation post.

“Now, Jack, you got some fenders and stuff for me?…”

“I was going to get my cable (out of the way under the LM). I thought you said I could work on the cable,” I replied, pretending to be distracted.


“You’re putting me farther and farther behind.” Surprisingly, we are close to being up with the Timeline. “Don’t forget your [Geo-]post,” I reminded him. This post, stowed down across the back chassis, rotated and locked to the rear right corner of the Rover. It would be the anchor for the Geo-Pallet and its interior mounting “gate” that would hold many of our sampling tools.

“Okay.” Without further comment, with Cernan working on the right side and me on the left, we configured the fenders on each side into their functional positions. Each fender consisted of two parts: one attached to a spot directly over the wheel and the other that we extended downward along rails on the first part This second part locked mechanically to the rails like a mud flap, except that its function was to defect dust off a wheel downward, so it would not spray forward over the Rover.

“Okay. ‘Pull pins’ [for the Geo-post]. I can see a little yellow paint showing,” I said. The paint indicated this locking pin was not engaged.

“Okay. The post is up.”

“ ‘Hinge pins,’ ” I read from the Checklist. Eight more locking pins would secure the fore and aft sections to the center chassis section.

“Yours is in, but mine is not.”

“Well, neither is my outboard one,” I noted.

“My outboard is in, but my inboard is not.”

“And my outboard isn’t.”


“That’s supposed to do it. But it didn’t,” I said.

“Let me get the contingency tool and try to push those things closed.”

“Okay. Be careful,” I warned, referring to the rat’s nest of tapes near the Challenger.

“Here’s a piece of glass I picked up. I’m going to set it right on the floor of the Rover. …Jack, let me get that [contingency] tool. We got to get those pins in, I think. …Bob, you got any words on the yellow pins on the rear chassis?”

“Roger. The best way to put those in, if you’ve tried bouncing the chassis, would be to push them with the contingency tool. Which I think is what you’re going to do.”

“That’s affirm,” I answered. “Can you get that (tool), Geno? …Need some help?” Cernan fell, trying to pick up the contingency tool.

“Nope. Well, I found how to get up!

“Did you fall down?”

“Well, this thing (the contingency tool),” Cernan said, breathing hard, “was in the mud down here. We’ll find out [if I can get up] in a minute…” He got up, using the Challenger’s landing gear strut for leverage, and came back to the Rover with the tool. “Okay, Jack. Got an “out” one here, huh?”


“Let me try to push it in. …Okay. Yours is in.”


“See if I can get mine in…”

“Want me to get it?” I asked.”

“Well, yeah. Can you reach it from there (leaning across the Rover)? …Just a nice firm [push]. …I’ll hold it (the tool) on it (the pin). …Almost, …a little more, …wait a minute. …Let me get it [placed directly on the pin]. Let me get it right.…Okay; push. …It’s in. It’s in.”

“Very good. Why don’t you put that (tool) between the seats?” I suggested. You never know when something like the tool might come in handy.

“Okay. Bob, they’re in,” Cernan reported. “Now where was I [in my Checklist]?” Cernan asked himself. “I got my fender, got the post, got to get the seat.” Each seat resembled the seat and back of a lawn chair with an open weave of wide nylon strips forming the bottom and back. A large fabric-walled stowage area lay beneath both seats. The backs merely had to be released from their Velcro hold-downs and manually lifted into position, an action that simultaneously raised the bottom and opened the stowage volume.

“Ready [to raise the center Console]?” I asked.

“I’m going to take it a little slower here in a minute,” Cernan replied.


“Just a little bit slower in a minute.”

“The blush is off the rose,” I agreed, referring to noticing some increase in my breathing rate. “Okay, your front [console restraining] pin is in. And both of mine are in.”

“Okay. I’ll look at them [in a minute]…”

“Not quite as easy as in the training building,” I noted, unnecessarily, as Cernan took a breather.

“Well, it’s a case of knowing how to play in one-sixth g, is what it amounts to. …Okay. …Okay. I’m ready on the [Console]…”

[The central Control and Display Console (CDC) provided readouts of heading, speed, distance traveled, and range back to the navigation initialization point based on the output of a directional gyroscope and four odometers on the wheel traction drives. We would re-initialize the gyroscope orientation each day, usually near the Challenger at the start of the days driving, using a Sun shadow device mounted at the top front of the Console. A toggle switch allowed us to drive the gyro so that the displayed heading was consistent with the Sun shadow at a particular time, based on time-of-day calculations done by Mission Control. Cernan also could view an indicator of roll angle mounted on the left side of the Console, next to the Heading Indicator. Luminous paint containing Promethium-147 illuminated all the necessary dials and labels.

A forward-back, left-right, T-handle controller centered in front of the Console and just ahead of an armrest provided driving control. Speed control came from moving the T-handle forward; turning control by tilting it left or right; and braking by moving it rearward. Forward or reverse on the traction drives could be selected through a switch on the middle of the back of the T-handle. The Console had attached handholds on either side we could grab, if necessary, for stability.

Indicators of battery (2) and wheel motor (4) status, as well as readouts of power levels and battery and motor temperatures, occupied the lower portion of the Console. Switches in that section also provided selection of front and/or rear steering and wheel drive as well as the ability to select different batteries and electrical buses as conditions warranted. Each of the two, 36 volt, 121 amp-hr, and 27 kg Eagle Pitcher silver-zinc-potassium hydroxide batteries in the front chassis section was tied to two of four electrical buses. The melting of 5.75 pounds (2.61 kg) of wax in two reservoirs provided heat sinks to cool the batteries in the drive control electronics (DCE, 3.5 lbs (1.59 kg)) and in the signal processing unit (SPU, 2.25 lbs (1.02 kg)) while in use. Mirrored radiators could be shaded and opened to space to cool and re-solidify the wax between EVAs.[11]]

“You locked [your Console restraining pin]?” asked Cernan

“Yeah. It’s locked,” I confirmed

“Let me get the seat down [and out of the way]. Okay. I got the console [pin on my side].”

“Okay; and I got the [T-] handle,” I said.

“Okay; mine’s pulled,” referring to one of the two pins that secured the Console during launch and landing.

“Mine’s pulled,” I added.

“Come on down, baby… There it comes. Stiff, but come on.”

“There it is,” I said as the Console rotated 90 degrees toward the rear and into position.

“Okay; make sure your T (-handle) locks.”

“I’m not [locked]. …You’re not all the way down yet, Gene.”

“Yeah, …I’m locked.”

“There you go,” I agreed.


“I’m locked and secured.”

Without comment, then, Cernan and I raised and locked the footrests in front of our seats. The Console, T-handle and footrests have internal latches that lock them permanently in place.

“Oh! Jack, I put a little piece of glass I picked up right by the Rover, here, [under the seat].”

“Yeah. Okay.”

“Just a little piece. I’m going to leave it right behind your footstool. It just sparkled at me. I had to pick it up. See that?”

“Okay, that’s yours: your sample for the day,” I said, kidding Cernan.

“I doubt that. Man, I tell you, zero g is a piece of cake if you – or [rather] one-sixth g – if you’d play it right.”

“Okay, Gene,” I said, reviewing items on the Cuff Checklist, “you’ve got fenders; your [hinge] pin was good. I checked that. I could see mine, too. Mine (hinge pins) are okay, and you’ll have to check your outside ones.”

“Okay. My two pins are good here.”

“Yeah. And mine are good.”

“This one isn’t quite flush. Almost, …it’s good,” he added as he pushed it again.

“I’m going to pull your flags,” I said, referring to locking pins keeping a mechanical caution flag and the attitude indicator from moving during launch and landing. “Oops, I bent that one [pin]… And your attitude indicator is free,” I added as I tossed the pins away.

“Man, look at that stuff go, will you? Went over that [crater]…”

“And, Jack,” Parker inserted, “this is Houston. Looks like your water temperature’s getting pretty high. You might want to go to INTERMEDIATE cooling or slow down or something. Looks like you’re getting a little warm.

“You hear them, Jack?”

“Yeah. I got it. Thank you, Bob.” I had not realized that I was getting warm, having been concentrating on setting up the Rover.

“Okay, Jack, get that [Rover deployment] cable [put away], because I tripped over it coming back.”

“Yeah. I’ll get it.”

“Let’s see,” Cernan also began to review his Cuff Checklist items. “Verify hinge pins and seal. Erect seat; seatbelt. Armrest is lowered. Pull T-handle. Console’s lowered. Tripod apex (deployment hardware) is gone, both sides. [Contingency] tool behind footrest; that’s done. Front hinge pins are in. Erect footrest. Extend front fenders; they’re down. …Verify batt[ery] covers are CLOSED. They are CLOSED. And let’s keep them clean. …Man, do these gloves fit good!” He would later change his mind about the glove fit as his knuckles rubbed and became increasingly raw.

“Okay,” acknowledged Parker, “and 17, you’re right on schedule.”

“Okay… Thank you, Bob. …Did you tell Captain America (Evans) we’re on the surface?” Cernan asked.

“Roger. We broke the news to him a while ago.”

“Okay; the next spacecraft to power-up is going to commence right now…”

“That takes care of that little job,” I said, having gathered the deployment tape and placed it under the Challenger. “How’s my cooling look now, Bob?”

“Rog. It’s come down quite a bit. You were eighty-six [degrees F], and now it’s down to seven five. Looks much better. We didn’t want you to sweat.”

“Well, I’m just a hot geologist; that’s all.”

“Or something,” Parker shot back. At this point, Cernan is getting ready to power up the Rover while I go back to the MESA to get a Hasselbald camera and take the first of four, color panoramas of the landing area, including the Challenger. This first panorama includes Quads III and IV and shows how things looked from just about 10 m feet away at the 4:00 o’clock position relative to the spacecraft landing direction. I had color film (Ektachrome 368) in my camera for these early documentation photographs, but will switch to black and white for later exploration activity.

“Somebody kicked dirt all over the MESA,” I complained, innocently, as I arrived to get the camera.

“Let’s see if there is any life in this here baby,” Cernan said. “…Getting up and on [the Rover].”

“Give me a yell when you start to go,” I requested, “and I’ll try to be sure to be there with the camera.”


“Big Bag is deployed,” I reported. Moving the Big Bag from the MESA to a hook on the inside of the ladder should have been done earlier after removing the thermal blankets; but I had delayed it in order to do my part in Rover deployment. Putting it on the ladder prepared the Big Bag for later use at the end of EVA-3 for transport into the cabin of samples too large for the standard Teflon sample bags. It ultimately contained about 100 pounds of samples.

“Well, the seat belt fits perfect,” Cernan reported.

“Shoot. I thought I was going to get to drive,” I countered. I trained to drive the Rover; however, there was no way that Cernan would have let anyone but himself drive other than a problem with his PLSS that would have forced us into one-man EVAs. Actually, this was fine with me, as it gave me more time to view the terrain over which we travelled.

“Man, I got so much dust over my visor already, I got to wipe it off. Get that lens brush; I want you to dust me off a little later, Jack.”

“The lens brush!?” I asked, incredulously. This fine, camel’s hair brush, now in the ETB, was far too small to have much effect on Cernan’s visor.

“Well, I’ve got to dust my visor off with something.”

“Roger,” acknowledged Parker. “Don’t use your glove or the dust brush.” The dust brush would be used as a coarse way to clear dust from the Rover battery covers, thermal radiators, the suits, and other large areas; but would probably scratch the visor surfaces.

“Okay; when I was bringing that… (Responding to Bob) No, we’ll use the lens brush, Bob,” insisted Cernan.

“Roger,” came the uncertain reply from Parker. I am not sure why this dust issue came up except that dust may have hit the visor when he fell, earlier. Cernan’s initial test drive would start with him looking into the Sun. Those were the only times I noticed a problem with dust on my visor in the same way that a dusty windshield obscures visibility when driving toward the Sun. About one percent of the lunar regolith has a particle size less than four microns (4/1000 of a millimeter).[12] This fine dust is electrostatically charged so that it adheres to the visor and other surfaces.

Rover Activation

“Okay. Let’s try to see if I can read in this [decal in the] Sun, now…” Cernan refers here to the Rover Operations Decal on the console. After checking the motion and central detent of the hand controller, Cernan then closed the four circuit breakers that apply 36 volt battery power to the four electrical buses. Putting battery power on the buses activated the console displays and all showed normal readings for battery temperatures, volts, amps, and amp-hours. Next came the breaker for the Auxiliary Power circuit for equipment that would be placed at the front of the Rover. Then, he closed two breakers for the Primary and Secondary 15 volt power supply that fed the Drive Control Electronics. Finally, he closed two breakers to enable Steering and four more to give for Drive Power.

After verifying the drive motors’ Pulse Width Modulator (PWM) switch was in the BOTH position, Cernan used the DRIVE ENABLE switches to put the forward motors on PWM-1 and the rear motors on PWM-2. Then, STEERING switches were placed with forward steering on BUS-A and rear steering on BUS-D. Finally, DRIVE POWER switches were used to put forward drive motors on BUS-A and rear motors on BUS-D. Should problems arise with this configuration, alternative power routing could be selected.

“ ‘Check hand controller.’ Let’s wipe it out a couple of times to make sure we got all the steering. She’s wiped out.” Cernan’s use of this expression “wipe it out” relates to the rapid, circular motion of the control stick to check proper movement of airplane control surfaces. “She goes Forward. …and she goes Reverse. She’s back in Forward…and she’s wiped out, …and she’s in Park. Reverse [switch] is down. Okay, …here we go. Stand by for life. It ought to be on this one. There’s life in this here baby. Beautiful!” We now could use the Rover’s full capability of four-wheel drive and front and rear steering. The Rover’s built-in, independent front and rear wheel suspension would provide stability on the valley’s irregular surface.

“I don’t know who’s responsible for packing this ETB,” I interjected, “but I think it was me. You didn’t by any chance pick up those scissors, did you?”

“No, sir.”

“They’re going to be hard to find, but I think we can do it.” The scissors constituted only a contingency tool during the EVAs; however, we needed them to cut open food packages in the cabin. As noted earlier, we had planned to have two scissors with us on the Moon, one inside and one outside the Challenger, but the as yet unexplained disappearance of Evans’ scissors on the way to the Moon left us with just one pair for use on the lunar surface that we had to transfer back and forth before and after each EVA.

“Well, they were right down there [below the porch],” Cernan recalled, “unless you picked them up. That’s exactly where the Rover tool was, too, and I picked it up, so they’re probably there. I didn’t see them though.”

“Okay. I got my camera,” I told him.

“All the breakers closed except Nav[igation],” Cernan said to himself. The Rover navigation system will be initialized when we leave the Surface Electrical Properties (SEP) transmitter site for our first exploration sortie some four hours later.

“The old 4 o’clock pan!” I said doing a very poor W.C. Fields impersonation as I went southeast of the Challenger to take a color panorama.

“Okay, Houston,” Cernan began his recitation of the Rover’s initial status. “Amp-hours. I’m reading 115. Amps are 0. Volts are 82 and 82. Batteries are…95 and 110 [degrees]. Forward motors are off-scale low [and] off-scale low; and Rears are off-scale low [and] off-scale low. …Houston, you with us?”

“Roger. We copy that.” Parker is usually quicker on the draw, sometimes too much so.

“Okay…” Cernan continues through the Decal list. “DRIVE ENABLE, Forward is going PRIME 1. Take it nice and easy. Rear going PRIME 2. And that [PWM switch] is BOTH; I know that. That’s [POWER switch] SECONDARY. Okay… Steering, go Forward to A. …Boy, it’s hard to see in that Sun. …And Rear to D…Rear to D. Drive Power Forward going to A. Now, I didn’t feel any Earth-shaking rumbles (vibrations) like I do in the trainer, but let’s see what happens. …Okay, Jack. I’m going to find out in a minute [if it works].” The one-g trainer, of course, had a very different control response in one g than this now less than 140 pound “dune buggy” in one-sixth-g.


“…Okay. Here we go. Okay,” and then, nervously, “the front…the right…the front wheels turn. I can’t see the rear ones.”

“I’ll verify them (the rear wheels turning) in a minute,” I said as I worked through the color panorama. (Fig. 10.3) Of course, as my camera pointing line changed with respect to the Sun direction, I changed the f-stop, accordingly, keeping the shutter speed at 1/250 of a second, I changed the f-stop to f-11 down Sun; f-8 cross Sun; and f-5.6 up Sun. These f-stops were the same for both the high-speed color Ektachrome 368 and the high-speed black and white film I would use more routinely for sample documentation. Black and white film provides more accurate photometric data on objects in an image than does color film.

Fig. 10.3. Part of my EVA-1’s 360° panorama that included the Challenger in the valley of Taurus-Littrow. Challenger’s illuminated Quad-III held the EVA Equipment Pallets, while the mostly shadowed Quad-IV contained the MESA (Fig. 10.1­­ ↑). The ladder from the Challenger’s front hatch and porch to the front footpad extends along the x-axis strut to the right of Quad-IV. Cernan and the Rover are not visible, because they still were positioned just opposite Quad-I on the other side of Challenger. The South Massif forms the right background. (NASA photos AS-147-22516, -17).

My first panorama of the Challenger in the valley of Taurus-Littrow was taken with a direct view of Quad-III where the EVA Equipment Pallets remained stowed, although with their thermal blankets exposed. The panorama shows Cernan’s trail out to a crater to the east that he initially believed was Poppie, but then that trail goes on to the actual Poppie just south of the spacecraft and then back to the Challenger. Also to the southwest of the spacecraft, strong traces of my activities during Rover deployment are visible. Our tracks are enhanced by the fact that darker, fine regolith particles at the surface were winnowed away near Challenger by the effuents from the Descent Engine. As we walked, darker materials were stirred up, accenting our tracks. This effect, of course, died away the farther we went from the Challenger. Recent images taken from the Lunar Reconnaisance Orbitor show this phenomenon very clearly. (Fig. 10.4)

Fig. 10.4. The Apollo 17 landing site as shown in a recent image taken by the Lunar Reconnaisance Orbitor Camera (LROC). The dark tracks in the image, also visible in the foreground of Fig. 10.3, resulted from Descent Engine effluents winnowing dark fine dust from less dark fragments at the surface of the regolith. Our walking and disturbance by Rover (LRV) wheels subsequently exposed the deeper, dark material. The Rover is parked in the dark spot near the right edge of the image a little more than 1/3 up from the bottom. The SEP transmitter site is in the middle of the perpendicular arms of the darkish cross above the LRV. The ALSEP deployment site is at upper left and the end of my tracks leading to it. The ALSEP site is marked by disturbance of the surface and my other tracks along the T-shaped geophone net. (NASA LROC image M168000580LR).


Taking this first panorama (NASA photos AS-147-22493 through 22521) finally gave me an opportunity to absorb this magnificent, fault-bounded valley called Taurus-Littrow reminiscent in some ways to glacially carved fjords I had worked within in Alaska and Norway. In those regions, a fjord “floor” consists of water, rather than rock debris on top of old lava flows, and fjord “walls” are U-shaped rather than having the constant slope of the sides of Taurus-Littrow.

The rounded knobs in the background west of the Challenger are Bear Mountain and the Family Mountain foothills of the eastern South Massif. Clockwise to the right are the South Massif, the Serenitatis end of the valley and Family Mountain, the North Massif with one well-defined boulder track, Wessex Cleft in dark shadow, the Sculptured Hills, the head or eastern end of the valley, the East Massif. A “raindrop” pattern on the surface shows clearly at this low Sun-angle in the foreground of the cross-Sun photographs. Also, around our footprints, dark regolith has been scuffed onto the surface.


I did not spend any time on the mission talking about the philosophical experience of being on the Moon. On January 22, 1973, however, I had the privilege of describing my impressions of Taurus-Littrow to the United States House of Representatives. My remarks about “A Valley on the Moon”, after six weeks of reflection, follow:

“I would like first to tell you about a place I have seen in the solar system. This place is a valley on the Moon, now known as the Valley of Taurus-Littrow. Taurus-Littrow is a name not chosen with poetry in mind; but, as with many names the mind’s poetry is created by events. Events surrounding not only three days in the lives of three men, but also the close of an unparalleled era in human history.

“The valley, however has been unchanged by being a name on a distant planet while change has governed the men who named it. The valley has been less altered by being explored than have been the explorers. The valley has been less affected by all we have done than have been the millions who, for a moment, were aware of its towering walls, its visitors, and then its silence.

“The Valley of Taurus-Littrow is confined by one of the most majestic panoramas within the view and experience of mankind. The roll of dark hills across the valley floor blends with bright slopes that sweep evenly upwards, tracked like snow, to the rocky tops of the Massifs. The valley does not have the jagged youthful majesty of the Himalayas, or of the valleys of our Rockies, or of the glacially symmetrical fjords of the north countries, or even of the now intriguing rifts of Mars. Rather, it has the subdued and ancient majesty of a valley whose origins appear as one with the Sun.

“The Massif walls of the valley rise to heights that compete well among other valleys of the planets; but they rise and stand with a calmness and unconcern that belies dimensions and speaks silently of continuity in the scheme of evolution. Still, the valley is not truly silent; its cliffs yet roll massive pages of history down dusty slopes; its bosom yet warms the valley floor and spreads new chapters of creation in glass and crystal; its craters yet act as the archives of their Sun.

“The valley has watched the unfolding of thousands of millions of years of time. Now it has dimly and impermanently noted man’s homage and footprints. Man’s return is not the concern of the valley…only the concern of man.”


“I can’t see the rear ones (wheels),” Cernan repeated, “but I know the front ones turn. And it (the Rover) does move. Hallelujah. Hallelujah, Houston! Challenger’s baby is on the roll.”

“Roger. Copy that. Sounds great,” acknowledged Parker.

And judging from the way it’s handling, I think the rear wheels are steering too.”

“That’s a first,” Parker blurted out. Initially, Apollo 15 had no front steering and Apollo 16 had no rear steering. After some use, both those Rovers recovered their full, 4-wheel steering. At any rate, Rovers could be operated without one or the other steering options, albeit with reduced steering response.

“What do you see, Jack?” Cernan asked as I tried to get sight of the rear wheels.

“Well, you’re [at the] wrong angle, …Yeah, they’re turning!” I finally confirmed.

How does that grab you?” Cernan asked, as he turned so I could view the rear wheels.

“They’re turning,” that is, the wheels are responding to steering commands.

“How about that,” Parker said in wonder.

“Come towards me, baby!” I called. “Looks like it’s moving.”

“Oh, boy…,” Cernan said as if something was wrong. “Keep moving…”

“Don’t run over me,” I requested, as he headed straight towards me. I noticed that the fenders, as designed, were deflecting the dust picked up by the wheel chevrons in a translucent stream directly down just ahead of each wheel.

“Don’t worry.”

“Man, if they don’t like this [photo]…” I said as I tried to get Cernan, the Rover and the Earth, (over the South Massif and elevated about 45 degrees) in the same frame.” Unfortunately, the frame includes everything except the Earth. (see Fig. 10.5)

“How’s that?”

“Let me move back. Okay?”

Fig. 10.5. The Apollo 17 Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV or Rover) during its test drive. Note the wire mesh wheels (see Fig. 10.2 ↑­­). Subsequently, exploration traverse equipment would be added on the rear and communications system and TV camera would be installed in the front. The mounting post for the Gate and Geo-Pallet shows to the left of Cernan’s right arm. See Fig. 10.23­­ for a view of the fully configured LRV. (NASA Photo AS17-147-22527).

“How’s the timeline, Bob?” Cernan asked.

“As far as I can tell, you guys are right on within a minute or two.”

“The Earth’s just a little high for me, Geno.”

“ Okay.”

“I’m not sure I can get it (the photo) without getting way away.”

“Okay. Don’t worry.”

“Somebody said it (Earth) was going to be just behind the South Massif,” I commented with a laugh.

“Okay. I’m going to take a little spin around here, and I’ll meet you at the front end [of Challenger],” Cernan declared.

“Okay.” I did not like wasting precious time particularly as Cernan was still trying to figure out where we had landed.

“Boy, there’s a lot of static, though, every time I start driving. …I know what that was over there, I think. Let me see. Whee!”

“Okay, Houston,” I called, beginning to make preliminary observations. “The basic material around the LM is just what I said: a fine-grained, medium-gray regolith-appearing material that has the standard seriate population [of fragments]… The craters, though, [that are] bigger than about a meter in diameter seem to get to [excavate] rock fragments…which I haven’t yet learned how to pick up [with just a gloved hand].” I was trying to get a feel for the area, building some personal experience on top of all the regolith hypotheses from Gene Shoemaker and others, as well as the experiences and photographs by previous astronauts. Craters larger than about three times the depth of the regolith at any given point should just be deep enough to extract bedrock fragments. Regolith compacted into rock by the pressure of impact, however, also surrounded some of the craters, so it would be necessary to get close enough to distinguish these “regolith breccias” from ejected bedrock .

When I began to talk about the valley’s geology, I tended dictate as if providing an oral record equivalent to field notes that others, including me, might later find useful in interpreting samples and photographs. When Cernan or Parker would ask a question or make a comment, I would reply in a more conversational tone.

“Okay, Jack. I’m going to give them our position here. I think I know exactly where we are now.”

Ignoring Cernan, I said to myself, “Well, once you get them (the rocks) dirty, just like the boys say, it’s hard to tell what they are.” The exposed surfaces of most rocks are clear of dust except where ejected regolith has accumulated in fractures and depressions.

“Okay, Houston. I’m parked right next to Barjea. And we (Challenger) are, …I guess, about 150 meters due west of Barjea. And that’s why we looked so close to Trident. I’m coming right up on Poppie. No question about where I am now. I’ve got Trident, and when I get up there, …we are abeam of Trident 1, just where I said we were. I’m right at Poppie. We’re about, oh, 100 meters just about due west of Poppie, which is almost in line with Barjea, of course; but basically [the Challenger is] on the [north-south] line, I think, between Rudolph and Trident 1. And, as I look at it in cross-section, about 100 meters north of Trident 1.”

“That’s the landing point?” I really did not care exactly where we were, as it was nothing to worry about, since our position relative to major features like Camelot was close enough to get started with our planned activities. Anyway, I had a personal problem that needed attention. The open-ended, rubber condom-like connection between me and the UCD (Urine Collection Device) had become way too tight. This possibly was because of blood shifting downward in one-sixth g after shifting toward my head in zero g and may indicate the beginning of physiological readaption. Standing behind the Challenger, I finally and painfully forced a lot of urine through the condom and into the UCD, but I found out after the EVA that I had broken a few capillaries in the process. The solution to this problem of undersized connections will be described later. “Sure get dirty fast,” I said after finally getting relief.

“Jack, that is Trident right here that we walked over to.”

“I just got my first initiation to getting very dirty,” I said, laughing, obviously feeling better, and still ignoring Cernan’s fixation as I fell trying to pick up a rock with my gloved hand.

“You sure did,” Cernan confirmed.

“Where are you?” I asked. “Are you ready to go [to work]?”

“I’m coming right around the front [of the LM] now. Houston, did you get that position?”

“Roger,” responded Parker. “We copied that, Geno.”

“And Bob, I’m…I’m…I’m very firm of that now. I’m almost positive, unless I’m awfully mistaken about Trident. I don’t see how I could be from here.”

“At the sacrifice of my cleanliness, Houston,” I said, going forward on my hands to observe the local boulders projecting from the regolith, “the basic light-colored rock type in the area looks very much like a cristobolite gabbro of the…,” I said, pausing because I had forgotten which mission had collected the cristobolite-bearing, coarse-grained basalt (It was Apollo 11.). “I didn’t see cristobolite (a high-temperature form of SiO2), but it looks like the gabbros in the mare basalt suite, [that is,] the coarse-grained clinopyroxene-plagioclase rocks.” The crystals in these rocks are on the order of one millimeter in size and easily visible and identifiable based on having seen them in samples from Apollos 11, 12 and 15.

“Okay. We have that,” said Parker.

[If I could do my descriptions over, I probably would not have used the term “gabbro”. I am sure that at first it caused confusion among geologists in the Science Back Room of Mission Control; but what I was trying to convey was the fact that the rocks I had seen so far were coarser grained versions of the mare basalts than had been sampled at other landing sites. I had spent a lot of time in the Lunar Receiving Laboratory (LRL), looking at the lunar sample collection, particularly those collected by Neil Armstrong at Apollo 11’s Tranquility Base, 600 km south and 200 km west of Taurus-Littrow. In leading the writing of the Introduction to the Proceedings of the First Lunar Science Conference,[13] I included an analysis of the hand specimen petrography of Armstrong’s suite of samples, that is, what the rocks and their minerals looked like under about 10× magnification. USGS Geologist, Robert Sutton, and I had made another, unpublished study of the basalt samples returned by Apollo 12’s Pete Conrad and Alan Bean in relation to the depth of impact craters that ejected them.[14]

Gabbro is a coarse-grained rock of basaltic composition, but geologists normally use the term in the context of igneous rocks that crystallized at depth rather than near the surface. “Coarse-grained basalt” would have been a better term to use in the field; however, once all the samples and other data from Taurus-Littrow had been examined, it appears that the subfloor basalt partially filling the valley may have cooled as a single unit over one kilometer thick. Thus, the interior of the unit had indeed crystallized slowly and crystals of plagioclase and pyroxene grew larger than in most of the mare basalts sampled elsewhere.]

“Jack, I’m going to park. …How about alongside [the MESA]? …Am I gonna screw up that little crater with glass in it if I park there?”

“Well, we will [screw it up] eventually.”

“Well, there’s that one anyway. Let me park right here.”

“I’m sure we’ll find some more,” I assured him. These glass-bottomed, small impact craters were the youngest class of impact craters. Their coherent, amoeboid pools of glass and light-colored crater rims would not last long under the slow, geologically speaking, continuous rain of micrometeors.

“Yep. …Where you been?” Cernan asked, laughing at how dirty I had become since he last saw me.

“I fell down!” I explained, unnecessarily.

“Okay, that’s about close enough [to the MESA]. Isn’t it?”


“Okay, she (the brake) is locked. Here, let me get the 15-volt supply [OFF].” Locking the brake might seem a little strange; however, if power somehow went to the drive motors, we might not be able to catch a run-a-way Rover.

“I think this camera is probably a little dirty on the lens.” The Hasselblad had been attached to the front of my RCU when I fell forward, so I was afraid the lens had hit the surface of the regolith.

“Okay, Houston. We’re parked.”

Taking the camera off, I looked at it closely and said, “No. The lens is okay.”

“When you uncover one of those lens brushes, I want to use it on my visor. …Oh boy!. …It just takes a little getting used to the one-sixth g, Jack,” Cernan said as he struggled to learn how to dismount the Rover.

“I want to put this camera over here [on the MESA] right now,” I told Cernan, “because it’s pretty dirty to put back in that bag.”

“Okay, get to work.”

“Roger. We copy that guys,” interjected Parker. “You’re about 7 minutes behind right now.” Cernan’s preoccupation with the exact landing point had cost us.

Rover Equipment Installation

“ ‘LRV front configure.’ Whoops! …Hold it,” Cernan said while again recovering his balance.

“What!?” I said, responding to Parker. “Okay, we’ll catch up. …I haven’t quite learned how to pick up rocks in my hands yet, Bob, or I would’ve had you a sample. That’s why I fell down. …My day will come,” I sang to the tune of Jamie Cullum’s Our Day Will Come on the way over to Challenger’s Quad-III to retrieve the Geo-Pallet. Manik Talwani’s Traverse Gravimeter Experiment (TGE)[15] was attached to the Geo-Pallet.

“Ho! Ho! It’s an old blue Traverse Gravimeter!” I exclaimed, feigning surprise, as I removed the Geo-Pallet’s protective insulation. The portable TGE would be taken off the Rover at most exploration stations, set on the ground on as level a spot as possible, turned on, and then given time to level automatically before getting a precise reading of local acceleration due to gravity. Once we had gravity measurements across the valley, they could be analyzed to give an estimate of the thickness of the relatively dense subfloor material for comparison with the thickness and structure of the subfloor derived from Robert Kovach’s active seismic experiment (Lunar Seismic Profiling Experiment), discussed below.

“Okay,” Cernan commented, looking around again. “On the plains of Taurus-Littrow. What a valley. I’d like to cut through here, with a T-38, sometime.”

“That’ll be the day,” I responded, trying to sound like John Wayne.

“Yeah, it will.”

“Whoa there,” as I stumbled again carrying the Geo-Pallet around the Challenger.

You never know,” Cernan mused. But in this case, you know that airplanes will not fly over the airless Moon. “ ‘Install LCRU; lock posts’; I’ll get that. Okay. That’s the next big hooker (open issue), the LCRU.” Cernan moved over to the MESA to unstow the Lunar Communications Relay Unit (LCRU, pronounced “la-crew”). It contained the electronics necessary to give the Rover a functioning VHF and S-Band communications system and to operate the color television camera.

Measuring 6 × 12 × 18 inches, the LCRU mounted on locking posts in the front of the Rover – hardly a bumper we would like to hit. For cooling, it had a mirror that radiated heat to deep space. While driving, we covered the radiator with a hinged, fabric dust flap; however, frequent brushing of dust off the radiator as well as off the dust flaps was necessary to prevent overheating. As will be noted later, brushing dust off dust covers, radiators and suits used up far more time than we had anticipated. Fortunately for my geological observations and sampling planning, Cernan was responsible for most of this dusting.

“Okay, Geo-Pallet’s off the LM,” I reported. The Geo-Pallet would be attached to the Geo-Post on the rear of the Rover. In addition to the TGE, the Geo-Pallet also held our geological tools. These included the sampling scoop (my favorite tool for work with the regolith), as well as the gnomon for calibrating photographs, a geology hammer, two sets of self-gripping sampling tongs, two identical extension handles to attach to various tools, my Rover “Dixie Cup” sampler, and six large Sample Collection Bags (SCBs). SCBs would be attached to the outboard side of our PLSSs and would serve to hold collected samples. The rear-facing portion of the Geo-Pallet consisted of a gate that opened counterclockwise and served both to keep tools from working loose and as a place to temporarily hang frequently used equipment.

The spring-loaded, three-legged contraption called a “gnomon” provided geometric and photometric control of photographs in which its image was included. By means of a central gimbal, a 44 cm long vertical rod would seek the local vertical when the gnomon was set on the ground. This rod also would provide a shadow on the ground, giving a rough azimuth for the image’s line-of-sight relative to the Sun. A standard gray scale had been painted on the rod for black and white photometric calibration. Also, one leg of the gnomon had an attached plate with both color and gray scales.

“You know, you just got to take it easy until you learn to work in one-sixth g,” Cernan said, again.

“Well, I haven’t learned to pick up rocks,” I joked, “which is a very embarrassing thing for a geologist.”

“Yeah, I look like an elephant stumbling around here… Careful with the LCRU,” Cernan said to himself. “One dust cover came off. Careful with this baby. …That’s the real one [not the training LCRU], …Boy, you sure move that Rover around when you do that,” referring to my work on attaching the Geo-Pallet on the back of the Rover.

“Hey! The Geo-Pallet is locked on [the Rover’s Geo-Post],” I exclaimed, as I removed the handrails I used to carry it. “I’m getting pretty good at throwing things, already,” I commented as I flicked the handrails away.

“Man, that thing won’t want to go on.” Cernan complained as he struggled to connect the Television Control Unit’s (TCU) power cable to the LCRU. …That’s because it’s not in there,” continuing to talk to himself. “Put it in right, and it goes on. …Okay, the power cable’s on the TCU, Bob.” He had already, more quietly, placed the TCU in a locking collar attached to the front of the Rover’s right-hand battery case.

“TGE (Traverse Gravimeter Experiment) is ON,” I reported, from the back of the Rover. “[Display reads] 22… Oh, you just want the last ones (numbers). Okay, 07. …God,” I exclaimed, laughing, as I looked at the next page of my Cuff Checklist, “the dirtiest checklist in the world!”

“Doesn’t take long, does it? Doesn’t take long. …Manischewitz, look at that go!” Cernan said as he threw some packing away. “Did you see that?” In using the word “Manischewitz”, he was recalling a well-known ad campaign for a mass-produced wine that used the catch phrase “Man, oh, Manischewitz, what a wine!” This substituted for the swearing that had plagued him on Apollo 10.

“I wish you’d be more careful [what you throw away].”


“No, no, no! Not the television camera!” I pretended that Cernan was about to throw the TV camera, kidding Ed Fendell at the INCO (Instrumentation and Communications Command) console in the MOCR. Fendell would operate the camera remotely while we worked in the vicinity of the Rover.

“Okay,” Cernan agreed, feigning reluctance to agree not to throw the TV camera.

“It’s warm out here, you know? I’m certainly glad I got cooling,” I stated.

“Okay, the TCU is locked in.”

“Houston,” I started, taking a short breather. “I’ve seen an awful lot of rocks, as I work here. They look just like those pyroxene gabbros that I mentioned. The pyroxene’s iridescent in the bright Sun. The grain size is about…oh…between…Maybe the mean is 2 millimeters with max maybe up at 3 or 4. And it looks like predominantly a pyroxene-plagioclase rock…[that is,] clinopyroxene; but I haven’t looked at it real closely…” It turned out that Ca-pyroxene made up about half the volume of the rocks on the valley floor with Ca-plagioclase constituting about one-quarter and ilmenite about one-sixth.

“Okay, Jack. I’ll set the rake on the…seat.” The rake constituted an important tool for sampling the regolith.

“Beautiful.” The rake was stowed in the MESA, and eventually I would attach it to one of the extension handles and put it in a bracket on the gate of the Geo-Pallet. Cernan needed to move it from the MESA to get to the Low Gain S-Band antenna he would mount on his Rover Console handhold.

“I just haven’t learned,” Cernan said, “…I’m getting more finesse now. I think you can overwork yourself, instead of making use of the one-sixth gravity.”

“Yeah,” I agreed.

“It’s going to take a whole EVA to get familiar.”

“Well, I hope it doesn’t,” I countered. “I find I’m using my arms almost as much as I ever did. I remember the last time I was on the Moon,” I joked, “about 2 hours ago. …Okay, guess what? That old hammer goes to the gate top…the blue-handled hammer. What more could you want?” Cernan would later put the hammer in his lower left pocket.

“Okay, Bob. I’m getting the Low Gain [antenna] out now.” The Low Gain would serve as a communications link to Earth during driving. Pointing it roughly toward the Earth could be done by hand as the Rover changed heading, significantly. At each major station, we would point the High Gain S-Band Antenna right at the Earth to get the bandwidth needed for TV.

“Felt like a Rover, huh, Geno, [when you powered up]?”

“Beautiful. I just couldn’t feel it murmur [as in training] when I pressed the breakers in. I could see life in it [on the gauges], but…”

“Hey, you let me down, sport,” I interrupted with my W.C. Fields impersonation. “You let me down. There’s a [Rover deployment] pin you didn’t pull.”

“Okay, I’ll let you get that; keep you honest,” Cernan retorted.

“Not only keep me honest…[but keep me working]. There… Okay. Where am I [on the checklist]?” I asked myself, having taken the sampling tongs to the floor pan in front of my seat and put the extension handles in the retention clips on the gate. Next, the Cuff Checklist listed that it was time to get the gnomon from its MESA stowage.

“Gnomon’s an island,” I punned, referring to the familiar and often used phase “No Man is an Island”.[16] “Actually, up here, it’s a geometric reference for photogrammetry,” I continued, putting a nerdy context to this device. I retrieved the gnomon from the MESA, and its travel bag from under Cernan’s seat, folded the gnomon’s three legs into the bag, and hung them from the back of his seat.

“Would you believe that the doggone (Low-Gain) antenna [is stuck in this case]… Here; Jack, when I bend this, pull the antenna [out].”

“Rather awkward [stowage],” I noted, arriving back at the MESA.

“Pull the antenna,” Cernan repeated. “I got to open it (the packing) up to get it out.”

“The [LCRU] connector, you mean?” I asked.

“Yeah, connector is wedged in there.”

“Well, that’s probably the way it was designed,” I concluded with a laugh.”

“Boy, don’t drop any of those connectors on the [surface] – Look at that [packing] go! – in the dust. We’ll never clean them out.”

“Dum dee, dum dum dum. Good thing we’re well coordinated human beings,” I said, facetiously, as we both were fumbling with doing things while wearing pressure gloves. Tens of millions of years of primate evolution and we can barely use our hands, much less our opposable thumbs.

“Man, I can’t believe [installing this antenna is so hard]… Yeah, I can.”

“Okay, let’s see,” I said, laughing as I tried to clip the big dust brush in its stowage spot on the front of the LCRU. “Do it right, now,” I ordered myself.”

“Yeah, I can,” Cernan repeated.

“See that?” I asked, pointing to where the brush would be clipped.

“Yeah. …Which way are you going to put it on?”

“Well, I thought maybe I would put it on that way; so I will put it on this way, because that’s probably right.”

“If you put it on right, you’re going to disappoint me,” Cernan kidded.

“Oh, I hate to touch…I touched the old gnomon!” Impossible as it would be to avoid, I hated to get dust on the color and gray scale references painted on the gnomon. “I’ll do my best to clean [it]. Ray Batson will…will never forgive me.” As the lead photogrammetrist for the USGS group supporting the field geology effort, Batson had come up with the basic design of this instrument.[17] Using the computers of the day, and much more easily today,[18] the information from the image of the gnomon in a stereo pair of Hasselblad photographs could be used to create topographic and photometric maps of the area covered by the stereo pair, usually a sample location.

“Okay, Bob the Low-Gain is…hooked up.”

“Okay. We copy the Low-Gain hooked up,” Parker responded.

“Da, da-da doe!” I sang as a fanfare. “The rake is on the extension handle. …My kingdom for a scoop,” I said, butchering a line from Shakespeare’s Richard III while reaching for the sampling scoop on the Geo-Pallet. “The scoop is on the extension handle. Different extension handles of course.” The two extension handles with attached scoop and rake would be carried attached to the gate so as to be readily accessible.

“Go ahead Bob. Were you calling?” Cernan asked. He had been unfolding the High Gain Antenna and attaching it next to the left front battery.

“Roger,” Parker came back. “And your exuberance is showing up on the BTUs. You’re running a little high on those.”

“Okay.” Cernan’s heart rate had reached about 135 bpm and mine had stayed between 100 and 110.

“Exuberance!” I exclaimed. “I’ve never been calmer in my life…”

“We’ll take it easy, Bob. I think it’s a great deal a part to just get accustomed to handling yourself in zero gravity.”

“The only vise on the Moon,” I punned again as I attached a vise to the top of the Geo-Pallet. After obtaining the deep core at the ALSEP site, the vise would be used to loosen the various drill stem sections from each other.

“Rog,” Parker came back but slower on the draw than usual to note that Cernan had misspoken. “I thought you were at one-sixth g.”

“Well, you know where we are,” Cernan replied, maybe a little annoyed at Parker’s nit picking.

“Whatever,” I said, in sympathy with Cernan, and then continued. “Okay, old sample bag…Sample Containment Bag…[I mean]. Sample Collection Bag [number 2], or whatever [it is called], is going [on the gate].” …Then, as I puzzled over the SCB attachment, I started to sing again, “What is this thing called crazy,” to the tune of Cole Porter’s What Is This Thing Called Love. “…Come on… Okay, that’s there. Some of the simplest things in the world you forget. …Okay, let’s get this right this time. …You did a great job of parking, so [that] I was standing in a hole.”

“Don’t want to mess up all those good looking craters around here,” Cernan replied.

“Oop! Hang on there, accessory staff. Accessory staff, huh? Most staffs are accessory, I’ve learned,” punning about human staffs in this instance. I had taken SCB-3 around to my side of the Rover to attach it and the photomaps’ accessory staff to my handhold on the center console. This SCB will be used to hold the samples I would take with the Rover sampler along our traverses. A Velcro strap that had previously been attached to the LCRU, and now to the Low Gain Antenna cable, will hold the SCB’s cover open.

“Okay, Bob the High-Gain (antenna) is up and connected.”

Okay. Copy that. Beautiful.” When open, the gold mesh High-Gain Antenna dish will look like an inverted umbrella. The Antenna has an open sight, aligned with its axis, to aid in centering the antenna beam on the Earth.

“And raised,” that is, extended on its central shaft but not yet fully open. “[TV] Cable is Velcroed to staff. …See if I can’t get you a TV camera.” Cernan referred to retrieving the RCA color wheel camera from its MESA stowage slot.

“We’re waiting with breathless anticipation,” overstated Parker.

“Ah, let’s keep them in [suspense],” I suggested.

“Well, how’s my cooling doing? I’d like to stay on INTERMEDIATE, Bob. I feel pretty comfortable. I’m not cold but I’m pleasant.”

“Pleasant? He thinks he’s pleasant?” I kidded.

“You’re fine, no problem; your option, Geno,” Parker assured him after getting thumbs up from Bill Bates and Ray Zedekar and the PLSS and EVA consoles, respectively.

“Okay, I just don’t want to run out of consumables (oxygen and cooling water) about 6 or 7 hours [into the EVA],” Cernan said.

“You’re about as [pleasant]…oh well,” I said, finally thinking better of pursuing this line of kidding. “I don’t think it makes any difference [on the cooling]. You got to lose (reject) the heat. Matter of fact, that’s one of the little known facts of this business, Gene.” Actually, it was a well-known engineering fact of life in space as I was implying by saying the opposite. Thermal control constituted one of the most important engineering challenges in spaceflight operations.


With my frequent, seemingly unrelated banter as I worked around the Challenger and the Rover – feigned surprise at finding equipment where I knew it was stowed, punning frequently, and singing paraphrased song lines – I apparently was operating on an emotional high. I even, almost, had lapsed into making what I thought were friendly insults, a cultural characteristic of my generation of young scientists but hardly something to impose on others, as I had just come close to doing with Cernan. Nervousness did not figure into my conversation, as I immensely enjoyed and felt very comfortable with the work.


“Okay, here we go. Coming up. I’ve got the TV camera in my hand, Bob,” Cernan reported as he headed back to the Rover from the MESA and looked toward the South Massif. “Oh, man. Hey, Jack, just stop. You owe yourself 30 seconds to look up over the South Massif and look at the Earth!”

“What? The Earth?” I responded with mock confusion as if I had forgotten it was out there.

“Just look up there,” Cernan commanded.

“Ah! You seen one Earth, you’ve seen them all.” Because of his “intestinal discomfort”, that is, space sickness, Cernan had missed enjoying three days of Earth views on the way to the Moon. My statement, initially meant to be humorously dismissive of Cernan’s sudden realization that the Earth was hanging over the South Massif, became increasingly factual as I said it. By his subsequent, post-mission statements on this, Cernan appears to not understand I believed that the scientific, philosophical, and spiritual emotions of seeing the Earth above the Moon are not mutually exclusive. My seeming off-hand statement, by the way, later became part of a popular environmentalist poster. Indeed, from a Solar System point of view, if you see “one Earth” you have seen them all. That is not to say that there are not untold Earth-like planets around other Sun-like stars in our Galaxy and beyond.

“No you haven’t, babe,” Cernan responded very seriously, not understanding my attempt at combined humor and fact. “When you begin to believe that… Come on camera, go in there.”

More responsively, I said, “I’ll look in a minute, Gene. But I tell you, once I start this little operation, if I don’t finish it, it never gets done.” Getting the SCB, the assessory staff, and the surplus LCRU strap to cooperate always was difficult with pressure gloves on.

“Okay, [camera,] get in there,” Cernan ordered.” Okay, that’s in there. That’s in there. Camera is locked down… ‘[TV to] TCU; Sunshade to [TV] camera’ and then the Cable [to the TV]. Okay, let me get the Sunshade…”

“Whoo!” I finally exclaimed, “That’s always more of a job than it ought to be. However, SCB-3 is on the handhold…”

“I think I’m getting smarter about one-sixth g,” Cernan again asserted.

“That gate works great!” I informed Cernan. “Snaps in, snaps closed with the slightest flick of a coordinated wrist. Where is that [CDR Hasselbald] camera anyway? Oh, it’s over here [on the MESA]. …Oh, boy. [I can] just still barely see the scissors [in the dust].”

“We ought to get those,” Cernan suggested, “before we go hungry.”

“I’m not sure I can,” observing that they were directly under the ladder and forward landing strut and not easily reached by kneeling in the pressure suit.

“Okay, don’t. …We’ll get them (scissors) when we get the tongs out, Jack.”

“Yeah. There are some tongs in the Rover, and I’ll come over and get them in a minute.” Meanwhile, I take his Hasselblad camera from the MESA over to his Rover seat, along with the ETB containing the film magazines.

“Roger, Challenger,” Parker acknowledged. “And we refrained from mentioning that [problem with the scissors] to Ron.”

“Tell him I hope he’s enjoying our scissors,” Cernan answered and then continued, “Okay, Bob, the TV is connected to the TCU, electrically. The Sunshade is on [the lens]. I’ve got to deploy the High-Gain [dish]. Now…Well let’s see how smart you are, [Gene]… That was a pretty good attitude you parked [the Rover] at,” Cernan said, complementing himself. “Jack, is the High-Gain [pointed] away from my [PLSS] antenna? Can you see?” Cernan’s concern is that his PLSS antenna will stick into the High-Gain Antenna dish when he unfolds it.

“Let me turn around…ah… Yes; you’re clear.”

“Okay, it’s locked [and] locked,” Cernan confirmed that the dish had locked in place. “Now let me see if I can find the beautiful big dot up there. I know what I’m going to have to do. I’m going to have to get the [Earth in the sight]. …Oh, I got it right there! Might be able to peak that [a bit], but I got that.” The configuration of the antenna and viewfinder made finding the Earth easiest if the Rover were pointed northeast, toward the Sculptured Hills. For any given illumination phase, the Earth is about four times larger in area than a comparable Moon viewed from Earth, so it makes a fairly large target. One does not sense this difference in size, however, due to the lack of any other familiar visual references for comparison, like houses, power poles, trees, and the like. Basically, the Earth looks like a blue and white Moon.

“You hit (found) it, huh?”

“Put my hand over it [for shade], so I could see it.”

“Hey,” I said, on a new subject, “that’s an interesting problem. Your seat [bottom] won’t stay up.

“How about that piece of Velcro there?”

“That’s just what I’m working on. There. Great minds think alike. …Okay, that [film] goes in there…”

“The trouble is to reach it (the viewfinder), I’ve got to [stand near the wheel]…”

“Okay,” working on my own tasks, “I’ll bet you, it (the Checklist) says put Mag Bravo [on the CDR camera]…”

“Oh, Earth is [already] in the circle,” Cernan confirms and then goes back to his Cuff Checklist. “ ‘Check LCRU. Deploy LCRU whip antenna’ “. This antenna would pick up our PLSS VHF transmissions for relay through either the Low or High-Gain S-Band antennas. When we worked near the Challenger, as we were doing at this point, INCO in Mission Control will pick either the LCRU or the Challenger for relay, depending on which gives the best signal. “Okay. [Thermal] Blankets open 100 percent… Come on, baby, open. Come on. There it goes. …Oh, are those mirrors nice. I hope they stay that way for a while… They won’t… I know John [Young] and Charlie [Duke] know exactly what we’re talking about.”

“Mark my words!” I added, knowing dust on the mirrors would be a continuing problem.

“Okay, I’m going to close the [LCRU] circuit breaker, Bob,” Cernan reported. “Okay, circuit breaker is CLOSED.” The LCRU has its own control panel that Cernan is now configuring by the Checklist.

“Power switch is INTERNAL. Okay, let me give you some numbers. AGC (Automatic Gain Control or signal strength) is about 3.4; TEMP is about 1.8 (equivalent to about 61º F with limits of 35-125º); and POWER is about 2.1 (equivalent to about 28.2v with limits 26-32v). Okay; Power to EXTERNAL.” The LCRU uses internal battery power for this checkout; however, by going to EXTERNAL, power would come from the much more capable Rover batteries.

“We got those [read-outs], Geno,” acknowledged Parker.

“Okay, Power is EXTERNAL,” Cernan verified. “Mode Switch is going to 2 – FM/TV. …Man, did you peak out at signal strength of 4.0! I can’t see right now, but I think I’ve still got you (Earth) right in the center [of the sight]… Power switch on the TCU (Television Control Unit). Okay, it’s ON – [that is,] the TCU. Okay, AGC (Automatic Gain Control) and Power. Yes sir, Bob, I’m verifying [signal strength] at four-oh. That’s a good Navy term, ‘four-oh’ on the AGC.” Navy jargon uses grades of “oh” to “four-oh” with the latter meaning “perfect”. “…And the TV is all yours…”

“Roger. Have you got a power reading there for us, Geno?” Parker really wanted a voltage reading. This request was for the power supplied by the Rover batteries, but was not called for on the Checklist.

“Okay, I’ll give you a power reading [on] EXTERNAL, if you want it. …I’ll give you… Temp is still about 1.7 (59º) and Power is about 1.8 (27.6v) on EXTERNAL.”

“Hey, we have a picture, Seventeen! We have a picture.

[The Mission Operations Control Room (MOCR) now could watch some of our activities on a huge TV screen on the front wall of the room. Unfortunately, there had been no guidance provided to the TV camera remote controller, Ed Fendell, on what his viewing priorities should be. I am surprised that we did not address this issue during planning for Apollo 15, as the TV would help keep track of samples and experiment placement.

On balance, Fendell obtained a great amount of useful and interesting TV. Too often, however, he would leave viewing what we were doing to just look at other things of interest. Apparently, no one, including the Flight Director, tried to set up such priorities when it was clear that much was being missed as our EVAs progressed.]

“You have [TV]? Ah, beautiful, babe. It’s all yours. I hope it moves now.” As its first image, the TV transmitted a view of Bear Mountain to the south of Challenger. Bear Mountain is the name of a mountain visible to the north of my home just outside Silver City, New Mexico, that resembles a bear sleeping on its back.

“It does,” confirmed Parker as Fendell took charge of moving the camera.

“I hope it moves,” Cernan said, again, looking away. “You’ll find out…”

“Hey, it moves! It’s alive!” I yelled.

“Okay, Bob, I’m going to get SRC-1,” Cernan reported.

[Machined from a single block of aluminum by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the SRCs (Sample Return Containers) or “rock boxes” had an outside dimension of 40 × 30 × 20 cm. They included a recessed track around the opening that contained soft indium metal that would be penetrated by a knife-edge around the inside of the lid. This arrangement, hopefully, would provide a vacuum seal to protect the samples from most atmospheric contamination when returned to Earth. O-rings outside the Indium-filled groove provided an additional seal. The design specifications for the SRCs initially required the preservation of at least a 10-6 torr vacuum (versus the 10-12 lunar surface vacuum); however, it proved very difficult to prevent dust from our gloves getting on the indium surface once its protective tape was removed prior to closing. All but one of the boxes from the Apollo missions leaked before being opened in the Lunar Receiving Laboratory at the Manned Spacecraft Center. Examination of lunar gases also found in the Earth’s atmosphere, however, would be the only analyses compromised by the leaks.]

Okay, could we have a EMU (Extravehicular Mobility Unit, that is, the space suit and PLSS) check on you fellows when convenient?” This was a previously agreed to code for “slow down”.

“Okay. Commander is 3.8 [psi] plus. I must be 80 percent [oxygen remaining] and no [warning] flags and no [warning] tones.”

“Okay, LMP is about 80 [oxygen]. …Let me see [make that] 75. …About 80 percent, and no flags, no tones… I got 83 percent,” I said, finally taking a more careful look at the oxygen gauge.

“Okay, copy that. And you’ve sure got a lot of stuff on the Rover already,” Parker said, unnecessarily, as we had described everything we were doing.

“Yeah,” I acknowledged. “Mag Helen has just gone into (under) the seat.” At this point, I began to use women’s names to identify the film magazines rather than the normal Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, etc. “…Mag Cynthia is in there…” Prior to putting the Hasselblad film magazines under the seat, I had attached Cernan’s camera to my RCU so that I could use two hands to put color Mag Bravo on the camera. After removing the dark slide, I fired off a couple of frames to get the film away from any light contamination and set the camera in Cernan’s foot pan in preparation for some later documentation photos. Most importantly, photographs on this roll would include the flag of the United States of America flying in the valley of Taurus-Littrow.

“Okay, Bob, SRC-1 is open.” Gene set aside SCB-1 on the MESA. This bag had been stowed in the SRC. Later, he will attach SCB-1 to the Rover gate.

“[Magazine] Gail is in [the seat],” I said, adding it to the Sun Compass, Duct Tape, lens brushes, 500 mm Hasselblad camera, and, temporarily, my own Hasselblad. All of these items came out of the ETB along with the maps and their holder. I put the maps and holder over on my seat until I could attach them to the accessory staff. Finally, I put the Buddy SLSS behind Cernan’s seat before taking the ETB back to the MESA.

“Jack, watch these SRCs. They don’t like to lock on this [MESA] table very well.”

“They never have,” I responded, remembering similar problems with locking down the rock boxes we used in training.

“Okay, and Jack,” Parker asked, “did you get Mag…Charlie as well?” Parker had not picked up on my use of “Cynthia” instead of Charlie. It was good to catch him and Zedekar once in a while.

“That’s affirm.”

“Okay. And we did not copy your cuff gauge reading (suit pressure) down here.”

“Oh, you didn’t? Well, maybe that’s because I didn’t give it to you…3.9 [psi]. No wonder that’s so much work.” I joked, as the difference in stiffness between 3.8 and 3.9 would be hard to detect. The suit pressures we reported were still high relative to the planned 3.7 psi, but would gradually bleed down.

“Bob, SRC-1 is… She sure won’t stay in (on) the MESA very [securely]. …There, let me try that. Okay, that will stay there,” Cernan finally concludes. “Okay, Bob. It’s (SRC-1) closed. It sure doesn’t seem like it wants to stay there (closed), though. And the Organic Sample has been sealed.” The Organic Sample contains rolls of very clean Aluminum metal to act as a control for measuring the level of contamination that might have entered the boxes after they had been cleaned and stowed for launch and until we opened them on the Moon. Sample analysis investigators then would have a means of determining the level, if any, of terrestrial contamination of the returned samples.

“I guess you believe we’re here now, huh?” Cernan commented after seeing the TV camera move.

“Now we believe you’re here,” Parker affirmed. “We see you in person.” I must be learning to be more careful or was not listening, because I didn’t give Parker a hard time about him NOT being here.

“Okay. Bob,” Cernan reported, “the SRC cover will not stay closed. It just slowly springs up [from hinge memory]. There’s nothing I can seem to do for it. I might be able to set something – a [MESA thermal] blanket – on top or something.”

“Okay, stand by on that. We’ll get back with you.”

“Yeah, it just flops open. I’m taking SCB-1 to the Tool Gate. …I’ll get me a hammer, and I’ll give you a gravimeter reading.” This would be a reading with the TGE mounted on the Rover.

“No, you won’t [take a gravity reading].” I was still moving the Rover by stowing of the Buddy SLSS behind Cernan’s seat.

“Not until you’re done,” admitted Cernan. “I’ll go get the [U.S.] flag [out of the MESA] then. …Guess what? We’re here again…”

“The Buddy SLSS is on the Rover,” I said… “CDR’s camera film magazine – I had to work on a little bit to get it to work, but it’s working… If I get that (Cernan’s) camera [off the seat], you can punch the gravimeter, I think.”

“Okay. Get the camera, and I’ll give them a gravimeter reading… Is that all you need? Because I’ll go get the (U.S.) flag.”

“Okay, you’d better let that…yeah, but why don’t…when you go…” I had too many thoughts going through my brain. “Let me get some tongs, too, [off the gate]. We need to salvage those scissors.”

“Okay. Let me steady the Rover and punch (the gravimeter button). Okay, Bob. MARK, Gravimeter [GRAV button pushed] and the light is flashing.” Cernan’s first action initiates the leveling of the internal sensors by two, battery-powered motors. Once the light stops flashing, the measurement has been completed, and we can give Mission Control a numerical reading from a digital display on the instrument that corresponded to the local acceleration due to gravity. Some of the time, we would put the TGE on the ground to eliminate any Rover motion at all, such as from the motion of the TV. In this case, Fendell resisted moving the TV, and we obtained a good reading. This measurement will be compared with a similar measurement near Challenger at the end of each EVA to determine the extent of drift in the TGE’s instrumentation.

“ ‘Oh, bury me not on the lone prairie,’ “ I began to sing a classic Western song of unknown authorship. “ ‘Where the coyotes howl, and the wind blows free.’ Okay, where am I?” I asked looking at my Checklist. “You’re [Cernan] doing a Gravimeter [measurement and] getting the flag. I’ve got your camera. I’m going to salvage the scissors.” With this short review, I grabbed the tongs from the gate and picked up the scissors under the ladder. The opposing claws of the tongs moved apart when I squeezed the two parallel grip handles against an internal spring mechanism. The spring closed the claws around the scissors, or any other small object, when I released the grip pressure.

“Okay, get the scissors, and I’ll be putting the flag in. And don’t go near the Rover.

“Don’t go near the water,” I reminisced. “That reminds me of a good book,” referring to a humorous, 1956 novel by William C. Brinkley, placed during World War II in the Pacific.

“Oh, boy,” Cernan said as he had problems with unpacking the flag package.

“I can’t go near the Rover?”

“Let me tell you… No.”

“I can’t go near the Rover,” I mused, trying to decide where to put the scissors, temporarily, until they could be placed under a Rover seat.

“Why don’t you set them…”

“How about you letting me stick these in your pocket with your [hammer],” I suggested.”

“No. Set them up there [on the MESA]. Just set them in there. We’ll get them when we come back in.”

“Okay. …I’ll tell you what I’m going to do…Gonna hang them here on the (ladder) hook,” I declared, worried that they would end up in the dust again or that we would forget them if they were out of sight on the MESA.

“Okay, that’s good.”

“Right there.

Flag Raising

“Okay, Jack. How about the flag right over here in this little mound?” Cernan moved into an area about 30m east of the Challenger.

“Which mound?” I asked. Mounds are one thing there are plenty of on the lunar surface.

“Well, let me take a look over here,” Cernan said, changing his mind.

“How about right up there on that little high point,” I suggested.

“Right up in here where I’m going,”

“Yeah. Of course, your idea of a high point might be different than mine. I meant the North Massif!” I joked.

“That’s probably the best place in the world for the flag, is right up on the top,” Cernan agreed, looking toward the crest of the North Massif.

“Okay, let me come over and help you. Dum da dee. How about right…”

“[We’ll know] how much regolith (soil) we’ve got in a minute,” Cernan asserted, thinking of the possibility of hitting bedrock as we drove the flagstaff into the regolith – not very likely based on how deep some of the craters had penetrated without hitting bedrock.

“Hey, you’re in the edge of the crater though. That’s no test,” I told him, as the regolith would be deeper in the rim ejecta of this shallow crater.

“Well, that’s all right.”

“Move right over here near your tire tracks.”

“Yeah,” Cernan agreed. “This is a high point right here.”

“That’s good.”

“Right there.” I then grabbed the lower section of the flagstaff with both hands and leaned on it until it penetrated about six or eight inches. At that point, the incompressible regolith below the surface prevented any further penetration.

“Well, that wasn’t too bad. Okay, let me give it a few whacks… Oh, baloney,” Cernan exclaimed as the hammer caught in his pocket. Finally, with the hammer out, he used the flat side of the hammer to hit the hardened top of lower section. “Watch your fingers. Now that wasn’t too bad. Want to make sure it stands up.” Cernan, able to hold the hammer better with his larger hand than I could, hit the flagstaff about 16 times, driving it in another 15 inches or so. “That’s getting pretty [hard]. …What we could do? …I don’t know how far we could drill,” he said, thinking ahead to the drilling at the ALSEP site.

‘Whang!,” I yelled, feeling the shock of each hammer blow through my feet and providing sound effects in the vacuum of space when he apparently hit a rock. “I think we hit something solid with that one.”

“No, it was still going.”

“Yeah, but did you ever see it vibrate like that?” I wondered, as the staff oscillated after each blow.

“No, [but] I’ve never put a flag up on the Moon before.”

“What!?” I said, pretending surprise at this comment.

The flag itself attaches to the upper section of the lower section of the flagstaff. The lower end of the upper section is tapered so it fits into the hardened upper end of the lower section. The top hem of the flag contained a rod, like a curtain rod, that locked at 90 degrees to the staff. The two-piece rod also locked in the middle so as to support the full length of the flag after being unfolded. As the flag itself had been vacuumed packed for stowage, it was quite wrinkled across the fields of Stars and Stripes.

As we begin to configure the flag, Cernan says, “Pull that end.”

“You’re going to have to get it down to my level,” I asserted, laughing. “You tall guys are all alike. Wait, I’m not through.” Cernan was two inches taller than I.

“Okay. How about getting it stretched out?”

“I will. I just can’t start [moving] forward as fast as I’d like to. …Hate to touch it; my hands are so dirty,” I lamented as I maneuvered to pull the lower, outer corner of the flag to stretch it as much as possible. When moving in the pressure suit, I could anticipate where my feet would hit moving forward; however, when going sideways and backwards, it was best to try to remember to turn in the desired direction before taking a step.


“Well, it’s going to want to curl,” I said. “Maybe it’ll… It sort of looks like it’s waving in the breeze.” In later years, a few people, looking to get their 15 seconds of fame, claimed that the flag, indeed, was waving in a breeze and, therefore, we could not have been on the Moon.

“Yes, sir. How about right there? …[We’ll] take a couple [of pictures] this way, and we’ll take a couple that way. How’s that?”

“Oh, let me get over to the other side [of the flag].” Saying this, I moved to a position a little north of the flag with Cernan standing to the east of the flag, looking north.

“We can get the Rover in the background,” Cernan concurred.

“Yeah, and the LM.

“It does wave when you do that,” Cernan acknowledged, as he pulled on the corner. With the memory from their packing, the wrinkles acted like small, linear springs that caused the flag to ripple.

“We’ve got a beautiful picture of you guys up [on the MOCR screen] down here [in front],” said an excited Parker.

“Let me tell you, Bob. This flag is a beautiful picture. You see that?”, Cernan asked.

“Okay,” I said, “it’s (the flag) partially covering the Rover, but I think it’s a pretty good shot.”

“How’s that?” Cernan asked, turning the flag 180 degrees and moving more to the east of it.

“Let me get the focus right,” I cautioned myself.

“I don’t know how to put it (the extended flag). There you go. Wait a minute,” Cernan requests.

“All right, I got you reaching for the flag,” I tell him.

“How’s that?”

“That’s very good, Gene. Let me get it in stereo,” I say as I take a step to my right.


“That’s beautiful,” I comment, stepping on Cernan’s moment.

“…this has got to be one of the most proud moments of my life. I guarantee you. …Why don’t you get a close-in one and we’ll trade cameras.” After I take a closer photo of Cernan and the flag, he took the camera to photograph me next to Old Glory.

“Houston,” I began, “I don’t know how many of you are aware of this, but this flag has flown in the MOCR since Apollo 11. And we very proudly deploy it on the Moon, to stay for as long as it can, in honor of all those people who have worked so hard to put us here, and to put every other crew here, and to make the country, [the] United States, and mankind, something different than it was.” (MOCR stands for Mission Operations Control Room at the Johnson Space Center in Houston)

“Roger, Seventeen,” Parker said in return. “And presuming to speak on behalf of some of those that work in the MOCR, we thank you very much.” I had approached Gene Kranz some months before with the idea that the Apollo 17 flag be the one that had flown in the MOCR and that we take and return another identical flag to the Moon as its eventual replacement. Kranz enthusiastically agreed. High-resolution images, taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter in 2010, show that the flag is still standing and intact. Its shadow clearly shows on the surface.

“Jack, right where you were. I’ll step to the right. Right there…”

“Well, that’s all right. I’ll keep it (my arm) down,” I said, having started to salute, but thinking that I should show the traditional civilian respect for the flag. (See Fig. 10.6)

Fig. 10.6. I am standing with the Flag of the United States of America in the valley of Taurus-Littrow on the Moon, December 14, 1972. Also in view are the Lunar Rover and the Lunar Module Challenger. This was the sixth and last American flag placed on the Moon by an Apollo mission. Close examination of the image in Fig. 10.4 ↑, and LROC images of other landing sites, shows that full shadows are cast by the flags raised by all the Apollo crews, except Apollo 11 (on Apollo 11, Aldrin reported that the flag was blown over by the exhaust of the ascent engine on lift-off; for a discussion on the observed survival of the flags, see post #537 on the LROC website). Apollo 17’s particular flag had flown in the Mission Operations Control Room in the Mission Control Center since Apollo 11 and was the backup flag for that mission. The photograph includes images of everything required for three days of lunar exploration: The landed Lunar Module, a fully outfitted Rover, and two astronauts in their spacesuits (Cernan is reflected as a small figure in my visor). (NASA Photo AS17-134-20382).

“Stay there. …Get closer [to the flag],” Cernan suggests.

“I’m going to get on the other side…”

“Well, I want to get something here.”

“What’s that?” I asked.

“I want to get the Earth.”

“Okay. Let me get over here.”

“Get around on that side,” Cernan directs.

“I don’t think it’s going… You’re a little close, maybe, to have them both in focus,” I said and Cernan moved back a couple of feet. “That might do it.” On his second try at holding the camera as low as possible and pointing by guess rather than sight, Cernan obtained one of the iconic photographs of the Apollo era (see Fig. 10.7). The inclusion of the American Flag, the Earth, the South Massif, and an astronaut, with Cernan reflected in my visor, symbolizes the political, philosophical, scientific, and technological history of Apollo. A generation of young Americans wrote that history as their response to President John F. Kennedy’s famous challenge to the Nation to put men “on the Moon and return them safely to Earth”.

Fig. 10.7. The American Flag pointing to the Earth above the South Massif in the valley of Tarsus-Littrow on the Moon. My image shows the front configuration of my spacesuit, including Sun visor; helmet cover, gold-plated for UV protection; Remote Control Unit (RCU) for the PLSS systems and camera attachment; the actuator for the Oxygen Purge System (OPS); and my Cuff Checklist. (NASA Photo AS17-134-20384).

Try that [pose with me] one time,” Cernan said, straightening up and handing me the camera, “then we’ll give up and get to work. …Point it up a little. …Yeah…”

“Let me try it again. …I don’t know, Geno. …Let me get over here closer to you. …Okay. That might have got it.” It turns out that my arms are too short to put the camera in the same position that Cernan accomplished with the photograph in Fig. 10.7; however, I did succeed in getting a good image of the flag, Earth and Cernan (Fig. 10.8). For some reason, this photograph does not have the symmetry that produces the visual impact of Fig. 10.7, possibly just because Cernan is holding the lower corner of the flag.

Fig. 10.8. My photograph of Cernan that includes both the Earth and his attempt to eliminate the packing wrinkles in the flag. I prefer the natural look of the wrinkled flag in Fig. 10.7. (NASA photo AS17-134-20387).

Okay, very good,” Cernan said.

“Okay. All right, let’s do it,” I replied, suggesting that the fun was over. “You think your Gravimeter’s ready, so I can go back there?”

“Roger, Seventeen,” Parker responded for Cernan. “The Gravimeter’s ready and a couple of words here. One, I presume you found the scissors, right?”

“Yes, sir. …Not Ron’s; we found ours,” I answered, but could not help but add the clarification as to whose scissors we were discussing. As noted previously, somehow, Ron’s scissors had disappeared inside America on the way to the Moon.

“Roger,” Parker replied and another of my attempts at humor went over his head. “And the second thing is: we do want the SRC closed. And if you can partially latch it, I’m not sure that’s easily done, that would be one solution.” Before suggesting this approach, someone should have checked if this were possible without damaging the Indium seal. “The other would be to put something on top of it to hold it closed.”

“Okay, Bob,” Cernan responded. “I’ll find something.”

“Okay, copy that. One of the brackets off the MESA would be something [to try], or a rock that’s nearby; that’s another possibility.”

Gene, what are you going to be up to now?” I inquired.

“I’m going to go get the…”

“The experiment pallet?” I finished for him, glancing at the Checklist. This is the pallet I had moved from Challenger’s Quad-III into the shade on the north-pointing landing pad. The pallet had the Surface Electrical Properties (SEP, pronounced “sep”) experiment[19] fastened to it. Unfortunately, in the process of transition from the raising of the flag back to other Checklist items, Cernan missed the last item in the FLAG DEPLOY section and neglected to return the hammer from his left suit leg pocket to the Geo-Pallet. We would pay dearly in lost exploration time for this oversight.

“Okay, why don’t I give the old [LM] inspection bit here. …And I really ought to have my camera, shouldn’t I?” I asked myself as I went back to the Rover.

“I need a [weight] on the [SRC lid],” Cernan said to himself.

“Yeah,” I confirmed, as did Parker with a “Roger, that’s affirmative.”

“What would you just [not need for a while]?” I asked.

“Well, I’ll find something,” Cernan answered.

Challenger Inspection

“I’ll take the old CDR’s camera,” I declared, starting off to inspect the Challenger. “Not a bad camera to take.”

“Jack, I’m going to take the old gunny sack here and put it over [the SRC]. That’ll hold it down.”

“I presume you’re talking about the Big Bag, Gene,” Parker queried after the reference to a “gunny sack”.

“Yeah, the Big Bag that was on the ladder hook. That’s all it needs. It’s just a little bit. There’s just enough spring force in it [to keep it open].”

“Okay, Houston,” I began after leaning back as far as I could to look at the antenna atop the Ascent Stage. “I think you’ve had all the good words about the LM. We have never flown a better LM. I guess that’s safe enough to say,” I chuckled, as Challenger was the only LM I had ever flown and Cernan had only been in the non-landing version, LM-4, with Tom Stafford doing the actual flying when Apollo 10 circled the Moon. “The RCS Quads look great. The old steerable’s…aimed right at you. Rendezvous radar’s in good shape. It’s parked, looks like parallel to Z (that is, verticle). Just about perfectly. There’s no visible – I’m on the 3 o’clock position, [that is] plus y – no visible [effluent] contamination. There’s a little bit of discoloration of the plume shields below the [RCS] thrusters. The engine bell never touched the ground. It’s about, oh, 15 centimeters off the ground.”

“How’s that for coming down gentle?” commented Cernan, patting himself on the back and forgetting that I had to remind him to cut his descent rate. “That’s what you call ‘Okay, Number Three Wire’, Jack.” Cernan continued to praise himself, using a carrier landing term for a near perfect capture on the third of four tail hook wires placed across the deck.

“Hey, we never heard what our [final] landing parameters were,” I complained. Mission control had not told us what velocity rates they saw in the telemetry.

“We’ll worry about that later,” Parker said.

“I don’t really care, now that we’re here,” Cernan added.

“Oh, but they always give them to us in the simulator,” I followed up, having fun with the Lunar Module Simulator troops with whom I spent so much time over the past 30 months.

“Hey, Bob,” Cernan called, “judging from what I see on my clock (wristwatch), we’re not but about 5 minutes behind.”

“That agrees more or less with the way we read it,” Parker concurred.

“Gene had a little forward motion [at touchdown],” I continued, “as I think you heard us call. And that shows up in the forward footpad, at any rate, or did [before we got out]. It looks like he may have hit tail first a little bit. That’s (the –X landing pad) embedded to the full pad depth. I see no…by George, Gene, you may have had a first. I think you stroked that thing (rear shock absorber).”

“Stroked what?” Cernan asked as he pulled the SEP pallet out of Quad-III.

“The rear landing gear.”

“Well, we can measure it and find out.”

“I’ll take a picture of it,” I continued. “May have stroked it. The lower orange Mylar [cover on the strut] is folded (crumpled) a little bit.”

“Roger,” Parker said. “There’s word floating around down here about typical Navy landings, but I’m not sure whether we believe it or not.”

“He caught his tail hook,” I concluded.

“That’s the best way,” Parker added. Cernan maintains that he flew the descent profile he always intended to fly; however, as indicated in Chapter 8, this was not the profile that we trained to fly.

“Just behind the LM,” I said, proceeding with my inspection, “in that fairly fresh crater, I picked up an example of the kind of gabbro I was talking about [earlier]. And I’ll stick it in the Big Bag, …except the Big Bag has disappeared.” Cernan had taken it to weigh down the SRC lid.

“Okay,” Cernan began having returned to the Rover. “I’ve got to give you a [Gravimeter] reading, Bob, if you’re ready.”


“670, 003, 101. That’s 670, 003, 101…” Then, seeing me at the MESA, Cernan said, “Jack, I put that (Big Bag) there to hold the SRC down.”

“That’s all right, I just put a sample in it. It’s in the bottom of the bag. It’s about 8 by 5 centimeters by 3 centimeters. Slightly tabular.” After this, I returned to the Rover, took a photograph of the front of the fully configured vehicle as the driver would see it, and then put Cernan’s camera under his seat.

“We copy that,” Parker came back. “It’s in the Big Bag.”

“Yes, sir.” Unfortunately, this first sample of mine apparently fell out of the Big Bag sometime later, maybe when we moved it off the SRC cover. It was not recovered.

“Okay, Bob,” Cernan says after placing the TGE on the ground to take a comparison reading. “A MARK on gravity. …And the light’s flashing. …I’ve got to tell you, Bob. I haven’t done everything there is to do in the Navy, but deploying that flag has got to be the most proud thing I’ll ever do in my life. If you could see you [the Earth], and you could see it [the flag] from where we are, I know you’d feel the same way.”

“Roger on that, Geno.”

“Whoo!” I call out as I tripped again.

“God, she’s pretty up there. God, you’re pretty up there over the South Massif. Beautiful!

“Hope nobody saw that [trip],” I said, more concerned at this time with balance than looking at the Earth.

“Beautiful,” Cernan repeated.

“Oh, they were watching me,” I noted as I saw that Fendell had swung the TV camera my way. “Those finks! …You weren’t doing anything with the Gravimeter on here [on the Rover], I hope.” I had shaken the Rover a little as I put the CDR camera under his seat.

“No, it’s on the deck (the ground).”


“Okay,” Parker called, “you might grab me a frame count when you set it on there, Jack.”

“Too late, Bob.” I had already put the camera under the seat.


“I’ll get that later.”

“We’ll get it later. No hurry.”

“Okay, now if I can figure how to get this [SEP receiver] off [the pallet].” Cernan had retrieved the pallet from the north strut of the Challenger where I had put it earlier.

“You’ve got to educate us again [on noting frame counts]. We may not remember those. Oops.”

“Bob, the SEP’s in hand.”

“Roger on that.”

“I’ll give you a (SEP) temperature,” Cernan said, prematurely. “Let’s see whether it fits [on the Geo-Pallet]. …I’ll bet it does. …Come on; lock, baby. Okay, it’s on [the Geo-Pallet]…it’s locked.”


“Bob, here’s a temperature for you. Forty degrees [F]… ‘Close (SEP dust) cover…’ Okay, number 1 [decal]…something over here…never did figure out what.” Cernan mumbled to himself as he went through the five items on a decal appended to the SEP receiver. The SEP receiver and recorder box measured about 12 inches square. Cernan mounted it on the right upper surface of the Geo-Pallet, behind my seat, and extended its double tetrahedron-shaped receiving antenna. Near the end of this EVA, we would deploy a solar powered, variable low-frequency (1-32 MHz) radio transmitter and antenna array about 150 m east of Challenger. Time synchronized signals from this antenna array, passing through the upper portions of the valley fill materials, could be recorded automatically on the Rover during EVA-2 and EVA-3 traverses. In hindsight, had we left the SEP receiver in shadow and put it on the Rover at the start of EVA-2, later thermal problems with the SEP receiver might have been mitigated. At the time, however, we did not know that the SEP’s thermal control design was faulty.

Meanwhile, as Cernan worked on the SEP, I had gone to the MESA to retrieve the Cosmic Ray Detector,[20] comprised of two shallow tablets, or shallow aluminum boxes, containing different types of particle detectors. The detectors for solar and extra-solar cosmic rays consisted of thin muscovite (mica) sheets; very thin pieces of Platinum and Aluminum foil; thin sheets of fused quartz, phosphate glass and Lead phosphate glass; and a thin sheet of Lexan. One set of detectors was to be hung from the east-facing, -X landing gear strut so that it faced the Sun. The other tablet would be hung from the west-facing, +X strut, in the shade, and exposed to deep space.

“Okay, Bob, the ‘Shade’ [tablet] is deployed facing deep space [to the west]…” This part of the detector would detect low energy cosmic rays from deep space, decay products of any lunar atmospheric Radon, and act as a control on the tablet exposed to the Sun

“Oh, copy,” Parker slowly responded, obviously puzzled and momentarily losing track of where I was in the Checklist. “Roger. Understand – the Cosmic Ray [Detector].”

“Okay, Bob,” Cernan reported. “The [SEP] antenna is deployed. It’s not on the post yet, but it’s deployed. …Oh, oh,” now talking to himself, “come on. Don’t get all caught on something…that’s better. That’s better.”

“Okay, Bob,” I said. “I think [I’ve] just about got the “Sun” side deployed, just as perpendicular to the Sun as I think anybody could do.

“Copy that. Good enough.”

“…I don’t have any pictures [of the detectors] yet so you might put that down as something to get later.” I had left the camera at the Rover.

“Yeah, we’ll catch that in the pan(orama) next EVA or something like that,” Parker promised. He meant that we could get the close-up photographs in conjunction with another Challenger panorama.

“Boy,” continued Cernan, “if that [SEP] antenna doesn’t get some noise from outer space, I don’t know what will. If they are out there, and they are I’m sure. They’ll see that one.” He refers to the double tetrahedron shape of the antenna. “That is even weirder looking out here than it is in the High Bay.” This is in reference to the SEP deployment we performed prior to its stowage in Challenger.

“Hey, Bob? Before I leave [with] the ALSEP, remind me to check the Cosmic Ray. I might hit it here in the process of deployment …I got a little close.”


ALSEP Off-Load and Carry

After dealing with the Cosmic Ray Experiment, I moved to a position in front of Challenger’s Quad-II, the Scientific Equipment (SEQ) Bay, where the ALSEP rested. The first item in deployment consists of swinging a vertically hinged panel to the left so as to position it against the hot graphite cask containing a 3.8 kg (8.4 pound) 238Pu oxide, nuclear fuel element. This fuel element would power the ALSEP’s 76 watt, SNAP-27 Radioisotopic Thermal-electric Generator (RTG). The cask was mounted on the backmost upper strut of the +Y landing gear so that, in the event of an unplanned entry into the Earth’s atmosphere, it would break off and enter separately from the spacecraft.

With the protective panel out of the way, I could pull a lanyard that opens a two-section, horizontal door. “The (SEQ Bay) doors are open!! Beautifully. …I don’t know what talent you have for landing in holes, Cernan, but once again I’ll be doing all the ALSEP work in a hole. …Yeah, I need the pulleys,” I admitted, recalling the technical problems experienced with the original pulley system. The pulleys really were not needed, but might have helped a little, as I stood farther below the SEQ Bay floor than planned.

“You know, Bob,” Cernan reported, “I’ve got a little bit of a problem here. I’ve got the SEP [to Rover Navigation] connector on. But, …it’ll slide down in, but the locking cover just won’t go over.”

“Roger, Geno. Understand. And it slides in far enough, and you think it’s aligned, huh?”

“Yeah, I’m positive it’s aligned. It just didn’t appear to lock over, well not ‘appear’, it just won’t lock over. I’m shoving it home. …Okay, I got it. …I got it. Makes everyone happier.”

“I’m glad we have the right solution to that one, Geno,” Parker said, facetiously acknowledging that Mission Control was no help on that problem.

“The right solution is the fact that you’ve got a man here doing it…”

“Hey, Bob,” I called. “The ECA Temp Monitor switch is ON.” Turning on this Electrical Control Assembly switch enabled Mission Control to see the current temperature of the RTG fuel before I began to work with it.

“Copy that.”

“…There’s an easy way and a hard to do everything,” Cernan finally broke a long silence while I worked to off-load the two ALSEP packages. “Don’t know why we don’t pick the easy way [to do things].” He was taking a bracket, on which four Explosive Packages (EPs) would be placed, from the MESA’s LRV pallet and attaching it to the top of the Geo-Pallet on the Rover. These EPs constituted the active part of the Lunar Seismic Profiling Experiment (see below).

[Prior to each Apollo mission, previous mission crews passed along a lot of do’s and don’ts for working in one-sixth gravity. Other than repeated 20-30 sec doses of one-sixth gravity in the KC-135 zero g aircraft, however, we never had a chance to do things for ourselves until actually in that environment. We quickly learned to take advantage of one-sixth gravity. As objects accelerate downward more slowly, you have more time to react. If I had a hammer in my left hand, for example, I could just flip it to my right hand without moving my arms, saving some work with my arms. Sometimes, however, in the rush of the moment, you may follow old habits before realizing there is now an easier way of accomplishing a given task. This may have just happened to Cernan as he worked to attach the EP bracket to the Geo-Pallet.]

“RTG [pallet of the ALSEP] is on the surface,” I reported, followed a minute later by, “Central Station [pallet] is [on the surface]. …Hey, Bob; Gene’s little [landing] pitch-up makes these things slide out by themselves, almost.” The Central Station pallet has all the experiments attached to it as well as the processing and communications systems for getting data from the experiments back to Earth.

“Better thank him next time you see him,” joked Parker.

“Hey, Jack,” Cernan called, “you notice there’s none of those guys up there [behind us] holding those hoses as we go around the LM?”

“What do you mean?” I asked, again feigning surprise. “I saw one just a minute ago.”

“Okay, Bob. You want [Explosive Packages] 4, 5, 6, and 7?” As the EPs varied in explosive power, this question was to confirm that there had been no change in the plan given in the Cuff Checklist.

“That’s affirmative.”

“Okay, 4, 5, 6, and 7. It’s (the EP set) coming off [the MESA pallet],” Cernan acknowledged. “Okay, …just took time out for a snack [fruit stick] and a little water.”

“Come on,” I said to myself, frustrated with working with pressure gloves in attaching the Universal Handling Tool (UHT) to its sockets on the Central Station and in fitting the ALSEP carry bar to the bottom of that pallet. I would use the UHT to release fasteners holding experiments to the pallet and also to carry the experiments to their places of operation around the Central Station.

“How’s the TV working?” Cernan asked as he worked at the back of the Rover with the EP package.

“Beautiful,” Parker answered. “To coin a phrase [from Duke on Apollo 16], it’s a ‘panoramic scene of beauty’.”

“Come on now, Bob!” I exclaimed, thinking he could have been more original.

“Say, Bob,” Cernan persisted, “what do you think of the terrain?”

“Looks flat. Looks very flat and smooth.”

“That’s why you’re an astronomer,” he replied, as that was not how the nearby lunar surface appeared to us.

“That’s why you’re,” I started to repeat the same comeback and then laughed at Cernan beating me to it. “Oh, well.”

“Okay, I’ll give you a reading on the TGE if you’re ready.”

“Roger, ready.”

“Don’t kick dust on it.,” Cernan said to himself as he approached the TGE. “Hope I can read it down here [close to the ground]. …Bob, you’re going to have to bear with me. When I leaned over to punch it, I hit GRAVITY instead of READ, so I guess I got to wait it out.” This would take three more minutes.

“We’ll start the timer again.”

“Okay, I should have been more careful. Okay… ‘Orient [SEP] pallet to the Sun.’ If you can see it (the SEP pallet), it’s [pointed] directly at the Sun so that ought to be good.” This action will warm up the SEP transmitter still attached to the pallet.

“Okay, copy that.”

“The SRC doesn’t have to be all the way closed does it?” Cernan asked.

“No,” Parker replied, after taking a minute to check with the Science Backroom. “Not all the way. Just as long as it’s most of the way closed. You can have a crack there in the top.”

“Okay, that’s what it is. …Man, I’ll tell you. This thing [the MESA] got low all of a sudden. …How are you coming, Jack?

“Great,” I answered.

“You get it [the RTG] fueled yet?”

“Oh, no. …Coming soon though.”

“Let me know if you have any problems with that.”

“All right, I will.…You’re all I got,” I added. Getting the fuel element out of the cask had been a problem for each mission with an ALSEP. The element always bound up more than expected due to thermal expansion. Pete Conrad actually used the hammer to break open the cask.

“Come on bag,” Cernan urged as he removed the stowage bag in the MESA that contained the deep drill core sections. The bag will be strapped into my seat for the short ride out to the ALSEP deployment site. He is a little ahead of me in the timeline at this point. “Man. There we go.”

“Da da, dee dee,” I sang as I put the RTG topside up and removed the dust cover from the cylindrical fuel element holder with its many heat conducting fins radiating from its wall. Then I rotated the fuel cask down so I could attach the three pronged, dome removal tool to the top of the cask.

“Bob, that Gravimeter went right to [work]. …It blinked once and went right to steady, so I don’t expect it’ll be too long.

“Okay,” Parker responded. “I’ll give you a call in a couple of minutes there. Ought to be done. …And Jack. I understand you have the RTG fueled?”

“Negative…[Remember,] I’m supposed to call you when I have it fueled.” I seemed slightly irritated, as the process of getting the fuel cask dome off, again, was proving more difficult than in training.


“Jack, do you have a…,” Cernan began and then stopped. “Am I missing a map I should have up here?”

“There should be two maps. They’re under the seat. I put them in there so they wouldn’t bounce off. I’m sorry. I forgot to tell you.”

Okay, I got them,” Cernan confirmed and then clipped the maps to the holder on the accessory staff. “Hello, Houston,” said Cernan, waving at the TV.

“Hello, Challenger,” Parker replied in kind.

“I wish I could go back and make that landing about six or seven times,” Cernan mused, “so I could take in all that I missed.”

“So do I!” I exclaimed. “I might as well have stayed at the Cape.” This was partly true as far as being a sightseer; but Cernan would have been busier than a one-armed wallpaper hanger without me reading off the data necessary to land.

“Okay. Let’s see,” Cernan said, referring to his Cuff Checklist. “Core/bore [bag], neutron flux, and I’ll get the drill and then I’ll go back and…”

“Geno,” Parker called, “you might wander by the Gravimeter. I think it might be done by now. You might just check the light and see if it’s steady, or on or not.”

“Okay. I’ll go by there right now, Bob…”

“For future reference, Bob,” I stated, “the dome removal tool…doesn’t [lock in the dome]. …It’ll [the dome] turn. …Well, shoot.” Obviously, things were not going smoothly back at Quad-II.

“Okay, Bob; let’s see,” Cernan said. “It’s (TGE light) not lit. Can I take a reading?” Cernan was forgetting his many training sessions with the TGE.

“Rog. If the light’s out, give us a reading.”

“Well, let’s see if I can punch the right button this time. Okay, it’s 670 017 201, 670 017 201. And it was about 75 percent in the shade of the Rover.” Cernan remembers that the TGE is temperature sensitive, but there is a battery powered internal heater that keeps the sensors at 322 ± 0.01ºK.

“I copy that. And now we’re ready for ‘BIAS’.”

“Okay, a ‘BIAS’ coming at you. On the ground, correct?” By activating the BIAS measurement, the gravity sensing components invert so as to determine drift in a critical parameter necessary to calculate a value for local gravity.

“It’s blinking, Bob.”

“Okay. Copy that.”

“I’ve got the core bag and the neutron flux, and…”

“Gene, I need your hammer.”

“Okay. You need my help. Okay, coming over. …What’s the problem?

“Well, the dome removal tool never latched into the dome,” I explained, but it turned it (the dome). I think it’s (the dome) pretty badly chewed up. I’m not sure what happened.” The three-pronged tool had to engauge a nut in the center of the dome as well as enter three symmetrical holes where it could lock three pins into internal latches that held the dome.

“Oh, boy.”

“Let me have your hammer because I’m going to have to pry off the dome.” The dome had to come off, or I could not access the fuel element and the ALSEP would be useless.

“Can’t you [release the pins and start over?…”

“No. I… You see I…I’ve stripped it, I think. I didn’t think I could do it.”

“No. Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute, “Cernan insisted. “Let me…” Cernan was not about to give me the hammer.

“See, it’s stripped,” I insisted, pointing to the crack between the dome and the main cask. “See; but it’s [partially] open. Wait a minute. See? No wait. See? Just put your [hammer] blade in there. Don’t touch it!” I warned. The cask was hot and might damage a glove. “Put the blade in there; and pry.”

“It’ll come, …I hope.”

“Be careful,” I warned again. “Here, let me get it once from this side.”

“Wait a minute,” Cernan said, still keeping the hammer.

“Gene, don’t get so close! Move your hand. …There, you got it. Nice work.”

“Okay, it’s off. It’s off.”

“Nice work,” I repeated.


“Roger,” Parker finally speaks. “Once again we have the right solution.”

“I’m not sure, Bob, what happened,” I said. “You might ask them that if you only partially get the dome removal tool on, if you can strip the whole thing out?”[21]

‘“Okay, we’ll look at it…”

“It won’t make much difference any more.”

“We’ll make sure it’s changed on the next dome removal tool,” Parker responded in his usual dark humor.

“Bob,” Cernan said, back at the Rover. “I’m just taking a breather.”

“Okay, we’re watching you,” Parker acknowledged, viewing the TV feed on the big screen in the front of the MOCR.

“That was a strange one, Gene. Did you see how I mangled that thing?”


“Okay, RTG [fuel element] is out,” I finally reported, after having to work it loose from its bottom clamps due to its expansion since installation.

“Don’t trip,” Cernan ordered, unnecessarily.

“Wouldn’t think of it.”

“Okay, where was I?” Cernan asked himself. “I’ve got to go back [to the MESA] and get the drill, if I’m not mistaken. Yes, sir; and then I’ll be caught up with the TGE.”

“Okay, Houston. The RTG is inserted. The fuel element [is inserted], that is.” The cylindrical, 4 × 40 cm Pu-238 fuel element went easily into the center holder of the eight-finned SNAP-27[22] RTG. The thermocouples of this General Electric/Sandia Laboratory SNAP-27 would extract about 76 watts of initial electrical power for the ALSEP.

“Okay, we’ll copy that,” noted Parker.

“Bob, I’ll give you my word,” Cernan promised. “Before we leave here, I’ll make sure that the SRC is closed.”

“As long as it’s got only an inch or two showing there, it should be no problem. That looks fine,” Parker affirmed, looking at the TV image.

“Man, I’ve got to put something on it to get it down to that far. …Oh, that [drill] came out like a dream. Man, is this MESA low when you go [to get something out of the side compartments]. …Come on, baby.”

“SEQ [Scientific Equipment] Bay doors are closed,” I reported. Thermal control for Challenger’s Descent Stage batteries and its oxygen and water tanks required that this be done. “And I’m checking out the Cosmic Ray [‘Sun’ hanger]. Cosmic Ray looks good.” I had not bumped it after all.

“Beautiful,” Parker said, appreciatively.

“Oh! I snuck a quick…quick peek at the drill,” Cernan admitted, after triggering the ON switch very briefly, “and it does work.”

“What in the world is that?” I asked, startled by a blast of radio noise.

“That’s Ron!”

“Ron?!” I queried, pretending not to recognize the name.

“That’s Ron,” asserted Cernan as he strapped the drill to my Rover seat.

“Got his VHF on [in my earphones], that fink,” I joked. Evans must have inadvertently turned on his VHF radio transmitter.

“Hey,” Cernan alerted Parker, “you might tell Ron we can hear him. …‘Drill to LMP seat’,” Cernan read out loud. “ ‘[Secure] with seat belt’. Bob, you still with us?”

“Okay, ALSEP is put together in the barbell mode,” I reported. “And, Charlie Duke, I have checked it; and it is locked.” The carry bar for the ALSEP attached to the bottom of each pallet. Duke had one of the Apollo 16 pallets fall off as he walked toward the deployment site.

“Hello, there, Ron. If you read, we’re reading you,” Cernan radioed in the clear.

“Well,” I began to sing as I headed west to find a site for the ALSEP, “We’re off to see the Wizard.” This line from Judy Garland’s song in the 1939 MGM film, “The Wizard of Oz”, came to mind for some unknown reason other than I was about to take my first long traverse on the Moon. But, before leaving, I asked, “Hey, do you need me, Gene?”


“I’m going to go deploy an ALSEP,” I stated with great assertiveness.

“Have at it.”

“First, I’ve got to find an ALSEP site.

“Don’t fall into Camelot…” Indeed, I headed west in the direction of Camelot Crater. The plan was to find a reasonably level area about 100 m from Challenger so that, when we left, the ascent engine effluents would not impinge significantly on the deployed experiments. Still thinking both in feet and meters, my plan was to estimate 100 m by comparing my thumb width with the 23 feet height of Challenger. I had inked in “Thumb = 350’ “ on my Cuff Checklist, that is, my thumb would just fully obscure the Challenger at 350 feet, or a little more than 100 m.

As might be expected, I started toward the ALSEP site at a more rapid pace than I finished, forced to walk flat-footed rather than my preferred toes-dominated stride. This was real, physical work, carrying about 65 lunar pounds (~350 Earth pounds) that required keeping a firm grip on the connecting carry bar. My heart rate peaked at 140 bpm. At first, I gripped the bar, palms down. As my already tired forearm muscles became more fatigued, I changed to palms up, one at a time, without setting down the ALSEP. Before I arrived at the ALSEP deployment site, I was not sure those muscles would ever recover. At one point, I finally hefted the barbell package into the crook of my arms to ease the strain on my forearm muscles and finished the trek this way.

“Bob,” Cernan said as I walked, still trying to get Parker’s attention, “I’d like to read a TGE, [again].”

“Roger,” responded Parker, finally. (Mission Control may have lost the transmission S-Band carrier for a few minutes.) “You’re ready to read the TGE, or we are.”

Oh, you won’t believe it!,” Cernan exclaimed.

“You did it again,” I guessed, suspecting that he had hit the wrong TGE button.

“No!!” Cernan really cried out. “There goes a fender.”

“Oh, shoot!” I reacted, knowing that we would have dust problems as we drove if we lost a fender. Indeed, Cernan had caught the handle of the hammer in his left leg pocket under the fender “dust flap” extension as he went around the right rear corner of the Rover. Commanders on the other two Rover missions, Apollo 15 and Apollo 16, did the same thing, so at least he was in good company. This was the hammer that should have been put on the Geo-Pallet after the activity with the flag.

“Say, Bob, I’m moving down-Sun,” Cernan said, not yet fully reacting to what he had done to the fender. “I’m moving down-Sun (west), and where we’ve walked, we stir up darker material – just slightly [darker] – but it’s darker. The same old thing [shade of gray] that most regoliths have.”

“Okay, copy that.”

This albedo contrast Cernan described shows up particularly well in high Sun photos taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (see Fig. 10.4 ↑­­), and I observed the contrast as a light spot around both this landing site and at the Apollo 15 site when we overflew both sites later in the mission.

“Well, I’ll get that [fender] in a minute,” Cernan said, obviously discouraged.

“Have you got a bias reading there, Gene?” Parker asked.

“Yeah, I’m giving it to you right now. 337 454 001. That’s 337 454 001.

“Okay, we copy that.

“And I hate to say it, but I’m going to have to take some time to try… I’m going to have to try to get that fender back on.”

“Was it the rear fender, Geno?” Parker’s question showed that several Flight Controllers were worried. Previous missions had shown that dust adhering briefly to the Rover wheels gave a forward rooster tail when driving, meaning that the loss of a rear wheel fender would later cover us with dust.

Yeah,” Cernan verified. “Caught it with my hammer, and it just popped right off…”

During this exchange, I stopped for a short (eight seconds) rest with the ALSEP on the ground. After about another 10-15 m, I stopped again and checked my “thumb distance” from the Challenger.

“Bob, for future reference, it’s a piece of cake putting the TGE on and off [the Rover]. …Jack, is the [duct] tape under my seat, do you remember?”

“Yes.” This consisted of ordinary gray duct tape.

“I may need it… Okay. ‘Lithium hydroxide canister to middle [of MESA]’ .”

“I’m in MAX cooling,” I reported. Even with the effort I was exerting, this level of cooling through the LCG kept me from sweating.

“Man, you’re wobbling around like a…,” Cernan observed, looking out my way. “How are you doing?”

“Oh, fine.” Never say you’re hurting. “It’s just… It’s work going out here!”

“Yeah, I’ll bet it is. Just take it easy.”

“I am,” I lied.

“I’m going to be a little bit behind you [on the timeline] if I have to work on that fender, anyway.”

“Yeah,” Parker interrupted, “you can walk a bit more slowly than you’re walking, Jack.” The problem with walking more slowly is that it is a trade off between how long I could keep my grip and how fast I could walk.

“Okay, more and more. … What’s that?” I stopped my thoughts on the rocks I had seen so far in order to respond to Parker.

“I said that you can walk more slowly than you started out, anyway.”

“Bob, texturally,” I began, breathing hard but still doing some geological observation, “some of these rocks, that I believe are the gabbros, have a texture not unlike a welded tuff (a rock made from volcanic ash which fuses because of its own internal heat). I know they’re not [welded tuff], but they’ve got some mottled characteristic to them that I haven’t yet figured out…”

[Welded tuffs result from hot ash flows from terrestrial rhyolitic to andesitic volcanoes, none of which we expected to see on the Moon. The ash flows are hot enough to fuse into hard rock when they come to rest but still show relic outlines of rock fragments incorporated during an eruption. On this long walk, I passed rocks that turned out to be mare basalts; however, small, white halos around micro-meteor impacts gave them a mottled appearance that stimulated my analogy to welded tuff. The impacts had removed the translucent brown glass patina on boulder surfaces. The white color in the halos resulted from intense shattering of calcium-rich feldspar (plagioclase) that is mixed with pyroxene and ilmenite in the rocks.]

Well, if it wasn’t for that fender,” Cernan rightly complained, “I’d be ready to go. Makes me sort of mad!”

“I say there, Jack,” Parker interjected, again watching the TV screen on which Fendell had documented my progress to the ALSEP site, “that looks like a big rock there beyond you.”

“That’s the one we were talking about…earlier,” Cernan reminded him.”

“We believe you now,” Parker conceded as Fendell zoomed in on the rock. Meanwhile, I had continued into a trough until only my head was visible from where the TV was on the Rover.

“Well, I’ve done this [used duct tape] in training. I can’t say I’m very adept at putting fenders back on. But I sure don’t want to start without it…”

“Well, shoot!” Cernan says, as re-attaching the fender proves an illusive task.

“Okay, Bob,” I updated Parker, having now totally disappeared from TV view. “I think I’m going to move a little bit to the northwest of my present position in order to get a little farther away from that big rock…and to get out of a shallow depression. …I’m in a shallow depression that’s here.” I had taken a short break and accomplished my usual rapid recovery of breathing and heart rates.

“Roger. It’s not so shallow,” contradicted Parker. “You disappeared out of sight from the last [view we had].”

“Well it’s shallow relative to other depressions I’ve been in,” I came back, referring to rugged field areas in Alaska, Montana and Norway. “You know, this ALSEP is almost as heavy as what we had [for training] at the Cape! …Uh oh! I lost one of my [leveling] blocks. Oh well, I’ll get it on a rock.” The blocks provided for rough leveling of the two pallets if a specific placement needed it. The blocks really were not needed with all the rocks around that could serve the same purpose.

“Or I’ll retrace your steps [to find the block],” Cernan volunteered while still back at the Challenger.

“Don’t worry about that. I’ll be able to… There are enough rocks around. I can use it.”

“Copy that, Jack,” added Parker. “And Gene, if you’re having trouble with that fender and you think it might be easier with two guys, you could wait until you get out to the ALSEP site.”

“No sir, I got it on, but a little piece of the rail is cracked off. And I’m just going to put a couple of pieces of good old-fashioned American gray [duct] tape on it…[and] see whether we can’t make sure it stays. Because I don’t want to lose it… Except good old-fashioned gray tape doesn’t want to stick very well [when it is dusty].”

“I’ve not seen any sign of layering in any of the [small] craters – in their walls. …The rocks still seem to be the pinkish-gray gabbro out here.” A combination of lighting and the brownish glass patina, and maybe the gold film on my visor, gave me this impression of a pinkish hue to the rocks.

“Good old-fashioned American gray tape,” a frustrated Commander commented, “doesn’t stick to lunar dust-covered fenders. One more try. …I think it’ll stay, for an indefinite period of time, right now. …Not bad for EV gloves,” Cernan concluded after he successfully tore some tape off the roll.

“Can you see me, Bob?” I asked.

“We’re watching Gene, right now. You disappeared out of sight a long while ago. …Hey, you just came into sight again, Jack,” as Fendell pointed the TV in my direction.

“Hey, leave me enough room to deploy the heat flow,” requested Cernan, unnecessarily.

“I’m going to, I’m looking for a place. Away from craters and rocks,” as per plan. Either one could affect local temperature gradients.

“That’s why I didn’t land up there,” stated Cernan.

It took me about five minutes, including short stops to rest my hands and forearms, to cover the distance I estimated was required to reach an acceptable distance for the ALSEP site. I stopped about two minutes out to check my “thumb distance” from Challenger and then settled on a site for the Central Station that is about 40 m north of the big boulder we had seen from the cabin. I also had the constraint of placing the RTG heat and its faint neutron radiation about 30 m south of an area that looked acceptable for emplacement of the thermal sensors of the Heat Flow Experiment and the particle detectors of the Neutron Probe Experiment.

ALSEP Deployment and Activation

“Okay, I think I’ve got a place [for the ALSEP]. And I think it’ll also give you a spot for the neutron flux that’s sheltered from the RTG [radiation].” The Lunar Neutron Probe Experiment[23] consisted of a two-meter long rod, made up of cellulose triacetate plastic Boron-10 particle track detectors as well as muscovite mica detectors. We would activate the probe by rotating shields away from the detectors, couple its two sections together, and then insert the probe in the deep drill core hole Cernan would drill. We then would recover and deactivate the probe at the end of EVA-3. The probe materials would measure the equilibrium flux of natural neutrons and alpha particles produced by galactic cosmic rays and the decay of radioactive isotopes in the regolith. This information would assist in the evaluation of cosmic ray interactions with the regolith and determination of the deposition ages and accumulation and mixing rates of that material. Ideally, a rock or regolith depression would shield the probe from any neutrons produced by the 238Pu in the RTG.

“You say you have a place like that, Jack?” asked Parker.

“Well, pretty much, I think, Bob. …Let me work on it here a little more.” In addition to the schematic diagram of the deployed ALSEP in my Cuff Checklist, I knew the desired arrangement by heart and just had to sort through all the compromises demanded by the natural variability of any site.

[The ALSEP’s primary operational problem came from the time required to deploy it. Instead of advocating a design that would minimize deployment time, the first astronaut involved in overseeing operational issues apparently told the designer, Bendix Corporation in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to “give us something to do on the Moon.” He should have recognized that, with humans there, exploration should be the primary focus, not experiment deployment.

Later, at the ALSEP Preliminary Design Review, Bill Anders (Apollo 8) and I went through a shirtsleeve (unsuited) deployment and realized that there would never be enough time to finish deployment under the time constraints of the early Apollo missions. For example, to remove the attached experiment boxes and deploy the Central Station required release of 56 Calfax compression fasteners. Releasing each such fastener required a 740º turn of a tool by an astronaut in a pressure suit. Anders summed up the extreme alternative to “give us something to do” by saying, “I want a big red button and when I kick it, ALSEP gets deployed!”

The post-PDR redesign included “only” 19 Boyd Bolt tension fasteners that would release with a single quarter wrist turn. This compromise improved the situation, but ALSEP deployment still would cause astronauts to sacrifice an awful lot of precious exploration time on the Moon on every mission.

During exploration, humans are best employed making decisions on where to deploy instruments while their deployment happens as automatically as technology and cost allow. There will remain some experiment deployments that would be costly or impossible to automate and those also are done best by humans. For the Apollo 17 timeframe, those deployments absolutely requiring human intervention included the drilling of holes for heat flow probes and the deep core, deployment of the geophones and explosives for the active seismic experiment, gravimeter placement, and the SEP antenna array.]

“Okay, and right now you’re about 10 minutes behind the timeline, Jack,” Parker reminded me.


‘Bob,” called Cernan, “I’m only going to spend another minute or two on the fender.”

“We’ll catch up,” I declared with far more optimism than I felt.

“I never thought I’d be out here doing this,” Cernan reflected on his fender repair attempts.

“Boy, I’ll tell you, Geno,” I sympathized, as I began to talk through how the ALSEP would be laid out. Here I am, the first and only field geologist to be on the Moon in the foreseeable future, and I am going to spend most of the first excursion laying out boxes, most of which could have been deployed by a robot. “Okay, I’m going to go back this way (to the south). …[The] Central Station can be near a crater… It will be pretty good, [and] that’ll put the LEAM (Lunar Ejecta and Meteorite Experiment[24]) right out over there (25 feet southeast of the Central Station) which is probably all right. …The Gravimeter (Lunar Surface Gravimeter Experiment[25]) out over there (25 feet west of the Central Station), which is probably all right. …Going to put your [Heat Flow Experiment[26]] drill holes a little too close to that rock, though. Bob, ask Mark [Langseth] if he’s worried about rocks as much as craters [for the heat flow probes].” The Heat Flow Experiment, in addition to its electronics box, consisted of two, 2.5 m long probes with both upper thermocouples (4) and lower heaters (4). Operation of the experiment would sense the long-term temperature variations in the regolith and eventually determine the steady state background heat flow from the lunar interior.[27]

“Okay, stand by,” Parker replied, checking with the Science Back Room to see if they have any concerns.

“I’ve got a rock about 2 meters in diameter,” I continued, “partially buried, that one of the probes (the westerly Heat Flow probe) may be near.”

“Stand by and define ‘near’,” requested Parker.

“Well, it could be 10 feet. …Well, I can move a little more south, I guess.”

“Okay. And Jack, it seems [that], if you’re about 3 meters from the rock, that’s no problem.” The undisturbed regolith is highly insulating and a potential heat anomaly like a rock would have no sensible effect beyond a meter.

“Okay” I acknowledged, but moved the Central Station, and thus the entire experiment array, about 5 m south, anyway. “Okay, this is it (the ALSEP site).”

“Okay. Copy that.”

“I tell you, the [big] block [may be a problem]…Let’s see, the Sun’s [line] is this way – south of east. Okay. …Well, shoot!”

“What’s wrong?” asked Cernan.

“Well, it’s just about impossible [to satisfy everyone]. Bob, it looks like the [heat flow] probes are going to be in a shallow depression. I’ll try to improve that a little. It’s not a real crater; it’s just a shallow depression.” I moved everything another 3 m south, anyway.

“Stand by. Stand by on that, Jack, a minute. That may be okay. Okay, shallow depression’s all right, Jack, don’t worry about it.”

“It’s not more than a meter deep,” I assured Parker.

“That’s okay, Jack.”


“Stay there,” Parker recommends.

“All righty. It looks pretty good to me.”

“Okay. Good enough.” I had finally selected an area for the ALSEP experiments that lies about 185 m, west northwest from Challenger, and quite a bit farther than the planned distance of 100 m. This ALSEP location, however, gave a margin of safety from Ascent Engine effluents much more than that originally planned.

“Bob, it’s really, in detail, …the meter and half-meter scale relief is a little more than we can stand here for a good [deployment] site. But I think this will be all right.”

“Okay, copy that. We’re ready to press on with ALSEP interconnect. …And Geno, how are you doing on that fender?

“Bob, I am done! If that fender stays on, …I’m going to take a picture of it because I’d like some sort of mending award. It’s not too neat, but tape and lunar dust just don’t hang in there together.

“Okay. Copy that.”

“Well, let’s hope. Keep your fingers crossed, and I’ll be more careful around the fenders.”

“Whoops,” I interject, as I stumble again.

“Bob,” Cernan continued. “I’m going to do one other thing real quick here. I’ve got to dust my visor off.”

“Gene, do you want me to do that?” I offer.

“No, I can do it. I’ll just do it right here. Only have to do it in a couple of places right in front of me… He proceeded to swipe the lens brush across his visor. “That didn’t do much good, did it. Someone should have told me that. That’s just really screwed it up. …Okay. Bob, you might ought to be thinking of a good way to clean that visor when I get in the cabin.”

“Okay, we’ll put someone on that,” replied Parker. Cernan was fighting negatively charged dust particles resulting from unbonded electrons at the surfaces of particles caused by having been formed in a vacuum. This caused the dust to move around into streaks rather than come off the obviously positively charged visor. Fortunately, this visor dust only was a major problem when looking toward the Sun.

“Okay,” Cernan says, as he reviews his Checklist items. “ ‘LRV Equipment Check’. Blankets are open 100 percent; TV/Sunshade is on; SEP receiver/antenna, Nav cable; we’ve got 4, 5, 6, and 7 on the (seismic) charges. …I’ve got three [gravity] measurements complete; I’ve got the drill, the bag, and the neutron flux [probe], the TV camera. …[Houston] I’m taking it (TV) away from you. …Sorry about that, Ed [Fendell]. Okay. [LCRU] Mode switch is going to 1. …Mode switch is 1. I’m ready to drive to the ALSEP site. Still want to park 60 [m] – east and north [of the Central Station].”

“Okay, Geno,” interrupted Parker. “And before you leave the LM there, how about giving me another [Rover] Batt[ery] Temp[erature] reading. Those were a little high [earlier] and we’d like to try and verify some of that stuff.

“Boy, oh boy,” Cernan moaned as he launched himself on to his seat. “Yeah, I get you Bob. …Boy, oh boy. You just got to be careful where you kick dust.”

“That’s right,” I agreed, having just kicked dust on the RTG pallet.

“Boy! Don’t do that again. …Yeah, Bob, I thought they (the battery temperatures) were a little high, too. …Okay. Batt Temps are 100 and 120, right now.”

“Okay. How about tapping the meter a little bit for us?”

“Well, I think the meter’s been tapped [a lot] since we’ve been working on the Rover,” argued Cernan, but he tapped the gauges, anyway. “Yeah; 100 and 120.”


“…[Lets] get this baby started. …Okay. I’m going to be heading west. The Low Gain is [set on] 270 [degrees]. …Okay, Jack, I’m on the way.” The Low Gain Antenna needed to be pointed within roughly 30º of the Earth so Cernan would need to adjust the pointing if he changed direction more than about 15º. As the handle to do this was just in front of the Rover steering T-handle, this would be a relatively easy task.

“Okay, and Geno,” Parker said, “we’d like to vary the parking a little bit because of this [battery temperature problem]. We’d like to try and get those batteries cooled down. We’d like to have you park about 60 feet north [rather than northeast] of the Central Station…and facing east. Facing down-Sun (Parker should have said ‘up-Sun’ as the battern covers opened away from the front of the Rover.). And then we’ll open the battery covers.” This configuration would both shade the battery radiators and expose them to deep space cold (+4º K).

“Hey, Bob, I can’t read you, but ‘facing east’ and ‘down-Sun’ are not the same,” Cernan pointed out.

“Well, approximately there,” Parker waffled, unsure of the information he had just received from the Rover support group at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville.

While Mission Control re-examined the parking instructions, Cernan spotted the leveling block that had come off the ALSEP pallet on my way out. “Jack, you need your block? I got it right here.”

“You’re on the Rover, aren’t you?” I questioned.

“I got it, wait a minute.”

“Hey, Geno,” Parker finally broke in after several tries, “we mean up-Sun. Sorry about that.”

“I got your block coming, Jack.”

“Okay.” This was typical of Cernan. I had already said I did not need the block, but he was bound and determined to pick it up, apparently, just to show that he could. More time wasted.

“Boy, it doesn’t take much to get those battery covers dirty,” Cernan said, as he kicked dust on the battery covers getting back on the Rover.

“Okay, Gene,” Parker tried again, “did you copy me that we meant facing up-Sun?”

“Yeah, Bob. …What did I do, get fatter?” wondered Cernan as he tried to buckle in. “Okay; must have got fat…”

“Bob, the [RTG] shorting plug meter is 90 percent scale to the right,” I reported after releasing the three Boyd-Bolts securing the RTG cable to its pallet.

“Okay, copy that.” While Cernan and Parker chatted, I had first disconnected the carry bar from both pallets and placed the RTG about 3 m to the east of the Station. Before rotating the RTG base to rest on the surface, I pulled pins helping to secure the Heat Flow Experiment’s (HFE) electronics box and the Lunar Ejecta and Meteorite Experiment (LEAM) to that pallet. Since Cernan had been delayed, I went ahead and offloaded the HFE electronics, moved that box out of the way to the north, and connected and locked its flat electrical cable to the Central Station. I had left the Station on its side so that the electrical connectors stayed accessible. Then, I unstowed the RTG-to-Station cable and gave Parker the shorting plug meter reading. The shorting plug allowed the power already being generated by the fueled RTG to run back through a resistance in the system.

“Okay, Bob, give me that parking heading again, would you?” requested Cernan.

“Okay, we’d like you to park facing the Sun – how’s that for being definite – about 60 feet north of the Central Station.”

“Sixty feet north of Central Station,” Cernan re-stated. “I can’t park a little northeast? Huh?” Cernan seemed puzzled and decided to ignore the instruction to park northeast at a spot that would provide better TV coverage. “Now, okay, and you want the battery covers open?”

“That’s affirmative, Gene. And that means you will have to dust them before you open them.”

“Yeah, I guess so. Man, am I glad I didn’t land up here, Jack!

“So am I.” This ALSEP deployment area is not nearly as smooth as where the Challenger now sat.

“Okay, ALSEP is connected; [that is,] RTG is connected,” I told Parker (Fig. 10.9).

Fig. 10.9. The ALSEP Radioisotopic Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) set to the east of the Central Station with the Lunar Ejecta and Meteorites Experiment (LEAM) deployed behind it in the mid-field. The LEAM’s orange ribbon power and telemetry cable connects the Central Station. The shadowed East Massif rises in the background beyond the long eastward reach of the basaltic floor of the Valley of Taurus-Littrow. (NASA photo AS17-147-22583).

“Is that where you’re going to have the Central Station, huh?” Cernan asked, not having paid any attention to the previous discussions while he worked on the broken fender.

“Well, Geno, that’s the best I can do without spending a lot more time.”


“And let me talk to you about it. I asked them about this depression.”


“Your (heat flow) probes are all right out in here,” I said, indicating the shallow depression. “And if you get in the bottom of it (the depression) for the [probes]…either this one, or go out there – essentially in the straight line between you and me now – [there’s] another depression [that] would be good for the neutron flux…You need to be over that way… You’re just a [bit to far east]…”

“Yeah, they want me to park about here where…”

“You need to be over here,” I repeated, trying to get Cernan to park according to the original plan, having been pre-occupied, as Cernan had been, with my own problems.

“Where’s Central Station, right there, huh?” he asked, trying to get re-oriented.

“You need to [park at 45º]…”

“Yeah, I’ve got to park [facing] in the Sun for [shading] the batteries.”

“Oh, okay,” I agreed, finally recalling the previous conversation he had had with Parker in the background of my own discussion on positioning the ALSEP.

“Okay, about 60 feet northeast. How does it look behind me?” Cernan asked.

“Okay, 17,” Parker interrupted, again demonstrating that he does not always pay attention to what we are doing, “for your planning, we’re now about 20 minutes behind the timeline.”

“That’s good, Gene. That’s good …You’re cutting out, Bob. You’ll have to wait…” Cernan has not adjusted the Low Gain antenna as he maneuvered.

“What are you [saying], Bob?” asked Cernan.

“Roger, we’re about twenty minutes behind the timeline, two-zero minutes,” Parker repeated.

“Okay. Well, I guess it could be worse, considering a couple of things.” This loss of time is a combination of Cernan’s unexpected delay to work on the fender, and my prolonged search for a good site for the ALSEP. “Okay, about time I got those batteries. Okay, Jack, let me give you this first, so I can get to work.”

“Oh, the [leveling] block,” I said, having already leveled the Central Station without it.


“I’m sorry, I forgot you had it. …Thank you…”

“Okay, where are we?” Cernan asked himself and began to refer to his Cuff Checklist covering arrival at the ALSEP site. “Park [at] sixty [feet] north heading. …Okay, 15 Volt [switch] is OFF. Let me double-check that while I was thinking of something [else]. Wouldn’t want this Rover to go rolling over the terrain without me. Okay, it (power) is OFF. ‘[LCRU] Mode switch, position 3, Dust TV/TCU (Television Control Unit)’, and the whole works, huh? …Okay, there’s TV Remote [switch position]. …Okay, Bob. You’re aligned on the high gain…and you’re in [Mode switch] position 3. …Okay, let me get these [battery] covers dusted. …Well, that’s a consolation. It’s not as hard to get at the covers as one might think,” added Cernan as he reached over the wheels rather than the LCRU.

“I’m working on the LEAM connection [to the Central Station] now, Bob,” I said to update Mission Control on my progress, having been interrupted by Cernan’s arrival. The LEAM measured the flux of small impacts in terms of their energy, momentum, velocity and direction to source.[28]

“I copy that, Jack.”

“Say, it’s hard to hit that garbage pile,” I complained. The “garbage pile” consisted of an area within the ALSEP deployment site where I hoped to leave all the packing materials that had protected the ALSEP and its experiments during launch and landing. The garbage pile had two functions: first, to get things out from under foot and, second, just to be neat. Neatness proved difficult, as I usually overthrew the point at which I was aiming.

“Roger. Understand you also have the heat flow connector connected by now?”

“Yes, sir,” I answered. Cernan’s arrival had prevented a timely report of this action.

“I’m a little late, Jack, ‘til I get these battery covers opened.

“Okay. I got the heat flow [electronics box ready] for you,” I informed Cernan.


“Well, the old LEAM connector doesn’t connect,” I complained, “just like usual [in training] – or lock.”

“I’m not going to touch (dust) the batteries,” declared Cernan. “The covers are clean, and the batteries themselves are clean. The LCRU has been dusted and…so has the TV.”

“Okay…it’s (LEAM connector) locked,” I finally reported. “LEAM’s locked on. …I’m going to use this [block to level the Central Station]…” I worked without talking for much of the ALSEP deployment period, except when there seemed to be a problem. With the LEAM and HFE connected, I could move the Station from its side and put it right side up. All the other experiments had been launched in the electrically connected configuration.

“Okay, Bob,” I heard Cernan say, “The battery covers are in the shade …Well, well, well, well. Okay; I hope that helps. Whoo! I’m going to go to MAX (cooling) for a minute here. Do you buy that?”

“Okay, Geno. We copy.”

“It seems hot in the valley of Taurus,” I commented.”

“Okay. Oh, man, is that [cold]. …Whoo! Yeah, I’m going back to INTERMEDIATE. …Okay, Bob. I’m ready to go to work.”

“Good,” Parker replied.

“I’m going to push the Gravimeter [GRAV button]. …You have a MARK.”

“Copy that.”

“It’s blinking, and remember what I said, it’s a piece of cake to take on and off [the Rover].” Cernan continued with items on his Cuff Checklist: “This is north over here, huh? …Okay. ‘Off-load Heat Flow, 10 [feet] Northwest.’ “ Taking the second UHT off the Central Station and clipping it to his “yo-yo”, a retractable line from his hip, he added, “You [already] got the connector connected. ‘Carry heat flow 30 [feet north]. Place on ground, experiment up.’ Okay. I’m going to do that, Jack. Keep your eye on cables. …Oh, man, all I could do is go downhill over here… Jack, do you read?”

“Yeah,” I answered


“I’m just trying to level [the Central Station]…”

“Are you going to move that (Central Station) very much [from where it is]?”

“No, I’m just…I’ll be working with it to try to level it. That’s going to be a major task.” In addition to not exploring the valley, I was not happy with the time being wasted leveling something that should have been self-leveling. I had done a calculation of the cost per man minute for about 22 EVA hours on the lunar surface with the total mission cost, in 1972 dollars, being about $500 million. The answer was about $380,000!

“Okay, there’s 30 feet,” Cernan said as he moved to near where he would start drilling. “I’ll get this thing (Heat Flow pallet) squared away when I [need the probes]. …Okay, Boyd-Bolt time,” Cernan said as he had his first lunar encounter with Boyd-Bolts, in this case, the fasteners holding the Heat Flow components together.

“Ha, whee! That really went,” I said as I use a UHT to flip a small piece of trash well over the garbage pile.

“Man, these things (Boyd-Bolts) are just like they are at the Cape. You can feel every one of them [release]. …Hey, Bob, has Ron been able to see the LM?

“Stand by. I’ll find out…”

“Oh, oh…first cable hook,” I said, sheepishly.

“You all right?” Cernan asked. I had released the Lunar Surface Gravimeter (LSG) from the Central Station by removing four Boyd-Bolts in a specific order to avoid excessive jarring of the internal sensor. Then, I began to move around the Station to the south to head west 25 feet to set up the Gravimeter and, in the process, I hooked a foot on the LEAM electrical line. With a one-sixth g hop, I untangled my foot before the LEAM turned over.

“Yep. I’ll straighten it (the LEAM) up in a minute. …Okay. The LSG is going out. …I hope this does the things that we want it to for [us]…”, that is, detect gravity waves from deep space. The basis for the experiment lay in sensing the free oscillations of the Moon when such whole body oscillations occurred simultaneously in the Earth. In reality, the Earth-Moon system would become a single giant gravitational oscillator. If it worked, and sensed a gravity wave, the LSG team probably would win a Nobel Prize!

“Bob,” I continued, “I’m not doing too badly on keeping things clean. The base of the Central Station got some stuff (dust) on it, but, otherwise, it’s pretty good.”

“Okay, Jack. We appreciate your efforts, and we understand you got the LEAM connected eventually.” Parker had missed my report of this and should have asked someone else in the room before asking me.

“Yes, and it locked; just took some diddling. Okay. Sun’s over there…” I had to deploy and tilt a Sunshade to minimize solar heating of the LSG. “Oops, I forgot my Boyd-Bolts [holding the shade]. Let’s see.”

As Cernan prepared to drill his first hole for a Heat Flow probe, he said, “Now, I never drilled a hole where there’s not a can.” We always had trained for lunar drilling by standing on top of a large can in which regolith stimulant had been packed. My good friend David Carrier, an expert on the geotechnical properties of the regolith, had developed a packing technique that came close to duplicating the very tightly packed in situ material. Of course, he could not duplicate those properties resulting from having been crushed in a 10-12torr vacuum.

“Boyd-Bolts are off [the LSG sunshade]. …Bob, does it bother him (Joe Weber, the LSG Principle Investigator) that the base of the LSG is touching soil? Because, this [regolith] is pretty soft [at the surface]…” I had no answer from Parker for longer than I felt I should wait. “Bob, did you give me an answer?” I asked, impatiently.

“Roger. Ron thinks he has seen it (the LM),” answering Cernan’s lower priority, earlier question rather than focusing on what I was trying to accomplish with the LSG. “We haven’t had a confirmation on the last orbit when you were talking to him, but he thinks he saw it the previous orbit.”

“Hey, hey, Bob. Hey, Bob,” I was getting increasingly upset with Parker’s lack of attention and apparently no one around him is paying attention, either.


“Can the base of the LSG be touching the soil?”

“Stand by on that. …Roger, Jack.”

“Well, it’s very soft and it’s going to be very hard to level [without the legs sinking in].”

“Roger, Jack. The base can be touching the ground.” Jim Lovell, speaking for the Science Support Room, finally had broken through to Parker.

“Okay. It’s leveled, aligned [relative to the Sun], the Sunshield is shaded inside (that is, topside). The level bubble is just touching the outer circle, or the “1” circle. …And I improved that. It’s perfectly centered now and I’m going to uncage. …Whoops! …The experiment moved. …It’s still [a] pretty good level. Okay, it’s uncaged; the gimbal is swinging.” I could see the gimbal through a window on top.

“Okay. Copy that. …And Jack, you’re still in MAX…”

“The bubble is back just touching [the ‘1’ line]. …Yeah, I know [I’m in MAX] …I’ve been working, man,” but I went ahead and decreased the cooling level. “I went to ‘pseudo intermediate’, between MINIMUM and INTERMEDIATE. …The [level] bubble [on the LSG] is just touching the circle, and the Sun alignment is good.” A shadow cast by a small gnomon on the LSG permitted a relatively precise Sun alignment even though we were 23 North Latitude and the Sun had risen to about 10 degrees above the eastern horizon.

“Roger,” Parker responded. “Copy that. Thank you.”

Meanwhile, Cernan prepared to drill fluted, composite hole casings (Heat Flow drill stems) into the regolith. The two sets of Heat Flow probes would be inserted into these casings. The drill stems and their probes were contained in two boxes attached to the HFE that I took off the RTG pallet earlier. Cernan now moved the HFE about 20 feet north to the location I had selected for placement of the probes. Using the UHT to release four Boyd-Bolts holding the probe boxes to the subpallet, and then using the UHT to carry the boxes, he then placed the probe boxes about 18 feet east and west of the Electronics package. The probes were attached to the Electronics package by cables. He then released four more Boyd-Bolts and the Electronics package came free of the subpallet, for which I later will have another use. Once Cernan had the Electronics package set up between the probe boxes, and then aligned properly with the Sun for thermal control, he began to assemble the drill.

Looking at what Cernan had done so far, I said, “Okay, Gene. You’ve got some good slack here [in the HFE cables], if you can leave it that way. You shouldn’t have the cable draped across anything; that’s good.” I was referring to trying to keep all the cables against the surface of the regolith and not suspended across craters or draped over rocks.

“Okay,” Cernan replied, “I want to try and get this thing (level bubble) in there (the circle). It won’t… There it is.” He is working on leveling the Heat Flow Electronics package.

Meanwhile, I re-adjusted the RTG and Central Station positions a little to get them and their connecting power cable at an optimum relation to each other.

Realizing that Cernan has some problem, I ask, “Can I help you, Gene?”

“No. I got a little dust in this mirror, though.” He meant the white surface of the Electronics package. “I want to make sure I…Bob, I got a little dust on the white surface – not on the mirror – of the Heat Flow [Electronics package]. You got any recommendations?”

“Stand by on that, Jack,” Parker said, briefly confusing our voices. “Gene. Is that on the heat reflector?” He meant heat “radiator”.

“Yeah,” Cernan answered, again confusing the mirror, that is, the heat radiator, with the passive thermal surface that is painted white. “It’s on the north side.”

“Okay. As long as it’s not on the mirror, it’s okay, Gene.”

“Well, let me take another look. I’ll double check.”

“Watch it,” I shouted, as I started to remove the Lunar Seismic Profiling Experiment’s (LSPE)[29] geophone module from the Central Station. “You’re pulling pretty hard [on the HFE cable to the Station].

“Yeah, I’m watching…”

“You’re pulling,” I repeated.

“I’m watching; I’m not pulling,” Cernan insisted. It must have been the lunar gnomes, then. “Okay. The [HFE] mirror’s clean.”

“Okay; then, it’s good enough,” confirmed Parker.”

“Give me some more [HFE cable] slack up here,” I requested, “you’re draped [across a crater].”

“Okay…okay. That’s where it’s (the cable) going, Jack. Right there… How’s that?”

“That’s good, I said, but still used my UHT to adjust the cable so it lay down in the crater.”

“Got enough [slack]?”

“This way just a little, Geno. That’s good. Doesn’t take much.”

“Man, we sure didn’t need blocks or anything out here,” Cernan observed, finally realizing what I had told him earlier. “There’s enough soil here to level almost anything.”

“But it’s so soft, though, it’s hard to get a best level… Whoops!” As I finished releasing the four Boyd-Bolts holding the geophone module to the Station pallet, I reached down to retrieve the reel of cable and geophones and accidentally released the thermal/dust cover for the Seismic Profiling electronics. This normally would have been done after the electronics module had been placed about 30 feet south of the Station, so it would not be a problem “That’s strange. I think I did something wrong,” I said, sheepishly.

“What’s that?” Cernan questioned.

“Pulled the [thermal cover] pin at the wrong time.

“Okay,” said Cernan without any concern. “The Heat Flow [Electronics package] is level; the gnomon [shadow] is good. And, Bob, I verified that that dirt is not on the mirror. It’s on the white stuff that, you know, is horizontal to the [top] surface of the box… The mirror’s clean.

“Roger. Thank you.

“Okay, I’ll give you a TGE reading.” Cernan had returned to the Rover to retrieve the drill he had strapped into my seat.

“We’re ready.”

“Okay; 670 002 601. 670 002 601.”

Now, one by one, I took the marking-anchoring flags for the geophones and one for the Electronics package, from their stowage on top of the now loose thermal cover and temporarily stuck them in the regolith next to the Central station. The flags serve a three fold purpose: they identify the geophone locations in photographs, they may help keep Cernan from driving over the geophone line at some point in the future, and they give me a sight line so that I can keep the geophone line straight relative to the flag I would use to anchor the LSPE’s electronics module.

“Bob,” queried Cernan, “was that [TGE measurement] with the [TV] camera running?”

“Roger. The camera’s been running all this time.

“That’s beautiful,” Cernan responded knowing that it appeared that TGE measurements could be taken with the instrument on the Rover and the TV in operation.

“Your [Rover battery] temperatures are down to 100 and maybe a skosh under 120, so maybe those batteries are cooling off.” Cernan and Parker forgot that these were the same temperatures noted earlier.

“Okay; good.”

“It’s sure good. I don’t want to walk on that third EVA. …I’m getting to like driving this machine…” At this point, Cernan is assembling the drill on my Rover seat. “Okay, pull pin 2. Pin 2 always comes after…comes before pin 1.

“I think that’s in the NASA documents now,” I joked, thinking Cernan was trying to be funny.

“What’s that?”

“ ‘Pin 2 comes before pin 1.’ ”

Laughing, having finally understood my reference to NASA’s extreme level of documentation, Cernan said, “Okay.”

“Reel 3 comes before reel 1 and 2, also,” I added, referring to the geophone deployment sequence… “I think I overdid that one,” I lamented as I really missed the trash pile with the geophone dust cover.

“Yeah, it went clean out of sight,” Parker observed as he watch the TV screen in the MOCR.

“But by all means, ‘watch reel 2’,” Parker said referring to one of the off-color inserts he had put in the Flight Plan.

“Oh, you think you’re so clever,” I responded, laughing… “Believe it or not, Bob, I’m anchoring the geophone module [with the fifth flag].” This might keep me from pulling the Seismic Profiling electronics package over as I walked away, deploying geophones.

“Hey, Jack,” Parker said, “it looks to us on the TV as though you’re anchoring the geophone module with a flag”. Parker may have been pretending to have not heard me, or, maybe he, once again, had been distracted. A lot goes on around the Capcom console in the MOCR and the Flight Director may ask a question at any time.

“Yeah, that’s what I’m doing,” playing along with Parker in what he may have intended to be the “Get Smart” style repetition gag. “I’m anchoring the geophone module with a flag.” (Get Smart was a popular TV spy sitcom of the late 1960s.)

“Okay; one leg, two legs, three legs,” Cernan noted as he assembled an inclined stand that will help him keep track of Heat Flow probe casings and, later, drill core stems. The stand also had a wrench attached for loosening tube and drill stem sections from the drill. “And none of them (fell off)…”

“Hey, Bob, remind me to police the garbage pile. …The garbage pile is turning out to be just like every other ALSEP deployment. It’s hard to control.” I began to release the three Boyd-Bolts holding the Lunar Mass Spectrometer (LMS) to the Central Station pallet. The formal, rarely used name for the LMS was the Lunar Atmospheric Composition Experiment (LACE)[30].

“And I understand all your legs came out okay, Geno, or didn’t come out [of their telescoping cylinders].”

“Yes, sir; they all came out okay.” With the over-used training mockup, the legs occasionally sprung out and dropped off.

“LMS ring is pulled,” I reported as the pin came loose to release the LMS from the Central Station. This let me carry the experiment box about 15 feet northeast with its electrical cable unwinding behind me (see Fig. 10.10)

Fig. 10.10. ALSEP deployment area with the Lunar Mass Spectrometer (LMS) in the foreground; the RTG (black and gray and black object) in front of the Central Station (white & gold box with antenna pointing over the South Massif to the Earth); the Lunar Surface Gravimeter (LSG) to the  right of the Central Station; and a pile of discarded packing items (trash) scattered to the left. Note also the electrical power and telemetry ribbon cables. The upper platform of the Central station is level, showing the general rightward slope of the area. (NASA photo AS17-134-20499).

“Amazing. Amazing,” repeated Cernan, as things went right for a change. “Okay, Bob. I’ve got my tools of the trade right here. I’m ready to go to work. Now, I put a mark in the deck [where Jack wants the first hole] …There it is; right there…” He is carrying his drill by a fabric loop attached to the handle, the special Heat Flow hole casings in a quiver-like bag, and the assembled tool stand.

“Hey, Bob, what have I forgotten? The package won’t rotate (release),” I said as I tried to rotate the LMS while it was attached to the UHT.

“Try rotating the UHT,” Parker suggested.

Thinking he was being his usual snippy self, I said, “No, I’m serious. …Oh, rotate the UHT, huh?”

“Yeah, remember that one?” Cernan obviously did.

“No… That’s right. I’m sorry,” I said, laughing as I realized my problem. “I knew it! I knew it would happen!” I had done the same thing in training; that is, forgotten that I needed to rotate the UHT in its socket to release the final lock holding the LMS to the pallet.

“Where’s your garbage pile, Jack? I can’t find yours…”

“Well, don’t worry about my garbage pile,” I replied, admitting that I had not been very good at tossing debris into one spot. “It turns out it looks very much like the [entire] ALSEP.”

“I made a mark over here that says that should be about [a] cable length,” Cernan said to himself as he continued to prepare for drilling.

“What am I doing over here?” I asked, as I realized that I had taken the LMS closer to Cernan’s first probe site than expected. “You’re awfully close.” Our many training deployments of the ALSEP had given me a good feeling where we should be in relation to each other at various times.

“No, I’m going right in here, Jack. Right here.”


“I can move it further…north,” Cernan offered.

“No. That’s all right. …No, this will be all right. I just want to keep [the LMS] away from you there…”. Cernan had gradually moved the Heat Flow site a little more east and south of my original plan and had ended up closer to where I wanted the LMS to go than I had expected. I just moved the LMS to a point more east-northeast of the Central Station.

As Cernan threaded the first probe drill stem and casing into the drill, he says, “We shall soon see how [thick] we [the regolith] are. I’m anxious to see what’s under this mantle.”

“So are we,” Parker responds.

[The idea that a coherent, relatively young “dark mantle” covered most of the valley had prevailed throughout our pre-mission discussions on the geology of Taurus-Littrow. The Geological Survey’s photo geological mappers thought it unlikely that the dark mantle was old or that it had been mixed with continuously forming regolith. We would learn more on this subject over the course of EVA-2.]

“Well, Bob, I hope I can drill you a couple of good holes…, and I know you do, too,” Cernan continued, but had trouble threading the drill stem in the drill, a task that is easy in shirtsleeves but a bear to do in a pressure suit.

“How about three [holes]?” Parker referred to a total of two Heat Flow probe holes and one deep core.

“Okay, Bob,” I called after this conversation was over, and I had left to deploy the Central Station, “the [LMS] arrow is [aligned] east/west, pointing west. The bubble is in the center. …If I’m lucky, it’ll stay there. …I’m more like east-northeast [of the Central Station]. I’m trying to keep a little further away from Gene. …Breakseal is OPEN.” The “Breakseal” held a nylon cover in place over the inlet port of the LMS. This port eventually would allow gas particles to enter, be ionized, and then passed through a mass spectrometer and counted. The inlet cover now could be commanded open and closed from Earth, but would be left closed until after we departed the valley.

“Okay, that was my mark [on the surface for the first probe],” Cernan said to himself. “Let me see. Double-check that cable length. I’d sure hate to drill a hole that was outside of the length of the cable.” He referred here to the cable from the probe to the Electronics package.

“Okay, Bob, the LMS is deployed,” I reported. “I’m policing the [garbage] site. The [LMS] screen is over the [inlet] port. …I’m going to move one big rock [before I deploy the Central Station].” Then I realized that the Central Station now appeared to be in a shallow depression in relation to the deployed experiments. “What am I doing down in here?” I asked myself.

This last comment got Cernan’s attention and, looking over, he asked, “What were you doing down in there?” giving us both a laugh, as he began to drill the first four-feet long section of Heat Flow casing into the regolith.

“And Bob, there’s a little bit of dust adhering to the sides of the LMS. And a few particles [covering], oh, …less than half a percent of the surface on the top. But, of course, you’re going to clean that one off (by removing the screen); so that’s all right.”

“That’s affirm; [if it is] on the top.”

“The north side has about a 10 or 15 percent dust cover.”

“Copy that,” Parker responded. “And, Geno, you’re leaning pretty heavy forward on that drill.” Of course, in one-sixth g, Cernan could not put a lot of force on the drill stem.

“Okay, Bob,” he replied. “She’s going in like she’s in some pretty dense stuff, and then I hit some rock here. I’ll watch it; I won’t lean forward. I’m not putting too much pressure on it.” Cernan would have a better feeling for the torque on the drill stem than those watching on television.

[Designing drill stems for penetrating the regolith had been a challenge, starting with Apollo 15. The basic mechanical problem is that the regolith, below the first few inches, is incompressible due to millions of years of micrometeorite tamping. This means that flutes on the outside of the stems had to provide a continuous spiral ramp to remove a volume of regolith to the surface greater than the total volume of the closed-end, bitted Heat Flow casing. The volume increase during drilling comes from disturbing the natural, closely packed regolith particles. With the rotary-percussive action of the drill, removing the “cuttings” just took time, patience and physical work. If the drill stem encountered a rock, it had to break its way through. With later core drilling, only the volume of the wall of the drill stem had to be removed by the outside flutes, as the interior volume would be retained in the stem as a core sample. Removing the core stem with the enclosed sample, however, would present its own problems.]

“It sounds to me like she’s chipping away through rock,” Cernan added. “…May be just a little-longer-drilling a hole than it was at the Cape…” The “sound” he heard results from drill vibrations being transmitted through his gloves into the air in the suit. The ON-OFF switch on the handle of the drill was a “deadman” switch, that is, Cernan had to hold it ON. This increased forearm fatigue, significantly, and require frequent stops to rest. “Bob, she’s going in; but not without a little bit of resistance.”

“Roger. We’re observing that, Geno,” said Parker, as Fendell kept close watch on the drilling with the Rover television camera.

“Every once in a while she breaks through a soft spot,” Cernan observed. These “soft” spots would be buried ejecta blankets than had never been fully compacted before being covered by new ejecta.

Meanwhile, I had turned to setting up and activating the Central Station, now devoid of all the previously attached experiments. First, I had to stabilize and level the base – not an easy task given the softness of the surface and my lack of fine motor skills in the pressure suit.

“Bob, I’ll tell you, this Central Station’s a bear…a bear…to get level. …Well, I just got dust on it now. It’s (the regolith surface) just too soft.”

Cernan, in the meantime, has reached a depth with the first Heat Flow drill stem that he has to uncouple the stem from the drill and attach another section. After a stumble reaching for the wrench, he partially kneels and successfully rotates the drill counter-clockwise and releases it from the stem. “Boy,” he comments, “that sure was drilling in hard stuff because it took a lot to get it [the drill] off [the stem]…” Cernan then sets the drill down, upside down, but in trying to remove the wrench from the drill stem, he stumbles again. Then, he resorts to a dynamic knee bend and grab and finally gets hold of the wrench. In reaction to all this activity, Cernan said, “I can just see what John’s [Young] thinking right now. That’s what makes the difference. That’s where you expend your energy [in doing all the little things]…” He now threads one of two, two-foot long drill stem sections on to the stem protruding from the regolith, re-attaches the drill and begins to drill again.

During all of this activity at the drill site, Parker came back with a response to my comment about dust on the top of the Central Station. “Okay, Jack. And we could certainly stand a little bit of dust, at least, on top of that Central Station Sunshield.

“Yeah, I guess the level’s [more] important.”

“Roger,” Parker agreed. Actually, I had two constraints: level and aligned properly relative to the Sun. Accurate alignment meant the ALSEP antenna would be pointed toward Earth for our specific lunar Latitude and Longitude.

“Bob, I don’t know that I’m going to be able to do that without [using] a lot of time. It’s (the level bubble) hanging against the south edge [of the fluid container].”

“Say again there, Jack,” Parker asks, as my frustration with his lack of attention grows. One obvious consequence of having the TV on the screen in the MOCR was that Parker and others were watching it.

“I don’t know whether I’m going to be able to level the Central Station…” This problem again may have been due to the relative strength of surface tension, in one-sixth g, between the bubble and the side of the fluid container.

“Anything I can do, Jack?” Cernan asks while he joins the second stem to the first.

“Okay. I got it (the level bubble) off the edge.” I finally had resorted to jerking the Station several times to break the surface tension. I do not recall this being a problem with previous ALSEPs.

“Okay; maybe we better just leave it there,” Parker suggested.”

“Ahh!” I exclaimed in frustration. “Well, I’m making it worse by getting dust on the top.

“No, the dust on the top is not as important as getting it leveled, Jack. But if you get it (the bubble) broken off the edge, that ought to be good enough.” Parker is finally listening to Lovell from the Science Support Room.

“Bob, I’m riding at about 3.82 [psi suit pressure],” reports Cernan, taking a voluntary break. “…I’ve got, oh, I guess about 80…well, no, …I guess, 60 percent [oxygen]; no flags and no tones.”

“Copy that, Geno,” acknowledges Parker. This time, as Cernan resumes drilling, his heart rate will climb from 130 bpm to 145 by the time he finishes emplacing the second, two-foot stem section for this first Heat Flow probe.

“Okay, Bob,” I reported, finally. “It’s (the Station’s level bubble) touching the second ring; the gnomon [shadow] is aligned, and I’m going to leave it alone.”

“Roger on that.”

“Yeah, I think I lost all the time I might have made up.” I continue to try to fine-tune the level and alignment, however, clearly spending too much time on this for any significant improvement – bad judgment in the heat of the moment.

“Hey, Bob,” Cernan called as the drill twisted in his hands. “It’s obvious that I’m going through some pretty tough stuff – (through) consolidated material, like rock fragments – and then it breaks through; and then it jumps for about 3 or 4 inches and then I hit some more fragments.”

“Roger. We’re seeing that Geno. Looks interesting.”

“Oh, me. I got too low on that one (stem section). I thought I had that gauged…” Instead of leaving the section projecting about a foot from the regolith, Cernan will have to work with only about 4 inches as he attaches the second two-foot section. Fortunately, he can lean on the attached drill to work the wrench and then use the unattached drill for support while he threads in the second stem section. Pausing, he looks over at what I am doing and says, “[When] you deploy that [southern-most] geophone, you’ll go out of sight. …Bob, there would be absolutely no way of breaking this drill from those bores [stems] without that tool (wrench), I guarantee you that. …I think I found a way to get this off, though, with a little help [from leaning on the drill]. Okay, number 3 [stem] coming up.”

“Roger. The third and last one on this hole,” commented Parker, unnecessarily.

“Yes, sir. …Oh, boy! Time out.”

“Don’t work too hard,” I warned.

“My fender’s still on,” Cernan mused as he rested, “which makes me happy. …I’ll tell you, if you could come and sprinkle the whole area with water and get rid of some of this dust…”

“Okay, Geno. And can you remember if those heat flow cables are not crossed as they come out of that box?” Parker had just received a question from Lovell.

“Yes, sir. I very definitely made a point of not crossing them.

“Okay; very good.”

“They are not crossed.”

“Oh, ho, ho, ho,” I broke in. “ ‘Where do we find such men?’ ” I asked, rhetorically, quoting from James Michener’s 1954 novel, “The Bridges at Toko Ri.” I had finally leveled the Central Station to my satisfaction.

“How’s it coming, Jack?” Cernan inquired.

“Oh, slow. This leveling is really throwing me behind the power curve; but I know they’re serious about it, so, if I can keep it where it is now, I’m ‘in like Flynn’[31]. It’s (the level bubble) perfectly centered. Even the gnomon is aligned within a shadow width…”

“Man, is that thing (the drill) biting,” Cernan said.

“Really working down there, are you?” I sympathized.

“Oh, you betcha, man. I’m in something tough [stuff] down there now. Whew!”

“Well, what bore [stem] are you in?”

“Number 3. If I let go of that drill, and it kept running…if that drill kept running, and I wasn’t anchored to the ground, (he chuckles) it would throw me over the Massif. In tangential turns, …I think I’m in the mother lode down there.”

“Gene, if it’s getting really tough and you’re not making much progress, we’ll be happy with it where it is,” Parker asserts… Well, it looks like you really…”

“No, sir, you’re going to be happy with it where it’s supposed to be; and that’s where it is…”

“You were hiding it from us…”

“Yes, sir.”

“[From the TV,] We couldn’t tell how deep in you were.

“I wanted to surprise you. They’re going in all the way, and they’re both going to work. …Gets a little tough looking into the Sun.”

“Yeah,” I agreed while I worked on full deployment of the Central Station.

“Oh, Manischewitz!” exclaimed Cernan as he finally broke the drill free of the last bore stem. …I don’t know where I picked that word up,” he said as I laughed, “but it’s better than some, …I guess. Now if I can use my little lean-tool (the drill) here, …oh, man, that works great! That works great. …Put this (the drill) out of the way. …Bob, I’m into the white marks [near the top of the bore stem]; it depends on what you want to call the surface. You know, give or take 6 or 8 inches…”

“Yeah, something like that will do, Gene, I guess,” waffled Parker. “We can measure it [from the photos Jack takes, later].”

“Gene,” I asked, continuing to try to get a little geology done, “is the stuff (the drill cuttings) coming up changing color on you at all?”

“No, Jack. It isn’t changing color. I can’t even tell where it’s coming up… I don’t think it (the cuttings) is coming up. I think I’m just pushing it aside.” Because of the usual, near incompressibility of the regolith, some cuttings must have worked their way up the flutes or the bore stems would have not penetrated as far as they did. This suggests that the full depth of the bore stem is in regolith and did not reach material that had never been exposed to space weathering or was not part of the dark mantle. As Cernan had reported encountering some “soft” intervals as he drilled, “pushing it aside” probably did occur in those sections and also where larger fragments are concentrated.

“Ho ho! Ho ho!” I laugh as the Central Station springs up to its full height of about three feet. Releasing two Boyd-Bolts had allowed me to remove a cover protecting the folded, rear curtain of the Station. Then, releasing three more Boyd-Bolts and several pins and brackets freed the ALSEP communications antenna mast and cable. Finally, release of 16 perimeter and 3 interior Boyd-Bolts allowed me to rotate and extend the antenna mast and then guide the top of the Station up and into position. As the top moved upward, the four, side thermal curtains unfolded, simultaneously.

“I saw something come up just then, Jack,” Parker commented. The MOCR’s view of my activities was somewhat distant as the Rover was about 50m northeast of the Central Station.

“…The old ALSEP Central Station,” I drawled. “Yeah, it deploys itself; it turns out.”

“Roger on that,” Parker said. “That was…pretty amazing.” The spring system worked much better in one-sixth gravity than during training on Earth.

“I finally leveled it (the bubble) in the bull’s eye,” I reported. “I don’t know whether you heard me or not, but it was perfect. So it’s okay. It’s got about 20 percent dust cover on the [Station] top.” Also, with the thermal curtains up, I could discard their protective covers into the garbage pile and secure the curtains in place with small Teflon Velcro straps.

[The use of Teflon in the form of Velcro came as the result of the Apollo 204 fire in January 1967; but it never performed nearly as well as the original Velcro.]

Back at the Heat Flow site, Cernan said, “Sure glad you’ve got that probe covered [in a bag],” referring to protecting the probe from all the dust he had kicked around during the emplacement of the probe’s casing.

“And, Jack, ALSEP [people] says that that’s okay; that twenty percent’s no problem [relative to dust on the Station top].”

“Okay. …I put a rock under the northwest corner. Oops. Guess what happened?” I laughed. “Just like in training, Geno.”

“What happened?

“The old geophone cable caught on the corner [of the LSPE module] Okay. …Oops, I’m not ready [to deploy geophones, yet].”

As Cernan removes Heat Flow probe #1 from its bag, he notes some printing on the bag. “That says ‘F4B’ on that; that’s an airplane!” Cernan’s “F4B” reference here is to the McDonnell F-4B Phantom fighter-bomber “Houston, there’s no dust on the probe except that which was on my hands.”

“Okay. Copy that,” responded Parker.

“That must be solar wind,” Cernan said, but I have no idea to what this referred, unless he had just passed gas.

“Sorry not to be more talkative,” I interjected, “but this [Central Station] is taking all the concentration I got.”

“I’m going to have to push this [probe] down [into the casing], I can see that.” Cernan would assemble a long, thin rammer to push the probe to the bottom of the casing, but first he had to get the probe started in the hole. This was accomplished by some deep knee bends, as he no longer had the drill close by on which to lean.

“You know,” I complained, “this [Teflon] Velcro doesn’t hold [these curtains] any better here than it did in training.”

“Oh, don’t lose that, Geno,” Cernan said to himself. “Don’t lose that. Don’t lose that. …Notice how you talk to yourself out here?”

“Who, me?” I answered, feigning astonishment. …” ‘Help’, I says. ‘You is getting farther and farther behind.’ ”

“Well, I’ve had my one ‘whoops’ for today,” Cernan said after recovering from a spinning throw of the probe bag.

“Your one what?” I asked.

“Well, I just did my ‘whifferdill.’”

“Oh, did you fall?”

“No. It’s funny how for every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction, isn’t it?” Cernan declared as he extended the telescoping probe rammer from about a foot and a half to its full four-foot length.

“Hey, I’ve heard that before,” I responded. “ ‘Secure thermal curtains’. Thermal curtains are secured… How far behind am I, Bob?”

“Stand by…We’re showing Gene just about 20 minutes; and Jack just about 25. Between 20 and 25 [minutes] for both of you.”

“Okay. …How are our consumables?” As I gathered up debris into the garbage pile and moved to set up the Central Station antenna, I knew that we would have much less time than planned for actual exploration on this EVA.

“Oh, if this thing isn’t going to work better than that!” Cernan exclaims as he has trouble getting the rammer into the bore stem, but finally succeeds. A slot in the circular “washer” at the end of the rammer allows it to slide down the probe cable. “Bob, just like the book says, it’s (the rammer) down to Papa 1; and it (the probe) hooked.” Papa 1 is a mark on the rammer that, when at the top of the bore stem shows that the probe is fully inserted. The end of the probe locked into a clip at the bottom of the inside of the bore stem.

“How about that,” Parker comments.

“Oh, boy! The old fingers really suffer on these. Now Cernan has to push thermal shields into the bore stem. These will be between the probe and the three heat sensors on the cable that will remain on the surface.

“Take it easy,” I advise.

“Okay. Now this one [thermal shield] [is] down to F1 [on the rammer]. Would you believe ‘F1’?”

“I believe you, Gene,” said Parker.

“Bob, in this soil, best number I can give you [for the top of the regolith outside the bore stem] is about an inch below the white spots, or Bravo 1. …I got a better way of putting that last thermal shield on, though. …Okay, Bob, you’re looking at it (the cable) coming out [of the bore stem] to the south, but I don’t expect it’ll stay that way unless I put some dirt over the cable. How’s that grab you?”

“Stand by, Gene.”

“You like that thermal shield the way it is?” Cernan asks again. “Okay. That’s coming out south. That’s in good shape. I’m pleased with that.”

“Dirt’s okay, if you want to put it on there, Gene.”

“I’ll tell you, I’m happy with it. I’m moving on. …Now, the thermal shield is on there, Bob. I got them all on there.” At this point, Cernan drops his wrench, but retrieves it easily with the “washer” end of the rammer.

“If you want to put some dirt on there to hold it down, that’s okay.”

“Oh, okay. Well, I got it down [on the surface] without the dirt. …I’m just finding all sorts of good ways to make life easier out here,” Cernan says as he moves west to the second probe location. “Stay away from the cables,” he warns himself. “Bob, and I didn’t forget the last [protruding stem height] measurement either… Hey, can you see this big mound that’s just…[I mean], not a mound but the depression that’s just to the north of me?… It’s probably behind the Rover.”

“Roger, 17; Houston sees it.”

“Well, how’s that look for the core?” Cernan asks, planning ahead for where he will drill for the deep core. The hole left by extracting the core then will be used for emplacement of the Neutron Flux Probe.

“Stand by. …Geno, can you give us a distance estimate to that? Does it look like it’s 80 feet or so [from the RTG]?”


“Okay. Then that sounds good.”

[We mixed the units of measurement used on the Moon between the metric and English systems. Generally, I tried to use metric units for geological descriptions; however, in many instances, English units were embedded in the history of the various experiments as well as in our life-long experience in the United States. Overall, design and manufacture of Apollo systems used English units, flight of Apollo spacecraft used nautical units, and work on the Moon used metric units. Somehow, we kept it all straight.]

“Oh, shucks!” Cernan says as he drops the wrench again, but then easily picks it up with the rammer.

During Cernan’s trials with the drilling, I have been working on getting the ALSEP antenna in place on the Central Station. The large gimbal for antenna mounting and pointing was held to the LEAM pallet by two Boyd-Bolts. After retrieving the gimbal and removing the dust cover from around its protective box, I attached the gimbal to the top of the antenna mast I had anchored to the base of the Central Station. The gimbal’s protective box came off easily once I pulled the single retaining pin. Then, I tried to level the gimbal using thumbscrews that adjusted two, opposed tube level bubbles.

“Hey, Bob, is there any way a level bubble can fail?” I asked after several attempts to get the bubble to the center of its small tube. This strange question brought a laugh from Cernan.

“Hey, Jack,” Parker came back, thinking that I meant the level bubble on the top of the Central Station I had previously used to level the Station base. “Remember that’s on top of those wobbly springs there. And with the thing not being straight, you shouldn’t really expect the level bubble to be level after the thing’s been deployed. That happened at the Cape a couple of times, remember?”

“Yeah; but Bob,” I continued, not realizing his confusion, “I’ve moved this [gimbal mount] practically all the way down the full throw [of the thumbscrews] and that bubble won’t move, and I can’t get it to move by tilting it… And the bubble on the top of the Central Station is still level (centered).”

“You’re talking about the level on your other one (the antenna gimbal), huh? Stand by on that.”

“The gimbal, yeah, …both of them (the opposed levels) [are a problem]. I can’t get it (the bubbles) to move to the other side of the fluid [in its tube].”

“Keep working,” was Cernan’s advice, as he threads the four-foot bore stem section on the drill in preparation for drilling the second Heat Flow probe hole. “That thing shouldn’t fail.”

“Well, I’ve gone full throw. That’s not level. That bubble’s stuck in there, somehow, in both of them…” Then, I looked to where the antenna would be mounted. “That’s not even pointing close to the Earth. Okay, I’m going to have to tweak it up [manually] …Let them see the signal strength and tweak it.”

“Why don’t you try and manually point it,” Parker followed my line of thinking. “Try and level it and see what you can do toward getting it [aimed] towards the Earth.”

“I will, Bob. That bubble’s just not working. I can’t figure that one out.” Surface tension between the bubble and the wall of the fluid vial appears to have been stronger than the weak, one-sixth g induced buoyancy force. “…Okay. Maybe I jarred it loose here. …I think I jarred it loose.” When in doubt, tap it!

“That’s another first,” Parker added.

“Don’t ask me how [I did it].”

“Okay, we won’t.”

“And I got the other one loose. That’s very strange! A sticky level bubble,” I said with a laugh. “Never heard of it.” The antenna itself, still on the top of the Station, could now be mounted firmly on the gimbal. My Cuff Checklist had the Latitude and Longitude setting (20.2N and 30.8E) for setting the gimbal and with those entered, all that remained was to attach the antenna.

“Hey, Bob, …if you’re looking at me, what I’m talking about is this depression in here for the core,” Cernan called, resting from his drill emplacement of the second Heat Flow casing and pointing north. “Oh, maybe 15, 20 meters out in here. Jack, what did you have in mind for the Neutron Flux?’ Cernan was referring to the Lunar Neutron Probe Experiment.

“Either [in] the one (depression) you’re down in, there,” I suggested, “or [in] next one over behind that rock in front of you over there.” My original plan had been to use the depression behind the rock.

“Oh yeah, I can go way over there. That’s not too far probably for…”

“Well, either way I think is fine, Gene. But I would suggest behind the rock.”

“For a Neutron Flux, huh?”

“Yes, sir; and the core.” Being both in a depression and behind a rock relative to the RTG location would reduce or eliminate any artificial neutron flux from the RTG’s Plutonium-238 fuel. As mentioned earlier, after extracting the deep drill core, Cernan would insert the Neutron Probe into the core hole. We would leave the probe in the regolith until near the end of EVA-3, and then retrieve it and bring it back to Earth for analysis.

“Well,” Cernan said, deciding to argue a little. “I thought they wanted a core in that depression.”

“Well, there’s also one over there [behind that rock]… We can give them a choice.”

“I’ll go behind that rock; that looks good from here.”

And, Seventeen,” joined in Parker after talking with the Science Support Room, “we think you guys are in by far the best position to judge that; far better than we are. You know what the requirements are on shielding and [separation from the RTG] greater than 50 meters…[correction], 25 meters.”

“Okay, Bob,” responded Cernan. We had practiced deploying the ALSEP in all its parts many times as part of our training. In addition, as a member of Apollo 14’s Backup Crew, Cernan had deployed a similar, but smaller package a number of times. I had done the same with a more complex package with Dick Gordon as a member of the Apollo 15 Backup Crew. This gave us both a lot of background to deal with the complications that this particular site presented.

“Okay. The long bore [stem] is in,” Cernan reported, referring to the four-feet long, first section of drill stem for the second Heat Flow probe.

Watching on MOCR TV, Parker commented, “Looked like that one went in fairly well.”

“Well, probably about like the other one did. Not too bad.” Cernan had learned a lot of lessons working on emplacing the first probe. “…Oh, I must be getting old. I expect the next two are going to be a little harder…”

“Bob, I’m not very happy with this [antenna gimbal] level,” I interjected. “But I’ll turn it (the Central Station) on. Have me come back a little bit later, when they’ve warmed up some more, and let’s see what it looks like.” I was thinking that the fluid in the level vials might have been colder and more viscous than normal.

“Okay. We’ll do that,” Parker promised. “Give me a mark when you turn it on, and we’ll see what kind of signals we get.

“Okay. The gnomon [shadow] is aligned,” I verified. “I’m going to turn the shorting plug ON. …It’s ON.”


“And the needle is full scale left.” This gauge reading showed that no current is flowing though the shorting plug and, presumably, is now powering the Central Station.

“Copy that.”

“I can’t believe that,” Cernan says. He has completed inserting the four-foot section, has removed the drill, and now is trying to thread the first, two-foot section to the first.

“What’s the problem?” I inquired.

“Well, that whole bore [stem] turns in the ground, it’s so loose. You know how those threads sometimes stick on you a little bit? [Well,] I got one stuck halfway down [the threads] and the whole bore is turning, so now I’ve got to use a wrench on it (the bore stem in the ground) [to keep it from turning].” Having the bore stems fully threaded to each other is critical to provide an uninterrupted spiral to the flutes that will transport cuttings out of the hole.

“Bob, I’ve got a [large] rock about 10 feet southeast of my LEAM location,” I observed, as I reached a point about 8 m southeast of the Central Station. “I can move a little more north and get, oh, 15 feet from that [rock]. That okay?” I did not want the rock to intercept any potential micro-meteor or ejecta impactors on the LEAM.

“How big is the rock there, Jack?” Parker asks.

“Oh, …It’s a meter wide and stands about a third of a meter high.”

“About a third…about a foot high?” translates Parker.

“A third of a meter,” I repeated, pulling the leg of the so-called “scientist astronaut” who should speak “Metric.”

“Okay.” With that answer from Parker, I released the four legs that would support the LEAM and set it on the surface.

[Almost forty years later, the LEAM data would later be part of the basis for NASA awarding its Ames Research Center a contract for the development and launch of the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE).[32] After we left the Moon, LEAM appeared to record the movement of dust across the valley floor with the passage of each Sunrise and Sunset lunar terminator. LADEE grew out of this apparent evidence of electrostatic levitation of very fine dust particles, combined with a terminator-related horizon glow imaged by Surveyor cameras and later observed by Cernan, Evans and me near spacecraft Sunrise while in lunar orbit (see Chapter 14).[33] An Orbital Sciences’ Minotaur V rocket launched the LADEE spacecraft to the Moon in 2013. (Coincidentally, I have been a Director of Orbital since 1983.)

A problem facing the hypothesis of lunar dust levitation remains that astronauts observed that most rock surfaces were clean and showed no sign of the accumulation of dust. I pointed out this fact repeatedly during the years since the levitated dust hypothesis appeared. For rocks to be clean over time, any levitated dust must either not move laterally or must never be redeposited. It has been suggested that the LEAM data suggesting dust migration may be an artifact of electrical interference.[34] Also, LADEE did not show any signs of levitated dust; however, this has not stopped the debate.]

“Bob, how’s that for soil mechanics?” Cernan asks from the site of the second Heat Flow probe. The lower bore stem has moved upward as he works on the threading. “I pulled the first bore right on out trying to get this thing on right.

“Well, put it [back] in before your hole fills up there, Geno,” quips Parker.

“Yeah. Right now I’m interested in getting this second bore [stem] on. …Now, let’s see if I can get it back in! …Well, not quite as far, but high enough for me to reach the [drill] handle. It still feels, Bob, like there’s a lot of fragmental material down there.”

“I copy that, Geno. Good luck.”

“That was an interesting little exercise,” reflects Cernan. “Well, I got the bore [stem] on right, anyway…”

“Well, shoot,” I said, apparently in reaction to another level bubble.

“Okay, Jack,” Parker came back to me with an answer to my question about the rock near the LEAM. “As long as it’s (the rock) only one foot high and 10 feet away, that’s satisfactory.”

“Okay. …Okay, Bob, the LEAM’s deployed, aligned, and the level bubble is just touching the inner ring.”

“Hey, Bob,” Cernan called. “Did you get anything from the ALSEP yet?

“We started to tell you that when you had the question there, and we’re getting a good lockup on the data.”

“Well, keep an eye on it (the signal strength),” I requested, “because I’m not happy with the [gimbal] level.”

“Okay. We’ll get back with you on that.

“I’ll check. Make me check it (the level). …I found a way to get over cables [by hopping]. Bee-doop!” laughing as I provide sound effects.

“Oh, Manischewitz. Whew!” exclaimed Cernan.”

“There you go again,” a phrase that would later become famous through its use by President Ronald Reagan. I was kidding Cernan about his substitute for swearing. I had moved over toward where he was working and used my UHT to pick up the pallet that had held the various components of the Heat Flow Experiment. The pallet had a special connector so that it could be the base for the LSPE antenna, needed to communicate with the seismic charges we would deploy later.

“I know. Let me get this one (bore stem) off [the drill] and take a bite of candy (fruit stick) here,” replied Cernan.

I’m kind of having trouble with UHTs today,” I explained as the HFE pallet falls off. “They just don’t want to lock in when you get dust in there.”

“Hey, Jack. Be careful with that UHT on the Heat Flow because it was aligned, real good.”

“It was what?” I ask, but puzzled because I was not working with the Heat Flow electronics box.

“The Heat Flow electronics, when you go over there for that UHT, was aligned.” Cernan had left his UHT in the HFE and thought I was going to take it.

“Oh, yeah.” I finally gave up trying to re-engauge my dusty UHT in the pallet, rotated it 180 degrees, and used its handle to lift and carry the pallet by the latter’s handle.

“Bob,” Cernan called, “I’m going to take a zap of cold [cooling] water. …Whee! Almost looks like it’s getting dark out. Is it? Guess not.”

This comment made me laugh and give out with a reasonably good, Amos and Andy impersonation: “Hope not, or “we is in trouble”.” (“Amos and Andy” was a very popular radio comedy program during the 1930s and 40s.) I was in the process of retrieving the LSPE antenna from the top of the Central Station.

“I think I may have gone the wrong way [on the cooling],” Cernan said. “I did. I went to MIN instead of MAX. Here it comes. …Oh, boy! Oh, boy! …Man. [Jack] Watch it! Okay, Jack. You’re all right. Still deploying [the antenna line].


“Still deploying. Nothing; you’re all right.” Cernan mistakenly had thought I had reached the end of the cable and did not know it.

“It’s (the antenna line) coming out a little hard… Wouldn’t you know it?” I carried the LSPE antenna about 40 feet northwest of the Station and extended it to a full length of almost six feet.

“Okay. I’m back in MIN, Bob,” Cernan reports, then asks, “By any chance [do you] have any heat flow data yet?”

“No, Geno. We don’t have the heat flow turned on yet.

“Oh, that’s right. …I think that’s right. …I’m about to give you your number.…Oh, God darn it!” Cernan has knocked over the drill he had standing upside down on its top near the bore stem projecting from the ground. I laughed when I looked around to see if he was okay. Misery loves company.

“Crank it (the drill) a couple of times,” Cernan said to himself. “Clean as a whistle! Clean as a whistle.”

“Well, just like I thought,” I said, “the antenna doesn’t want to go in [the pallet socket].” The socket has aluminum foil over it to keep it clean. “There, it’s in,” with the help of the UHT to break through the foil.

“Is that the number 3 section there, Geno?” asks Parker, who should have been keeping track.

“Yes, sir, Bob. …Well, it’s the last one I got,” he laughs. “I guess we’ll find out when I put the probe in. I think they’re all in there.”

“Okay. I’m about ready to deploy some geophones,” I reported. Starting at the geophone module I had previously set down and tried to anchor about 30 feet south of the Central Station, the array will have three arms. #1 geophone goes 150 feet east; #2, 150 feet west; #3, 88 feet south; and #4, 260 feet also to the south.

“Okay, Jack. Did you get the antenna into that subpallet okay, eventually?” Parker asks.

“Yes.” Again, someone was not listening. Before starting out with the geophones, I cleaned things up some more around the garbage area. By this time, I had learned how to move quickly from foot to foot and change directions quite easily.

“Bob, I occasionally hit stuff and it spits this whole drill back at me. Knocks it back about a half an inch or so, and then it will bite through it… My general impression is that there is an awful lot of fragments I’m busting up down there.” Whenever the bit on the end of the core stem hit something that stopped it, the drill would kick back. “I’ll tell you, Bob, [in] that last 6 inches, I really came into something hard; but it’s (the bore stem) down all the way.”

“Beautiful, Geno,” responded Parker.

[Post-mission examination of the upper meter of the deep drill core (70001-70009) showed that between 18 and 83cm there are abundant coarse basalt fragments. X-ray radiography on the core also indicated that the remaining length of the core had six additional fragment-rich layers interspersed with much finer-grained and probably more mature regolith. Cernan probably encountered similar rocky layers as he drilled the Hear Flow hole.]

Oops, there’s a heat flow probe,” I noted, running to the Rover to get my camera and the gnomon to document geophone emplacements. Going to the Rover was the first time I could get up a little speed using my cross-country, foot-to-foot gait. Losing my balance once, I easily hopped on one foot a couple of times to regain it and kept going. As I approached the heat flow probe site, I used a high, two-footed hop to go over it.”

“What happened?” Cernan asked.

“I messed up [on my path to the Rover],” I replied.

“Man, don’t hit that [core stem]. Give me heart failure after all that drilling.”

“No, I just walked too close to it. I apologize for that.”

“I don’t care how close you walk to it…”

“Well, Mark (Langseth) does.”

“Just don’t step on it…” The Principle Investigator for the Heat Flow Experiment hoped for as little disturbance of the surface around the probes as possible so that the diurnal temperature variations would be normal. Of course, Cernan had disturbed the entire area during drilling, so I could not make it much worse. Many years later, detailed analysis of the Hear Flow data indicates that the temperatures in the holes gradually increased over the five years data was collected.[35] This increase may be due to a change in the thermal insulating properties of the regolith surface due to its great disturbance during drilling.

“I do that (walk near the probes)…in training, though…” This hardly made a good justification for doing it on the Moon when it counted.

“Ooh,” grunted Cernan, now using the wrench to remove the drill from the last bore stem at the second Heat Flow probe hole. His breath came in hard gasps. “Hey, Bob, just out of curiosity, what kind of heart rates has this drill been producing on me?”

“Stand by…Okay, you’ve been running at 120 flush, Gene, with peaks of 140 to 150 from time to time.”


“And there goes the last heat flow hole on the Moon,” Parker said, sadly.

“Yes, sir. I tell you, if you learn how to use your instruments in this one-sixth g – you take your time and you get around – it’s frankly phenomenal. But if you try and bend over without some help; [it’s] not so phenomenal. …Boy, what a ride that Challenger gave us coming down. What a ride. …Oh, you dummy. You dummy,” Cernan said to himself as he dropped the second probe bag… “Jack, you still with me?”

“Yeah.” I was on my way from the Rover to the LSPE module to get the geophones.

“Okay. …Boy, I’m getting dropsies now. Getting dropsies,” as his hands have tired to the point that he dropped the wrench again.

“Don’t push it,” I again advised.

“Getting dropsies.”

“Take a rest.”

Unbelievable. Unbelievable.” Cernan had just tossed some packing and watched it arch a long way across the surface.

“Okay, Geno,” Parker breaks in. “And the [first] heat flow [probe] is on and looking good.”

“That’s good news, Bob. Let me give you another one (probe) here. …While it’s (the outside of the bore stem) dirty, I’ll tell you I’m in to the bottom of the white marks [on the bore stem]… And that’s, oh, about Bravo 1 again.

“Okay, I copy. Papa 1, Foxtrot 1, and Bravo 1?, Parker replied, but he had not “copied” what Cernan was saying.

“No, sir, Bob. No, the bore stem is in to the top of the white marks; I’m still putting the probe down. …And the top of the white marks is about Bravo 1.”

“Copy that.”

“About Bravo 1 [on the rammer]. Okay. Here goes the probe. …Pick a number [on the rammer] you’d like to hear. How about Papa 1?” That indicates the deepest possible depth for the lower part of the probe.

“How about Papa 1 there, Geno,” says Parker, playing along with Cernan’s little game.

“Bingo, babe, you win; and it (the probe) locked in.”

“Roger. I think Mark won on that one, too.”

“Papa 1.” Cernan removes the rammer and begins to emplace the thermal shields.

“And, Jack,” Parker inquires, “I gather you are probably traipsing across the landscape with a geophone about now, right?

“That’s affirm.” I had the cable reel for geophone #3 rotating on the UHT and had almost reached its emplacement point about 30 m south of the geophone module and about 40 m from the Central Station. The geophones are small, 4×5 cm cylinders, each weighing about 1.8 kg. A 20 cm long rod on one side of the cylinder served as both a handle and a spike for helping to embed the geophone in the regolith. The technique for emplacement, simply, was to hold the geophone by its cable and step on its top as hard as possible.

“Good gravy!” Cernan yelled as he caught sight of me near the large rock we had seen from Challenger’s windows. “You know how big that rock [really is]?” It is about three meters tall, so I looked small in contrast.

Parker then interrupted with some out of context questions that could have waited until I returned to the Central Station area. “You said that the LEAM was leveled and aligned, and I gather that meant it (the Sun shadow) was on the black decal on top. Do you happen to remember what a number was on that?

Exasperated, I answered, “Well, I’ll check it! But I think you know where that decal is,” referring to all the pre-launch documentation that existed for the LEAM. Somebody in the MOCR was not screening questions from the Science Support Room.

“Well, okay. Good enough.”

“Okay, Bob,” Cernan reported, completing his work on the second Heat Flow probe. “The little [upper] thermal shield went to F-1.”

“Hey, that’s another bingo.”

“And it’s (the probe cable) coming out to the south,” added Cernan. “And the [top] thermal shield is in place.” Having the cable come out across the Sun line gave more uniform solar heating than if it had gone east or west. This simplified calculations of the thermal input the exposed cable introduced into the probe. These probes provided a second measurement of heat flow from the Moon, complementing that from similar probes emplaced at Hadley Rille by Apollo 15.[36]

With the cable reel for geophone #1 on the UHT and a flag in hand, I then headed east from the geophone module into the Sun. At about 50 m from the module, I stepped down on the geophone to embed its spike, set the flag, and headed back to the module for #2. This third geophone would be emplaced about 50 m west of the module.

“Do I need my javelin (rammer) anymore?” Cernan asked me.

“You might,” I replied, thinking that if a problem with a Heat Flow probe developed, we might have to extract it from a bore stem.

“Yeah, I might.”

“One never knows, Geno,” agreed Parker.

“I think I’ll save it until after I drill the [deep] core. …Oh, me oh my.”

“Take it easy, Geno,” I suggested. “You sound like you’re [tiring]…”

“No, I’m doing fine. …That Sun is just bright! I ought to put those visors down, I suppose; those other visors (side and top shades on the LEVA)… Let me take a look at my list (Cuff Checklist) and see whether I’ve got everything. …Measured, measured; height, height; you’ve got all the [thermal] shields; your [cables are] coming out south; verify Heat Flow [Electronics] is level and aligned. It is aligned and gnomon was good; UHT to the LRV LMP seat; and then what do I do? …Let me see – Deep Core Prep. Jack, I’m going to leave the UHT in the Heat Flow [Electronics] in case you need it.” The Checklist called for him to put it on my Rover seat. After earlier worrying about me disturbing this box, his reason for leaving the UHT there is not clear.


“I’m going to go behind a rock over there,” Cernan announced.

“Now, now,” I said in an admonishing tone, implying that he needed to pee and would do what any practicing field geologist would do, that is, “go behind a rock” to take care of business. Of course, this did not make any sense if one was in a pressure suit!

“In that depression. Bob, you do want the core in a depression, right?” Asking again about where to drill the deep core may have been a way of prolonging his rest. The shallow depression I had directed Cernan to lies about 30 m from the heat flow probes and just north of a large boulder sitting between the deep drill site and the RTG.

“That’s affirmative, Geno.”

“Okay, nobody touch my heat flow. It’s the prettiest job I’ve ever done. Okay, I’m going behind a boulder over here. …Bob, I’ve got about 3.85 [psi] and I guess about fifty percent [oxygen]. I can’t see it (the gauge) too well. …And no flags and no tone; and I’m on INTERMEDIATE coolant, and I feel great.”

“Likewise,” I agreed, “and LMP is five-six percent [oxygen]. …What are you [on oxygen], Geno?” I asked, concerned that we might be using oxygen at significantly different rates.

“Well. I can’t see it. The Sun was [masking the gauge]. …I don’t know, Jack. I can’t…I’m on about, …yeah, about 55 or 54.”


“Now, this [boulder] ought to shield that thing (the Neutron Flux probe) from the doggone [RTG],” Cernan said.

“Pressure’s 3.85 [psi] on the LMP. …Bob, one comment on getting the geophones within a few degrees of vertical. In this undulating terrain,” I said with a laugh at my understatement, “I think they’re pretty good; but it’s not real easy to tell what vertical is.” Geophone #1 ended up in irregularly shaped swale.

“Roger, Jack.”

“Well, this (core site) is right in…[a] shallow depression,” repeated Cernan, “and it’s right in line with the RTG, with a rock in the middle.”

“Okay, Geno,” Parker responded. “As long as you’re drilling behind the rock from the RTG, that’s great.” It seems, at times, that Parker forgets all the previous discussion of a matter like my placement of the site for the deep core drilling. On the other hand, he might have been trying to prolong Cernan’s rest.

“That’s where you’re going to get it. Let me see what I need. ‘Drill, rack, core bag. Drill at 1 IPS (inch per second).’. …Okay, let’s go do it right… Let me see, I’m going to put it right in this depression. Right in it.” Cernan quickly carried his gear to the deep drill site.

“Yeah, get the middle of that [depression],” I encouraged.

“It’s a shallow one. If I go over there, I’m not shielded, Jack.”

“No, that’s good. Get in the middle. Get it in that place.”

“Right in this little [area]. …It’s only about a 4-meter (diameter) depression,” Cernan says. After all the earlier discussion, it is not clear why he seems uncertain.

“Oh, wait a minute,” I said, turning to look. “Oh, you’re on the other side of the rock. Okay, [go for it].” During this exchange, I had picked up geophone #2 and headed west, finally implanting it and its flag in the designated position at about 50 m, in line with #1 and the LSPE Electronics package and perpendicular to the line going to #3.

As I skied into the Sun, returning to the module for geophone #4, I leaned forward on a well illuminated, meter-high rock to key my mind on the colors of the various minerals I could identify. I also wanted to see if I could see any mineral lining the numerous vesicles in the rocks. Unlike vesicles in Apollo 11 basalts I had studied, the walls of these vesicles had recrystallized into more irregular cavities or vugs due to slower cooling. The various rock minerals are easily identified. Ilmenite (FeTiO4) is very shiny and black; Ca-pyroxene is dark green and iridescent; and Ca-rich plagioclase (anorthite) is a translucent very light gray, almost white. Micro-meteor impacts into pyroxene produced a small, central mass of milky greenish glass while impacts into anorthite gave a milky white glass. These impacts also shattered the anorthite crystals, creating a distinctive white spot around the small blob of glass.

“Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I want to get back here,” Cernan talked as he adjusted his position one more time.

“That’s good,” I agreed from a distance.

“Oh, man, go slow,” Cernan directed himself as he inserted the first core stem with the cutting bit into the drill.

As I continued my run back to the geophone module, I said, “Bob, all of these big boulders around here that I’ve looked at are the same rock type, that is, the gabbro discussed earlier. Ooh. Who pulled over the geophone module? …Can’t imagine,” I said facetiously. “…Okay. That sounds like the title of a book, [‘Who pulled over the geophone module?’].” I had gone a little too far with geophone #2 and pulled the module over on its side.

“Oh, oh. There it went,” Cernan moaned.

“What happened?

“Oh, I lost my vise [in the dust]. …I see it. I see it.” The wrench used to release the Heat Flow bore stems from the drill now became a vise. When attached to the Geo-Pallet, Cernan eventually would use it to break apart sections of the 3.2 m deep core for capping.

“Hope I took (geophone) number 1 in the right direction …Yep. Okay, number 4 will be a little hard to pick up [having become buried a little].”

“Boy, all these little craters are filled with glass,” Cernan commented as the vise-wrench eluded his tongs. “Come on back here. I’ve got to chase this thing over the lunar surface.

“I’ve seen glass covers [on the bottoms of craters],” I told him. “Oh, about out towards there, I guess,” I muse, as I sighted a line to the south and along the same line as geophone #3.

“How is it going, Gene?” I asked.

“Fine. I’m on my second [core] stem, here. Or I’m starting on it. How are you coming?”

“Okay. I’m just about ready to pick up the biggie – Geophone #4.”

“Hah! Have a good time,” Cernan said.

“Talk about seven league boots!” I exclaimed. I continued back to the LSPE module for geophone #4, covering the ~50 m in 33 seconds (5.4 kph) with 30 strides.[37]

[Clearly, I had become more and more comfortable with my skiing approach to moving across the surface. My heart rate was only about 120 bpm, and I felt that this pace could be held for a long time, as is the case with cross-country skiing. With a set of poles for balance and as an aid in turning, I suspect that I could have equaled the Rover’s speed of 10-12 kph over this type of terrain and possibly do better than that. A pressure suit with improved hip and ankle mobility would definitely enhance this technique and reduce energy consumption.]

Parker broke in with, “And Geno, how are you doing? We’ve been watching Jack traipse back and forth across the Moon.

“I’m getting there, Bob. I’m trying to fit…put stem number 2 on [number one].”

“And, Jack, how’s the visibility back to the center geophone [#3].”

“How’s the vis?” What the heck did he mean by that question? Was this a prearranged code I had forgotten? “…Not bad,” I answered, hesitantly.

“Okay. You’re not having to worry about extra photos yet?”

“No; I’ve been checking it (frame count). … Bob, my biggest problem is that the [geophone] flags don’t anchor [well]. In general, the [connecting] lines are following the contours… Whoops – whoops – whoops…” I should have said “crossing” the contours, as the Principle Investigator Robert Kovach wanted the lines to be in contact with the ground, even across craters, possibly to lessen any secondary vibrations.

“As I was saying, Bob,” talking geology as I skied to the south, “all these big blocks that I’ve looked at look like the gabbroic rock that I was talking about [earlier]: possibly upwards of 50 percent plagioclase rather than 30 [percent] like the mare, but an intermediate [composition] gabbro of some kind. And one big block, there, had very-sharply defined, parallel parting planes. I think there is a foliation (parallel orientation of flat crystals) of minerals that parallels that parting, but I’ll have to check it out. …Those parting planes go through the whole boulder – [the boulder being] on the order of at least 3 meters long…in outcrop.” These boulders projecting out of the regolith, of course, were not true “outcrop”, and I probably should have avoided using this term except for rock masses connected directly to bedrock, if and when we saw any. The foliation resulting from mineral orientations implied such foliation had been caused by stress during viscous flow of largely crystallized lava rather than by sheer forces produced by impact.

“Well, try another one. Doggonit,” Cernan said as he worked to thread core stems together.

“What’s the problem, Geno?” enquired Parker. “It won’t screw on?”

“Oh, yeah. It’s no problem. You know, it’s the same problem you always have [with threads]. You get these threads, [and] you get a little side force on them and, you know, with the helmet and gloves and what have you, you can’t [feel] what is happening]. … Sometimes they go on easy; sometimes they don’t… Okay. I got this one on now.”

“Boy, do I have a ball of spaghetti here,” I observed, noting all the cables in the area. “But the geophones are going in the right direction. I hope you don’t have an EMI (electromagnetic interference) problem. Can the geophone lines cross, Bob?”

“Stand by on that. …Okay; no problem, Jack, [with the lines crossing],” Parker advised.

“Okay,” I acknowledged. “Hey, if you see me start to pull over that (geophone) module there…”

“Hey, don’t do that,” Cernan ordered from afar.

“No, I mean…oh, I won’t hurt it (the module). It’s just that it (pulling the cables) stretches the [lines of] other geophones tight.”

“Okay. Well, right now we’re watching Gene,” admitted Parker.

“Don’t worry about it (watching for me). I’ll watch it. …The anchors are completely unsuccessful – on the module, anyway.”

“That looks pretty good, Geno.” Parker commented on the drilling progress.

“Not too bad, Bob,” replied Cernan. “The first core [section] was awful loose. I think I could have pulled it back out with my hands.”

“That’s not the idea,” Parker joked.

While resting before attaching the third and last core stem to those in the ground, Cernan says in a tired voice, “Oh boy, oh boy! …Speaking of ‘boy, oh boy’, are you a long way off,” he observed, looking to the south toward where I had gone. He should have rested longer, as he again was having trouble threading the core stems together. Then he knocked over the drill he was using for support, had to bob twice to grab the drill, operated the drill, and still had to get the wrench to get the drill off the core stem.

“Okay! Going to stop for a second, Bob.” He finally acquiesced to needing a break.

“We’ve observed your problem there getting the wrench off, Geno,” Parker said.

“Well, I had to get down [close] to get that third stem aligned and get it on there. This is the easy part, but I just got myself behind the [fatigue] power curve for a second.” Cernan has become tired enough to lose much of the coordinated efficiency he learned while drilling the Heat Flow probe holes.

After emplacing and taking a cross-Sun photograph of geophone #4 and its flag (Fig. 10.11), I used my skiing technique to return to geophone #3, covering the ~60 m in 25 seconds or at a speed of ~8.7 kph. With this style of running, I actually was rotating my hips inside the suit. Stopping could be done quickly by putting your heels out in front and letting them dig into the regolith. As I documented the location of geophone #3, Cernan returned to the Rover to prepare for drilling the deep core.

Fig. 10.11. View of the site of the ALSEP deployment from the location of Geophone #4, about 90 m south of the Central Station. Geophone Rock is the large boulder to the left and the 1600 m high North Massif forms the background against a black sky. (NASA photo AS17-147-22528).

“How’s the time, Bob?” I asked.

“Stand by. …Okay. Presuming you’re taking photos now on geophone 4, [and] having finished geophone 4, Jack, you’re about…right now. It looks like you’re about 15 minutes behind.”

“Okay.” I began to take a number of color photos to document the placement of geophones and their positions relative to other local features.

Fig. 10.12. The ALSEP deployment area viewed from about 65 m closer than in Fig. 10.11. Geophone #3 and the gnomon are in the foreground, with the Central Station in the middle ground, the RTG to the Station’s right, the LEAM further right, and the LRV in the more distant right. The North Massif is in the background, showing craters, two sets of surface lineations, boulders, and a large boulder track at right. (NASA photo AS17-147-22549).

“And no problem on the timeline so far.” Mission Control may see “no problem”, but I knew we were losing a lot of exploration time.

As I came back toward the Central Station after emplacing and photographing Geophone #4, I paused to look closely at the big boulder near Geophone #3 (this boulder came to be called “Geophone Rock”). The boulder (Fig. 10.11 ↑) may have been ejected from Camelot Crater, the near, east rim of which is 800 m to the west, so, after spending over two hours on ALSEP deployment, Geophone Rock presented my first opportunity to stand close and personal with a probable sample of the underlying bedrock (subfloor material). Finally, I could get within a few inches of the minerals and detailed rock texture.

Fig. 10.13. Image of the basalt mineral textures and fractures in Geophone Rock, an example of the variety of coarsely crystalline basalt I referred to as “gabbro”. Micro-meteor impacts, that have crushed light-colored plagioclase and produced the fine, white speckling on the boulder surface. This photo is one of a pair that provides a stereo view of the east face of the boulder and looks roughly along the planes of its dominant fracture set. (NASA photo AS17-147-22536).

From a distance, I had seen that Geophone Rock had been extensively fractured, with those fractures appearing to be subparallel to a dominant fracture that splits the boulder in two (Fig. 10.14).

Fig. 10.14. Detail from NASA photo AS17-147-22531 showing the dominant fracture through Geophone Rock as well as the prominent fillets of regolith along its base.

Close-up photographs (AS17-147-22533 to -36) indicate that the rock’s parting planes may be boundaries between zones containing about 10% vesicles and those with about 30% vesicles. These photographs also show extensive internal shattering of most of the rock. Photographs showing the large boulder between the Neutron Probe and the RTG (Fig. 10.15) and a boulder just west of the Central Station (Fig. 10.14, elongated boulder with right leaning fracture to the right of Geophone Rock), also exhibit sub-parallel fractures and structures similar to Geophone Rock.

Fig. 10.15. The boulder (R1) referred to in text is above the jack-and-treadle. The boulder shielded the Neutron Probe from RTG neutrons produced by the decay of radioactive plutonium-238. The gold mylar thermal protective cover over the probe is next to the jack. Geophone Rock is at the top of the photo. The other boulder (R3) can also be seen in Fig. 10.14 to the right of Geophone Rock. (NASA photo AS17-134-20504).

“Darn it!” Cernan suddenly exclaimed. “You know, Bob, one of the problems is I’m working in a small crater; and it’s just a little difficult to work on these slopes…” Finally, he said, “It’s on (threaded). I’m ready to put the drill in.”

“Okay, Geno.”

“Let me get the dust out of the bit (He meant the drill connection to the core stem) by blurping it (the motor). …Oh, man; okay [the drill is on the core stem]. …How am I doing, Bob, on the time?” Once again, Parker appears distracted and does not answer. …Jack, do you read me?”


“Okay, because I don’t see you.”

“I’m out by the big rock,” I reported.

“Oh, okay; I got you.”

“Man, I hope that hole doesn’t collapse,” worried Cernan. “I’m going to be awful disappointed [if it does]. …I think I could drive that heat flow flux…(correcting himself) or heat flow…or Neutron Flux in, at least for one probe, without any problem…” His tiredness is coming through with the lack of clarity in the comments. He rightly is worried that, if the hole collapses, the Neutron Flux probe will not go in as deeply as desired.

[My previous exposure to lunar samples had been limited to relatively small fragments returned by previous missions, but here I could examine textures and structures on a scale of several meters. In this case, I could confirm my earlier identification of pyroxene and plagioclase and the detailed characteristics of the small impact craters on the rock’s surface. These small impacts not only produced glass at the point of impact; but they created white halos of shattered plagioclase around those points. These white halos may have caused me to over-estimate the amount of plagioclase relative to pyroxene in the rocks. Rather than the 50-30 proportions I had just reported, post-mission examination showed that it was about 30% plagioclase and 50% pyroxene with about 15% ilmenite.

The micro-meteor impacts also created the mottled appearance I had described earlier from Challenger’s cabin. They did so by removing the brown, alumino-silicate glass patina around the points of impact. In removing the patina in one place, however, each impact would deposit additional brown glass in extremely thin, discontinuous layers of glass elsewhere on the rock in a process that increasingly darkened the non-impacted but exposed surfaces over time. Solar wind sputtering of the silicate mineral surfaces; however, appears to contribute about 90% of the glass to the patina as it does to the darkening of the regolith.[38] As the present patina is thin enough to see through, it may represent a steady state balance between deposition by both sputtering and impact and removal by micro-meteors (see Chapter 13 – Regolith Mixing and Maturation).]

After looking closely at Geophone Rock, I stood near Geophone #3 and took a full color panorama of the ALSEP area (AS17-147-22544 to -62). At the time, Cernan stood at the Rover, preparing the jack-and-treadle needed to extract the deep core.

“Okay. Bob,” commented Cernan, as I looked nose-to-nose at Geophone Rock, “if all goes well in the next few short moments, you’ll have the final, unleaded…core stem – automatic – in this area. On Apollo 17.” His comment about “unleaded” related to the requirement that the core stem be as free of lead as possible so as not to contaminate samples that might be analyzed using various radioisotopic systems that include lead. His mixing of various words and phrases again seem to reflect his tiredness.

“On a Monday evening,” added Parker to the “on Apollo 17” reference. In being jovial, Parker apparently did not pick up on how tired Cernan had become. Fortunately, he would recover quickly once the drilling and core extraction tasks were done.

“Yeah, on Monday evening. That is what it is, isn’t it? Hey, who’s winning the football game?,” Cernan asked.

“Stand by; we’ll find out. …Okay; and, Jack and Gene, the score is 10 to 10 at the half.”

“Yeah, that’s Oakland [Raiders] and who?” Cernan inquired as he rested.

“[New York] Jets…”

“Not Kansas City [Chiefs]? What am I thinking of?”

During this discussion of Monday Night Football, I started to take photos of the three other geophone locations, as identified by their flags, from a point about 25 feet southwest and southeast of #3 (Figs. 10.16, 10.17).

Fig. 10.16. Geophone #4 in the distance (marked by the white arrow) taken from the position described in the preceding paragraph. (NASA photo composite AS17-147-22557, -58).

Fig. 10.17. Geophone #1 (marked by the white arrow) taken from the same position as the previous photo. Wessex Cleft is in the background. (NASA photo AS17-147-22563).

“Hey, Bob,” Cernan asks, breathing hard after returning to drilling and taking the third core stem down about two feet, “would you settle for about 8 inches out of the ground? It’s about as low as I can get.”

“I haven’t heard from them recently,” I told him, as if it didn’t make much difference whether Parker listened or not.

“I know.” Had we actually lost communications, I am sure we would have continued with the EVA tasks and let Mission Control worry about fixing the problem.

“Okay, Geno,” Parker finally responds. “We’ll give you A minus for that.”

“There he is,” I exclaimed, referring to the lost Parker.

“But it’s still an A,” Parker added.

“Well, I’ll go lower if I could get an A plus. But I am going to accept an A minus, because I’ll never get the wrench on it if I go any lower. …I’m within an inch of the white stripes [on the core stem]. How’s that?”

“That sounds great to me. …And they’re worried up here that you didn’t clear the flutes, Geno. You want to tell them that, so they’ll be happy?”

“Yes, sir. I’ll tell them I did clear the flutes. …Yeah, I did. But if you want me to do it some more, I will.” The process of “clearing the flutes” consisted of running the drill while keeping the core stem from advancing. With the rotary-percussive motion of the drill, cuttings produced by the drilling would be forced to move up flutes on the side of the core stem and, hopefully, make it easier to extract the core stem from the hole.

“No, if you cleared, that’s sufficient …And, Jack, where are you lost on the plains of Taurus-Littrow, there?”

“I’m over HERRRRRE,” I called, ghost-like, from near Geophone Rock.

“He’s 180 (degrees) from where your camera [is looking],” added Cernan, helpfully, “from where I am…[look] right across the Rover.

“[Jack,] are you getting ready to take geophone photos or ALSEP photos?” inquired Parker.

“I’m getting ready to enable the old geophone [module].” A push button switch on the Central Station would allow me to do this.

“I take it that means you’ve taken the geophone photos.”

“Oh, yes, sir; and [as always] I forgot the gnomon! Ha, ha, ha.” I had left the gnomon at geophone #3, as I often had done in training.

“Hey, Jack,” Parker called, as I headed for the Central Station to enable the LSPE. “How about giving me a couple of quick readings here to satisfy some people. One, was there a decal on the LEAM that you aligned it (the Sun shadow) with? There’s some controversy down here that there’s no decal there; and the question is, if there isn’t, they want a reading out of the degrees. But we keep saying there’s a LEAM decal, and we can’t prove it.”

“I’ll go prove it, Bob. I’ll go by there. Stand by. …What’s the other question?”

“And the second question is, is there a decal [on the LSG] and was it (the Sun shadow) aligned on the shade…(correcting himself) [on] the 20-degree decal on the LSG. Was that also aligned?”

“Yes, sir. …The orange one (decal)…as per drawing.”

“Roger, sir.”

“As per drawing,” I repeated, somewhat irritated that that this information apparently was not available or studied in the Science Support Room.

“Roger. You don’t have to prove it to me.”

“Yes, I do [apparently]. Okay?” Poor Parker – he had to take the blame for the Support Room not doing its job. On the other hand, he should have pushed them harder to look this stuff up.

Meanwhile, trouble had started at the deep core site. Cernan took the drill off the core stem. Then he thought better of it and reattached it to the stem. He tried to pull the core stem out using the drill handles and only moved upwards about three inches, so he took the drill off the stem in preparation for using the specialized jack-and-treadle to inch the core out.

“Okay, Bob,” Cernan said as he began to describe his problem, “I was able to pull the core out with the drill – about 3 inches. And it’s all jacking material from there out.” Cernan was a strong man so some rocks must have rotated into the flutes on the core stem, jamming it in the hole, and preventing further movement.

“Okay, copy that, Geno,” Parker acknowledged. “And we finally got some word from the Cape to prove to people that there’s a decal on the LEAM, so you don’t have to go back by that, Jack. Just at the right time.”

“I already have [gone back]. It’s reading three-zero. And here’s the decal. …Okay. I guess I take ALSEP photos.”

“Good,” Cernan said, apparently happy that he will not have to do that time consuming and complex task. Had he been ahead of me in the timeline, he would have taken the photos according to an identical plan in his Cuff Checklist. The planned photographs consisted of nine panoramas, two in stereo, and 13 individual shots.

“Once more, I tempt the fate of the ‘god of the cables’,” I proclaimed, always worried about catching one of the many cables with a foot, as I started to move to the first of the various ALSEP photo positions.

“Okay; and, Jack,” Parker replied, “we’re getting ready here to try and save a little bit of time. And we’re saying that why don’t we just take two stereo pans for the ALSEP photos? The first stereo pan will be in the vicinity of the original stereo pan; and the second one, they suggested, will be to the northwest of that original one.”

“Northwest. Okay.”

“Yes, and I suggest that you go far enough [northwest] so that you can see the LEAM past the Central Station.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Hey, Bob,” Cernan then reported, “you’ll be interested to know [that] I just put a plug in the top of that core; and it disappeared from sight down the center of the core. I’ll put a cap on it (the core stem), too; but I want to plug it first. …I want to get the rammer to plug it down.”

“Hey, Bob,” I called, while Mission Control digested Cernan’s report on the plug, “where do you want the focus on the pan to be? …About 15 feet?”

“Stand by.” I started the first panorama of the entire ALSEP site from about 10 feet south of the Central Station (AS17-147 25565 to -87) without waiting for Parker’s response. In the course of this series of photographs, Cernan completed his task of retrieving the jack-and-treadle and headed back to the deep core site to begin extraction.

“Where’s my rammer?” Cernan asked himself. “There it is… Hey, Bob, that’s strange. That plug was too small for the core.”

“Hey, Jack,” Parker called as he finally gets back to the camera focus question. “You’ve got to focus it somewhat short… Well, between 74 feet…(that is), just a little short of 74 feet?”

“I’ve already taken it at 15, Bob. I think that’s pretty good.” The actual photographs appear to be focused at more than 15 feet as the Rover details are very sharp.

“Okay. We couldn’t get an answer.”

“It’s (15 feet) not a calibrated detent, but I don’t think you need it here.” The Hasselblad camera had several preset focus detents that had been calibrated for later photogrammetric analysis. I thought I had set the focus between two of these detents.


“How far northwest [for the second panorama]? …About the same position as the Heat Flow down-Suns…or, up-Suns?” At this point, I confused the two Sun directions for the Heat Flow probe site photos. Down Sun would be correct.

“Stand by. …Yes. That sounds pretty good to me, Jack.”

“Bob, I ran that plug three-quarters…, [make that] two-thirds of the way down the rammer, and it hit solid pay dirt. …And I’ll put a cap on it for you, too.” Except for the top section attached to the drill where the plug was too loose, this nine-section core has good regolith samples to a depth of about 3m.

“That’ll make people happy. …And, Jack, would you confirm for the ground that you got the LSP ENABLED?”

“No, I didn’t. You interrupted me. Good boy. I was on my way [to do that], and the LEAM [decal question] interrupted me. I’ll get it. …Keep after me [to get it].” The one thing that can negate the value of a checklist is an unexpected interruption that causes a skip of a procedure item. Meanwhile, I started the second panorama from northwest of the Central Station (AS17-147-22588 to -606). Fig. 10.18 shows the deployed Central Station as part of this panorama.

Fig. 10.18. ALSEP Central Station (CS) with Geophone Rock in the distance. The station is actually level with the apparent tilt due to the slope on which it is situated. The antenna points directly to the Earth. The CS switches are located at the bottom left of the station where the ribbon cable emerges. The gnomon is to the left of the station; some trash is visible at the left edge of the photo; and the Geophone Module (GM) is at the end of the thin cable from the station. Geophone #3 is just visible at the upper left edge of the photo. Bear Mountain and the east slope of the South Massif form the far horizon. (NASA photo AS17-147-22586).

“Bob, that’s cap Alpha that’s on the core.” Cernan has now fitted the jack handle to the flat treadle, slipped the forward hole in the treadle over the protruding core stem, and extended the jack handle to waist height. He then put his right foot on the treadle and pushed down on the handle to raise the core stem.

“Say again there, Geno. …Jack, you’re taking your second pan, right?”

“I’m not sure they’re hearing us all the time,” Cernan said to me.” I wasn’t sure they were paying attention all the time due to being distracted by the TV screen.

“Yeah,” I answered Parker, “but the camera just stopped.” I had run out of film, again.

“Oh, man!” Cernan exclaimed as he tried the first few strokes of the jack, gaining less than an inch with each effort.

“Okay, what…was your question, Geno?” Parker finally asked.

“I just said that was ‘cap Alpha on the core’. And let me tell you, it’s (the core stem) coming [out], but this thing (the core stem) is really in something [tight]. …Oh.”

“Would you believe I’m out of film, Bob?”

“I’m afraid I’ll have to.”

“Why didn’t I look at the [frame] number?” I lamented.

“You want to give me a frame count, Jack?”

“Mag Alpha (AS17-147) is empty. …It’s (frame count) 158.”

“Copy, 158. …Okay, Jack, we’re recommending [B&W] magazine Hotel (AS17-136), and we also suggest you take the second pan, when you retake it, at 74 feet.” Someone in the Science Back Room finally decided that my original 15 feet focus would be too close.


“Man,” Cernan breaths out, heavily, “it didn’t feel like this stuff (regolith) was that hard.” With his right foot on the treadle and the core stem to his right, Cernan raised the jack handle with his left arm to near vertical, seated it on the core stem, lowered the handle to about 45 degrees when it grabbed the stem firmly, and pushed down hard another 15-20 degrees. Going to his knees with each stroke, he gained only about an inch every 5-10 seconds as the fulcrum for the jack lay close to the core stem. Clearly, the jack was working against a rock jam somewhere along the core stem.

“What’s the problem, Geno?” I asked. “You need some help?”

“No, nothing you can do. Just jacking away. See if I can get this thing (core extraction) out of the way. …See if I can get it out, is what I’m really saying. …I may be jacking the treadle down into the surface.” The undisturbed regolith has a very high initial bearing strength due to its close packing of particles; but, as it is disturbed, it loosens, and the treadle began working its way down into less and less firm regolith.

“Change hands,” Cernan ordered himself, and turned 180 degrees and knelt so he could use his right arm on the jack.

Apparently unaware of Cernan’s difficulties, Parker, and Ray Zedekar at the EVA Console, stayed pre-occupied with photography. “Okay, Jack,” Parker finally transmitted, “if you haven’t put magazine Hotel on, we want to recall that and make it magazine Golf…Gail.”

“Well, Bob, I’ve already got it (Hotel or Helen) on [the camera].” I had returned to the Rover and changed magazines at Cernan’s seat.

“Okay. Sorry about that.” The Flight Controllers had a tough job with so much going on in the MOCR, that is, listening to two astronauts doing different tasks, trying to figure out what decisions they are making, tracking PLSS consumables, being distracted by the TV image on the big screen in front, adjusting the timeline due to delays, tracking film usage, and the like. Making a quick decision on something as routine as which film pack to recommend sometimes was difficult if the right person was not immediately accessible.

“Is that okay [to leave Hotel on the camera]?”

“Leave it on,” Parker conceded.

“I know what you want. You want color [film].”

“That’s affirm.”

“Well, anyway,” I said to myself as I looked through the film packs under the Rover seat. “That’s black and white also. …Gail is not [color]. …You mean Charlie! If you want color, you want Charlie.”

“Stand by, Jack, if you’re still at the Rover.”

“Well, I’m still here, but I got Hotel on.”

“Okay. Leave Hotel on. We goofed”.

“Well, okay,” I agreed. “We don’t have much time; otherwise I’d change it. I should have thought of that myself.”

“We got a little time,” Cernan countered, “because I’ve got a lot of jacking to do. …Man!” He was now actually rising up from his knees and dropping down on the jack handle with as much force as his one-sixth g weight of about 75 pounds would allow. His butt almost touched his heels with each stroke. I could not bend my knees that much in the pressure suit, but his longer legs gave him more leverage.

“Let me finish the pan and come and help you” I offered.

“Well, there’s not…not a lot you can do, Jack.” By myself, I doubt if I could have done as much as he could. Scott and Irwin had trouble extracting the deep core on Apollo 15, and the jack-and-treadle was supposed to make it easier. Scott actually injured his shoulder trying to pull the core out after putting that shoulder under the drill handle.

“I’ll get the Neutron Flux ready,” I declared, helpfully.

“Well, thanks a lot,” Cernan came back with a snorting laugh. …”Okay! Come on, baby,” he urges. “I’m going to get this thing out, now that I got it.”

“Boy, Geno, that’s what you call getting down into your work,” Parker added, unhelpfully.

“Bob, I’ll save my comments ‘til later. I hope this core is appreciated.”

“Roger, Gene. And I have word from the back room (Science Support Room) that it is appreciated.”

“Yeah, that makes me feel warm. I’ll get it! You’re going to have to bear with me. Man, I don’t know what it’s in.”

“I was afraid that would happen,” I interjected, “with all those rocks [down there to bind it up].”

“Yeah, but it didn’t go in that hard.” Cernan did not understand that rocks probably had rotated against the raised flutes of the core stem. Now, that rock had to be pushed away from the flutes into a nearly incompressible wall of regolith.

“Hey, Geno,” Parker called, probably with the Surgeon and Flight Director’s encouragement, “how about slacking off for a minute there. You’re going pretty hard.” Cernan’s heart rate was at 150 bpm and the calculated metabolic rate was about twice normal at 2000 BTU/hr.

“Okay. One more turn and I’ll get up. I’ve got to hit an easy spot sooner or later .…Aghh. You’re right, Bob. I’m going to take a rest. You betcha. …Man, I hate to say it, but I had that 25 percent of the way there. I can feel it (the heart) ticking now. … I’m going [MAX] cold.”

While Cernan took a very important breather, I finished the panoramas (AS17-136-20683 to -710). “Okay, Bob. I got your pans and a couple pictures of the heat flow probes. …Now, let’s see [what is next].”

[Large boulders appear in various frames of the ALSEP panoramas. Variations in the relative depth of micro-meteor erosion and the distribution of fractures and parting planes indicate that, had there been time to do so, an examination of a number of these boulders would have been interesting. Such variations could have provided insights into the systematic distribution of vesicles (holes produced by gas bubbles) and minerals in the original basalt unit from which the boulders were derived.]

“Okay, Jack,” Parker says. “If you’ve got the two separate pans there, we’re suggesting that since the CDR is still working on the core recovery, we suggest that you sample the large boulders and loose material on top of some of the smaller large boulders in the vicinity. Let’s do some sampling here while Geno’s pumping on the old jack. Unless you’ve got something that…”

“You want me to help him?” I asked, as Cernan started on the jack again.

“Well, unless you guys…think that two guys can do that better than one. I’m not sure.”

“Gene, you want me to spell (temporarily relieve) you a little?”

“Jack, I don’t think there’s a lot you can do. …Come on over here one minute.”

“Let’s see if I can [spell you]. …Well, I can use up some of my [cooling] water.” Too great an imbalance between our cooling water reserves would shorten the EVA if Cernan ran out before I did. Clearly, he had been expending energy at a much higher rate than required by my relatively easy skiing around the ALSEP site.

“Let’s see if I can’t get a bigger bite [on the core stem]. You on one end of the jack handle, and let me stand on the treadle and we might be able to get a bigger bite. See, I can’t get a very big bite. That’s one of the problems. …I just hope that jack doesn’t break.”

“And, Jack, could you verify we have the LSPE Enabled ON.” Parker, again, was out of sync with what we are doing.

“No, I’ll get it. I knew there was something I needed to do.”

“Get the jack end over here,” suggested Cernan. “Other side. …Let me put some weight here [from the right on the treadle]. See what kind of bite you can get.”

“Oh, man!” I exclaim, putting all my 61 pounds of lunar weight on the jack handle as my feet left the ground. I finally realized what Cernan has been going through.

“Yeah, that’s what I’ve been doing. See if you can get a bigger [bite on the stem].”

“Oh, no!”

“It’s coming, though,” Cernan says in encouragement. “Here, let me get my foot down there, and you get the jack. See, that’s the key, …Now, I think I can…”

“Okay. If I do it that way…get her [the handle] way down there [near the ground]…” Taking the handle from near vertical to ground level gave me a bigger bite on the core stem with the tooth of the jack than we had before.

“Okay. Now try it. …See, if we can get a couple of inches at a throw, we’re all right. There you go. Do that for a little bit.” With my left hand on the jack handle and my right on the core for balance, I launched my full weight downward and the stem moved about two inches.

“Okay. Let me put my foot on it [again],” Cernan said.

“Okay, ready?” I asked.

“Yup. It’s got to loosen up sooner or later. …Okay. That’s another good one. When you’re tired, I’ll do that and you can do this. See, this way, you can get a bigger throw. Okay. Let me know when, and I’ll do that.”

“Oh, that’s all right.” I was not using as much energy with this approach as Cernan had required by himself.

“Does it feel like it’s loosening up at all?” Cernan asked as my feet came a foot off the ground.

“Not yet,” I said, laughing. “Excuse me [for hitting you].”

“No, go ahead,” he says, and I really gave it all I had, but immediately started to rotate clockwise while falling to the left, kicking the core stem stand and its tools all over the place in the process.

“Okay, okay, okay,” Cernan said as we both laughed while I slowly rotated a full 360º and landed on my hands and knees. “Stay there. Stay there.” He comes over and grabs the back of my PLSS and says, “Okay, back,” and I rock backwards and up, easily.

“Thank you,” I say, acknowledging the help. “Oh, my UHT [is in the regolith]; among other things [off your stand]. …Okay. Let’s try that again.”

“You want to get over here, and I’ll do that for a while?”

“Oh, that’s all right,” I replied. “I just lost my balance. Can I hold there [on the core stem]?”

“Yeah. You can hold there, and I’ll hold it, too.”

I began a more controlled sequence of falling on the jack handle while holding the core stem with my left hand. It was more work than deploying the ALSEP, with my heart rate reaching 135 bpm, but I could keep it up, and we were making progress. Also, Cernan was getting needed rest, and I was using more cooling water.

“That seems like a little easier,” I commented.

“Yeah. That looks to me like it should be getting easy. Just hold on to me and…”

“What was that?” I asked. “I had a tone. It was probably a…”

“You still got it?”

“Gone,” I reported. “Momentary. I probably got a [transient spike in pressure]…”

“You get over here. Get over here, Jack.”

“Pressure’s all right,” I said, checking my RCU gauge.

“No, let me get over there.”

“It’s (the core stem) coming now,” I argued, not wanting to change positions with Cernan.

“Why don’t you come over here? Come on.”

“One more.”

“I think we’re going to get it,” Cernan said.


“Come on over here and hold your foot against that thing (the treadle).” I gave in, and we traded places, losing more seconds by doing so.

“Just hold that little thing (the treadle) down. That’s the main thing. Ready?”

“Yeah,” I reply. “We’re getting it now.”

“I need your foot on that thing. See if…” Cernan knelt with his thighs over his calves and his back to the west. He used his left hand on the jack handle while holding the core stem with his right. I had my back to the southeast with my right foot on the treadle while also bracing against the core with my right hand.

Cernan pushed down on the jack handle, and I said, “There you go.”

“I don’t know what kind of hole we’re going to have [for the neutron probe]. …Okay. Get your foot down on that thing (the treadle) again.”

“Wait a minute. Let me [adjust again]…okay.”

“I jacked the treadle down about 6 inches [into the regolith]. Okay. It’s loosening up a little bit. I keep saying that, don’t I?”

“No,” I assured him. “It changed while I had it there…”

With Cernan now making rapid strokes with the jack handle and the core rising steadily, Cernan says, “I can get it. Why don’t you go get your pan?”

“You got it (the core action)?”

“Yeah, why don’t you get your pan and your…LSPE, and I’ll [finish here]…”

“I’ve got that [pan already]. I got [to enable the LSPE]. …I’ll get that and a few samples, maybe.

“Okay. Go ahead and do that. I can get it (the core). …Whee! Let me tell you, Red Rover, let me tell you! …I know whose face is smiling back there…” Cernan may have been referring to Rusty Schweickart who used the “Red Rover” call sign on Apollo 9 but the connection is not obvious. “You don’t suppose this [compact regolith] is why we didn’t have much dust from the LM [Descent Engine], do you?”

“I think it is,” I replied with a laugh.

Joining me in a laugh, Cernan again said, “I saw all the way to the ground during landing.”

“Yeah,” I said as I “skied” back to the Central Station. “Okay, Houston. MARK it (LSPE) – ENABLED,” I reported upon arrival, using my UHT to push the button on the bottom rear of the Station (see Fig. 10.18 ↑­­).

“Okay, finally,” Parker said, apparently oblivious to the fact that his interruption about the LEAM decal caused the delay in enabling the LSPE. “Thank you.”

“Whoops, I moved your Central Station. I’ve got to re-align [the gimbal] on your antenna.”

“Stand by, Jack. Wait a minute.”

“Well, the gnomon’s still aligned,” I said, after checking the bubbles and Sun shadow. “I thought I moved it.”

“Okay. Well, let it be” Apparently, the communications people agreed the antenna remained pointed properly.

My part in ALSEP deployment (see Fig. 10.19) had proceeded much as planned, with mostly small problems of manipulation comparable to those encountered in training. Sticky level bubbles had not been noticed before, but other than that, deployment just took more time than planned. As forearm muscles tired, using our hands became more and more difficult, making both Cernan and me prone to handling and manipulating difficulties, particularly with respect to dropping tools. We were not surprised at the problems with extracting the deep drill core, as Apollo 15 and 16 had had significant problems with either drilling or extraction.

Fig. 10.19. General view of the completed Apollo 17 ALSEP deployment, showing: the LM in the distance at upper far left; the Lunar Mass Spectrometer (LMS), the small white box at mid-level far left; the Radioisotopic Thermoelectric Generator (RTG), the black box left of center; the Central Station (CS), to its right; the Lunar Seismic Profiling Experiment (LSPE) antenna mounted on the heat flow electronics pallet; and the Lunar Surface Gravimeter (LSG), the white box with the trapezoidal sun shield at right. In the background are the Sculptured Hills (far left); the East Massif (left of center); Bear Mountain above Geophone Rock; and the South Massif (far right). (NASA photo composites of AS17-136-20701, -704, -705, and -707).

Cernan, close to extracting the full core, said, “We should have raised the flag on this thing (the core stem).”

“It (the gimbal gnomon shadow) looks just the same as when I left it, but I thought I moved it. …Is it okay, Bob?

“Leave it alone for right now, Jack, and we’ll get a reading on it…for a minute or so. …And, Jack, I guess right now, you might get some fairly rapid samples in the area, since you’re probably almost ready to leave. And can you tell us what you saw there in the vicinity; you were giving us a description of the boulders there and platyness and alignment of the crystals…[like] the plag(ioclase). You want to amplify that a little bit?” Parker obviously had received a detailed question from the geologists in the Science Back Room.

“I will as soon as I get back over there with a sample bag. …Bag 10 Echo (F-57) – one-zero Echo – is a sample of the very large boulder (Geophone Rock) that’s just beyond Geophone 3. Just west…just south [, rather].” I had gone over to the boulder and found a loose, in-place rock fragment and then ran to the Rover and put it in one of the “Dixie Cup” Rover sample bags from their dispenser on the Geo-Pallet. Then, quickly, I put a regular bag dispenser pack of 20 on the bottom of my camera mount, as I would need to do that soon, anyway. Taking the scoop off the Geo Pallet, I headed for some more sampling.

“Copy that, one-zero Echo, and boulder east of which geophone?” Not listening, again.

“South of geophone 3, …[make that], southwest. And I got a few photos to document the boulder [earlier]. I’m not sure I documented the sample, though. …It’s the same kind of rock I saw near the LM. And…it’s a [fine to medium-grained] gabbro. I’m beginning to lean towards 50 percent plagioclase, though.” The sample location on the boulder was not precisely located except to within a ~1 × 0.5 m area.

Fig. 10.20. The photograph shown in Fig. 10.13 but now with the general location outlined from which samples 70135, and others were taken from Geophone Rock. (NASA photo AS17-147-22536).

[Sample 70135 is a medium to coarse-grained, vesicular, porphyritic ilmenite (~19%) basalt with a 3.8% percent olivine. The rock has phenocrysts (crystals significantly larger than the inclosing matrix) of aggregated clinopyroxene and ilmenite. The relatively coarse-grained nature of these rocks prompted my field designation of “gabbro”. (Future reference to rocks with pyroxene and plagioclase as major minerals uses the terms “gabbro” or “basalt” interchangeably, modified by appropriate distinguishing additional minerals and/or textural characteristics.)

Fig. 10.21. Basalt sample 70135 after unpacking in the Lunar Sample Receiving Lab in Houston, TX. It is ~10 cm across. Note some lunar soil still adhering to a surface that has numerous zap pits and exposed vugs. (NASA photo S72-56380).

The Rb-Sr crystallization age of 70135 is 3.67±0.09 billion years and two Sm-Nd crystallization ages are 3.77±0.06 and 3.71±0.12 billion years. The sample has a Krypton exposure age of 106±0.04 million years. As the boulder from which I took the sample lies near the probable terminal edge of continuous ejecta from Camelot Crater about 600 m to the west, this exposure age may give an approximate date the Camelot impact event. Station 5 samples from the rim of Camelot, obtained during EVA-2, do not confirm this conclusion. In fact, recent analysis indicates that Camelot may be on the order of 500 million years old (see Chapter 13 – Camelot Crater).]

“Bob,” Cernan interjected. “I had to remove the treadle from the hole, and I’ll tell you later why.” He now had the core stem completely out of the regolith.

[If the jack mechanism for core removal had failed, the only immediate options for removing the core were 1) to re-attach the drill to a core section at about knee height and have both of us lift on the drill handles or, if that failed, 2) use the scoop to dig to where the binding was taking place. In the latter case, I probably could have dug a half trench to a depth of half a meter or so fairly quickly. If the binding rock(s) were not found at that depth, then significantly more time would have been needed. If all else failed, we certainly would have taken another try at it during subsequent EVAs after Mission Control had thought about the problem between EVAs.]

‘Okay, go ahead.”

“Oh, me!” Cernan exclaims as he surveys the mess I created for him around the deep core hole. “No,” he tells Parker for the second time, “I’ll tell you later why. I’m just figuring, oh me, how am I going to get all this stuff now? …I’m going to lose my hole. …Okay, it was right there. In our fiasco over here, we knocked everything over.” Cernan was being very generous, as I was responsible for the mess he was surveying.

“Did I ruin something?” I asked, innocently.

“Nope, I’ve just got to stoop over to get things, and that’s a major, major effort these days.” Cernan is worn out so I am surprised that he seems to have forgotten to use the tongs.

“Can I help you?” I ask, but not really wanting to leave my first sampling tasks.

“No, I got it here. I’ve got a delicate core in one hand, and I’m trying to get some core caps in the other. …You’ll be glad to know it’s (the core) full [at the bit end], Bob. And while I’m the only one to see the bottom end right now, I’m going to tell you (that) it looks like what I’m walking on, but it’s obviously not powdery. It’s obviously very cohesive, because the bottom of the core is not smooth. It’s very jaggedy, and fragmental-like.”

“Okay, copy that, Geno. Very good.”

“Well, I’m being very careful with your core here, but I’ve got to do a few little housekeeping chores first.”

“Have you got that Neutron Flux [probe] over there in the vicinity,” asked Parker, “or is it still back at the Rover?

“No, sir, I already got it. …You haven’t been looking.” Cernan had brought the Neutron Probe from the Rover along with the rack and rammer before he began drilling the deep core. Fendell has changed from watching Cernan to covering my rapid reconnaissance of rocks to the southeast of the Rover and ALSEP.

“And Jack, in your travels there, while you’re doing some sampling, if you happen to wander by in the approximate vicinity of the deep core, you might get us a Rover sample of the soil there.” In making this suggestion, Parker has assumed, incorrectly, that I had the assembled Dixie Cup sampler with me.


“Bob,” Cernan reports, “the core is filled to within an eighth or certainly less than a quarter of an inch from the [end of the] bit.

“Sounds good to me. Sounds like a good candidate for [only] a cap.” Had there been space at the bit end, Cernan would have inserted a plug to prevent the core from shifting during handling and return to Earth.

“Yes, sir, and it’s got [cap] Bravo on [the bit] and the plug has been discarded …Now, let me see what else I can get here, before I get too upset. I need my [core].” …The drill, besides performing admirably, is a tool of necessity to lean over and pick things up with. …Except when you let it fall down, as Cernan had just done.

“And our next priority is to put the Neutron Flux down the hole, we hope.” Sometimes, Parker seemed to forget we were working with, and refer to, our Cuff Checklist, frequently.

“Well, we shall see. Man, I don’t even know if I can find the hole. It’s in the shadow now. I guess I can see it down there. …There it is. Okay. You asked, and with a little bit of luck, you shall receive. …Listen, I’m earning my three and a quarter a day [old per diem rate] today. …Oh, boy, I don’t want to lose the rammer either. Let me get that before that gets lost in the shuffle. We don’t want to lose that, for sure.” Using the still wrapped Neutron Flux probe to try to pick up the rammer, Cernan flips it too vigorously and it arcs away. “I bet you all think I’m stepping on that hole, don’t you?”

“I don’t…[and] John [Young] doesn’t, either.” With the MOCR watching on TV, Cernan removes the probe’s wrapping and twists the lower portion of the Probe to activate it. This twist placed the mica alpha particle detectors near the boron and Uranium-235 neutron capture targets.

“Bob, I see no clear alignment (lineation) of plagioclase or pyroxene in this rock. That’s [unlike] the one [I mentioned earlier] with the parting in it. It looks as if – integrating what I’ve seen here and over at the big rock, the Geophone Rock – the layering or the foliation or the parting, whichever it is, is the result of variations in vesicle concentrations. The sample 10 Echo (70135) is a sample of the more coarsely vesicular rock. I could not get one of the more finely or non-vesicular fragments. But I got pictures of it.”

[Mineral lineations normally indicate either flow having taken place in a partially crystallized magma or re-crystallization of more solid rock in a stress field. In the rocks I had observed so far, it appeared that parting planes or parallel fractures had been caused by planar variations in the concentration of vesicles. Flow in soft or incompletely solidified lava could have caused variations in vesicle concentratios. Black and white photographs of the boulder (AS17-136-20714 to -17) indicate that it is uniformly vesicular with 20-30% of the rock volume comprised of vesicles about 1 cm or less in diameter. Layered variations in vesicle concentrations can be explained by their migration to the top of a flow and then that flow top being re-incorported into the moving lava. It also might be explained by lava eruption occurring in irregular pulses that provided an opportunity for variations in the concentration of vesicles near the top of the magma chamber.]

“And, do you see any evidence of soil on top of some of these medium-sized boulders?” Parker asked in response to a note from the Science Support Room.

“There’s soil [on the rocks] – little bit of dust in some of the holes. But there’s not enough to sample at this point. I may find some later.” The ALSEP site lay in an area in which dust moved by the Descent Engine exhaust may have been deposited, but generally the rock surfaces were clean enough to identify minerals. Nearby impacts, of course, would throw regolith on some rock surfaces.

“Vesicle walls do not seem to be as shiny [as with Apollo 11 mare basalt],” I continued. “Most of them seem to have dust in them …The vesicles are not cleanly (geometrically) spherical. They’re spherical but they have fairly rough outlines. They look as if there’s been some recrystallization.” This observation suggests that after lava solidification, cooling was slow enough to allow recrystallization and coarsening of the early-formed, fine-grained plagioclase, pyroxene and ilmenite. If the recrystallization proceeds for a prolonged period, what once were smooth-walled vesicles will turn into jagged-walled holes called vugs. This indicates that the rocks in the immediate ALSEP area may have been derived from deep within a single cooling unit of mare basalt magma. They may have been ejected from the ~600 m diameter Camelot Crater, the rim of which lay about 600 m to the west. Late in EVA-2, we would sample rocks at the rim of Camelot as part of the activities at Station 5.

Cernan, by this time, had removed the top section of the Neutron Flux probe and threaded it into the bottom section. “Bob, I will verify that the lower section is ON.”

“Okay, thank you, Geno.”

“I picked the wrong rock to sample with a scoop,” I complained. “I’ll tell you that.” The rock I wanted was too big for the scoop.

“Boy,” Cernan says, still working with the Neutron probe, “I’ll tell you, housekeeping is the key to the world right now …Okay, another key to the world is whether the…”

“Geno,” Parker interrupts with some urgency, “stand by. Hold it.” Someone had noticed on the TV that Cernan appeared to be planning to put the Neutron probe without going through the treadle hole first. The probe was designed so the top would catch on the treadle and not fall down the hole.


“Okay, make sure that the top of it [the Neutron Probe] doesn’t go down through the hole, too, and disappear, either by putting it through the treadle, or if you’re sure that the [hole is no deeper than the probe]…or whatever.” The Science Support Room has suddenly realized that the hole may be deeper than the probe is long and it could disappear and there is no cable or line attached by which it could be pulled back out. If it falls out of sight, I am pretty sure that quickly, but with some effort, I could dig it out with the scoop, when it needed to be retrieved at the end of EVA-3.

“Boy, Bob, that sure is a good thought. You know, I had to take the treadle off because the jack [handle] wouldn’t go down (collapse) and there’s no way I could put that [Probe through the] treadle. …Well, let me turn [the top section] ON first. That was a good thought [you had]. It may go down that hole. That would be terrible.”

“How big [does] the hole look, Geno?”

“Well, looks big enough to put this down. Let me use my judgment on it…and a little ingenuity. …I verified the top [section] was ON, by the way.”

“Okay, thank you.” Cernan’s “ingenuity” consisted of using his left hand to hold the treadle off the ground with the jack handle, putting the probe through the treadle hole with his right, and then insert about a foot of the probe in the core hole before putting the treadle back on the ground.

“Shazam!” Cernan exclaims, as he let go of the probe. It went its full length into the hole until the top flange seated on the treadle hole. Cernan’s exclamation recalled the wizard’s name that, when spoken, turned Billy Batson, a radio newsboy reporter, into Fawcett and DC Comics’ superhero, Captain Marvel. (“Shazam” combined the first letters of Greek heroes Solomos (poet), Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles and Mercury.)

How about that! Loud applause, loud applause,” cheered Parker.

“See what happened, here, to that treadle, Bob,” explained Cernan. “I couldn’t get the jack (handle) to go down and it made the hole oblong [with the griping jaws not fully retracted] when I [had to insert the Probe]. But it’s all right now.” Apparently, he also moved the jack handle out of the way of the hole enough to slip the Neutron probe through. These comments suggest, however, that the jack resisted binding up just long enough for us to extract the deep drill core.

“Okay; beautiful, beautiful.”

“I mean, it ended up all right,” Cernan continued as he covered the top of the probe and treadle with the gold colored sheath that had contained the probe.

“And why don’t we get you two guys together again, now, and break down the core and press on. And we’ve got a little revision here to the EVA. I’ll get with you in just minute, as soon as I find out what it is.”

“Bob, I feel pretty good about that. That makes me feel pretty good.” Cernan, rightly, patted himself verbally on the back for having drilled two Heat Flow stems and one deep core into the regolith. I am not sure, however, if he could have ever removed the deep core if the two of us had not worked together after he had hit a wall of fatigue.

“[Sample] bag 174…[that is] 474 (70160-65),” I reported from beside a large boulder, ~25 m southeast of the Central Station. I took a stereo pair of photographs of the sample location, with the gnomon perched on top of the boulder. I continued, “It’s the fillet [at the base of the rock]. I can’t get a chunk of the rock.” A stereo pair of black and white photographs of the relatively smooth face of the boulder (AS17-136-20714 to -19) shows about 1 m of it exposed above the regolith with the upper half meter significantly more vesicular than the lower.

Fig. 10.22. A vesicular basalt boulder near the ALSEP site with the gnomon placed on top and the handle of the sampling scoop at right. Some of the fillet at the base of the boulder can be seen at the lower left of the frame. The inverted triangle of the Geophone #3 flag can be seen to the right of the gnomon’s vertical rod and immediately left of the small boulder sticking out of the regolith in front of Geophone Rock. (NASA photo AS17-136-20714).

No loose fragments were still attached to this boulder, so, without the hammer, I could not get a sample as I did at Geophone Rock. This was my first use of one of the nearly clear, numbered Teflon sample bags from a 20-bag dispenser that hung from the bottom of the Hasselblad camera holder mounted on the front of the PLSS RCU on my chest. An aluminum double strip spring held the lip of each bag open to make it easier to insert a sample. The spring strips joined together at either end into tabs that allowed us to open the mouth wider. Once we rotated the bag around the strip spring and the tabs were folded on themselves, the bag would stay closed.

“Copy. 174, fillet beside the big rock. And, Jack, while you coming back here to the Rover, why don’t you get one more Rover sample in the vicinity of the deep drill, while you and Gene get ready to take on the core stems. And because of being a little bit behind here, what we’re doing is, we’re getting prepared to drop Station 1 in favor of doing Steno (Crater). Over. …And I’ll get with you on more details on that in a minute.” Although Parker repeated the wrong the sample number I had first given him, the team in the Science Support Room would have picked up the correct one as they began to itemize all samples we would collect.

[Sample 70161 has about 34% agglutinate, 45.6% basalt+clinopyroxene+plagioclase, and 7.2% orange and black, glassy ash. The Is/FeO maturity index[39] is 46, representing a measure of the amount of nanophase iron (extremely fine-grained iron metal) produced by exposure to solar wind sputtering and micro-meteor impacts. A strong relationship of this index to ilmenite content of the regolith will be discussed in detail in Chapter 13 (Regolith Mixing and Maturation).]

“Well, how far behind are we?” I asked.

“Stand by… You’re between 35 and 40 minutes [behind]. And part of the problem is that we’re a little short on oxygen on Gene’s PLSS. It looks like it’s a 6 hours and 45 minutes EVA from that point of view, which means that we’d have to leave Station 1 [at Emory Crater] too early [to do much]…which is the reason to curtail Station 1, apart from just [being] behind which is what the hooker was.”

EVA-1 had been planned for about 7 hours and actually lasted 7 hours and 12 minutes. For some reason, the planners in the MOCR were not considering the fact that Cernan would soon be on the Rover and not consuming oxygen at the rate he had during all the drilling activity. I remained upset that the ALSEP deployment, as always, had cut into our true exploration time. Why I expected otherwise, mystifies me.

Moving Station 1 to Steno Crater would not significantly reduce our ability to sample the deep subfloor material. Rocks at the rim of Steno (~600 m diameter) would have come from 120-200 m depths and comparable to what we would have found at Emory (650 m). Emory, however, had some emotional appeal for me as the name honored the most scientific of the 26 members of the Army Corps of Engineers who had been attached to various Army expeditions into the American West in the pre-Civil War period.[40] Emory Pass in the Mimbres mountain range (also known as the Black Range) east of my home in New Mexico honored his exploration activities in that region.

“Okay, Bob,” Cernan said, “I’m approaching the rear of the Rover. I’ve got the core, the cap, the wrench, and the rammer. …Well, I didn’t mean to breathe up all that oxygen.”

“Well, there’s some things you can’t help,” Parker sympathized. “Even the [Flight] Surgeon agrees with me on that one.” Cernan’s activity during the first four hours of EVA-1 constituted a workload of 1170 BTU/hr while mine was 1120. “And for your thinking, Jack and Gene,” continued Parker, “what we’re doing is planning on going to the west side of Steno and that boulder field that’s part way out to Station 1.”

“Okay, you want to break that [core down], and I’ll go get this [deep core surface] sample, Gene.”

“Yeah; I’ll break this, Jack; no sweat.” The top of the Geo-Pallet had a small vise on it that would hold the core stem while Cernan used the wrench to break the tight connections of the various stem sections.”

“Gene has pretty well chewed up the ground [around the drill hole]. I helped him,” I admitted in an understatement as I arrived at the site of the deep core. “Do you want me to get a little ways away from it?”

“Stand by,” Parker said. “I don’t think we’re interested in a surface sample in the last top little bit. …Just a surface sample [will be enough]. Stand by, though. …[Sample] anything there in the dirt, Jack,” came the guidance from the Science Support Room. “It doesn’t have to be a skim sample of any sort…”

“Okay, Bob,” Cernan alerted Parker. “I’m breaking down the core at the tail end of the Rover, here.”

“Okay, congratulations.”

“Well, don’t do it yet, I haven’t [actually] gotten it broken down yet. …But I got it out of the ground with a little help. …Okay, first piece of three sections. Bob, it’s full. …And I have to tell you which end I’m taking it from. I don’t remember which end I’ve got here.”

“That’s all right,” responded Parker, “since we got the cap… Alpha on one end and Bravo on the other end…”

“Man!” exclaimed Cernan. “There’s a cap that’s going to be tough to get on. I put that on with a hammer. Oh, boy!”

“Okay, Bob, there’s a mixture of soil and a rock in [sample bag] 475 (70180-1, 70185). …The soil came from about 0 to 5 centimeters (depth). …Bob, it’s about 3 meters from the hole. I got a stereo ‘before’ at 11 feet and one ‘after’ at 11 feet.” (AS17-136-20721 and -20722 ).

[This sample included one large fragment of basalt (70185) and the regolith matrix (70181). The characteristics of 70181 do not match the top of the deep drill core (see 70009 below) relative to the amounts of different types of regolith particles within it. 70181 contains 56% agglutinates, 28.6% basalt+clinopyroxene+plagioclase, and only 3.6% orange and black glass. In retrospect, I should have taken a sample much closer to the hole, even if it was stirred up by our activity; however, I may have been concerned about collapsing it in the process.

70185 is a fine-grained, vesicular ilmenite basalt with some aggregates of clinopyroxene-ilmenite similar to the phenocrysts in 70161. The walls of large vugs have projecting crystals of plagioclase, pyroxene and ilmentite.]

“Hey, Bob, cap Charlie is opposite Alpha. That was the first 3 [foot core] section.”

“Okay, copy that. And how about a frame count there, Jack.

“Stand by…”

“I tell you,” Cernan comments to himself as he applies significant force to the wrench.

“[Can I] help?”

“No, I can get it. Boy, this (vise-wrench) system works good…”

Meanwhile, I had returned to the Rover. “Okay, let me see. Let me configure the old LRV sampler, here.” I inserted one of the ALSEP UHTs into the sampler containing numbered, Dixie Cup-like Teflon bags. Without having to dismount, I would use this device to take periodic soil and small rock samples during later Rover traverses.

“Oh, boy; oh, boy; oh, boy; oh, boy.” As he begins to cap the last section of core stem, Cernan apparently feels the soreness in his hands.

“Jack, this is Houston. Over.”

“Go ahead.”

“When you took those two pans at the ALSEP, was one at 15 feet and one at 20 feet?” Where Parker got the 20-foot focus number, I have no idea. There was no such detent on the camera focus.

“One was at… Focus was at 15 and 74… There’s a partial pan on mag A (Alpha or 147), which was taken at 15 [feet focus].” I clarified. As indicated above, the actual focus in these photographs appears to be significantly greater than 15 feet for some reason. Later focusing seemed alright.

“Okay. Understand.”

“Okay, Bob, …I can’t see what it (core cap letter) is. I guess Delta and Echo is (are caps on) the 2-[foot] section core, Delta being adjacent to the first section of [the] 3-[foot core section]. …Okay, baby, just go on there nice. The last one [cap] is Foxtrot. …And it’s on tight. … Ow!” Cernan complains as he seats the cap with his gloved hand.” Now, he can rest his hands for a while.

“Arms tired?” I ask.

“That hurts. Oh, me; oh, my. I’m going to take a big drink of water here,” adds Cernan as he stows the core sections under my Rover seat.

“We got them three cores; we got the Neutron Flux down; and we got two Heat [Flow] probes, and an ALSEP. I don’t care if we are 30 minutes late. …” Cernan clearly put more store in the tangible, check-off-the-list accomplishments than in the more intangible knowledge that would have come from the time lost in geological observation and sampling.

“Bob, did I give you the last [core] cap?”

“That’s okay, Gene,” Parker replies. “We don’t really need it. The way they’re broken down, there’s no problem. The 3-2-3 [feet lengths] stand out and the Bravo [cap] on the bit end. There’s no problem there.” Someone in the Science Support Room must have been diagramming the core-cap configurations as Cernan called out his actions.

[Breakdown of the deep drill core allotted sample numbers, lengths of sample, and sample intervals are as follows, going from top to bottom:

70009      24.9 cm        0-27

70008      38.0             27-63

70007      30.0             63-95

70006      39.9             95-133

70005      39.9             133-175.5

70004      39.9             175.5-213

70003      39.9            213-252

70002      33.0            252-285

70001       13.6            285-298.6

A discussion of variations in the make-up of the deep drill core and its implications can be found in Chapter 13 – Regolith Mixing and Maturation.]

“Hey, [Gene],” I called.

“What do you need, babe?”

“Can you pull that (sampler) off [the UHT]?” I had misaligned the sampler’s socket with the end of the UHT and could not get the leverage to disconnect the two.

“Pull this [sampler] off?”

“Yeah. Rotate it 180, there. …No, no, no, just the [sampler]… [Rotate] the total thing. That’s good. There you go.”

“Like that?”

“Yeah. …Okay, I have to line it up.”

“Okay. I’ll hold it. You do it.”

“I got it.” Finally, the sampler was properly seated on the UHT. This little sequence of interaction just to properly assemble a tool illustrates the loss of dexterity caused by wearing the pressure suit and glove as well as the importance of having someone to assist when needed.

“Let me give you a [Gravimeter] reading, Bob,” says Cernan, “before you speak. Wait a minute, let me get it over with.” Parker had been trying to interrupt. “It’s 670, 002, 601. That’s 670, 002, 601.

“Did you punch GRAV a second time?” Parker enquired. “That’s identical to the first one (reading).”

“It (the Checklist) just said to read it. That’s what you want, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, but did you punch GRAV after the first reading you gave me there at the ALSEP? Or are you just reading me the same measurements you did before?”

“Bob, I called them out every time. …Bob, I’m reading it right here. Everywhere I punched GRAV, you’ve got it written down somewhere.”

“Yeah, and I didn’t copy your punching GRAV, but the one…”

“Bob, I did not,” Cernan finally recalls. “When I went to get the treadle and the Neutron Flux and rammer, I did not punch GRAV.”

“Okay. So that’s the same as the first one. Never mind, thank you. And guys, we’re ready for you guys, as you go along here, to do the Geo Prep and press on. As I say, we’ll go to Steno and come back from there and do the SEP (Surface Electrical Properties) [transmitter antenna deployment]. Over. …Any questions about that…? We’d also like to know if you have the gnomon, back at the Rover?”

“Yes, we do [have the gnomon],” I confirmed.

[With the exception of the Lunar Surface Gravimeter (LSG), the ALSEP experiments we deployed functioned for several years just as their Principle Investigators had hoped.[41] In recent years, even the trouble-plagued LSG provided additional insight into lunar seismic phenomena through the re-analysis of data tapes.[42] Re-analyses of data from the Active Seismic Profiling Experiment[43] and the Traverse Gravimeter Experiment[44] also have refined understanding of the subsurface structure of the valley, but, basically, the pre-mare basalt eruption depth of the valley was about 3.3 km relative to the South Massif (2100 m above the current valley floor). The original valley floor was hilly with some hills now projecting above the current floor (Bear and Family Mountains. There is gravity evidence that a buried hill lies to the south of Camelot Crater and visual evidence that another buried hill was exposed by the impact that formed Van Serg Crater. All these pre-mare hills appear to have been deposited as ejecta from the Imbrium Basin as were the Sculptured Hills to the north east of the Challenger’s landing point (see Chapter 13 – Sculptured Hills) and investigated on EVA-3.]


Preparing for Exploration

“Can you put that (sample 475) in that sampler tool bag, there?” I asked Cernan as we now turned our attention to true exploration of the valley.

“Yes, sir. …We’re configuring for geology now, Bob.”

“Bob, right now, [sample bag] 10 Echo is in my suit pocket, I hope.” This meant I hoped that the sample of Geophone Rock had not come out of the pocket.

Cernan read from his Cuff Checklist page for beginning the first geology traverse: “ ‘Mount 20-bag dispenser [from] SCB-1.’ Let me get at them (dispensers).”

“I’ve got mine (my dispenser) on,” I reminded him, having earlier taken one packet out of the large (42 × 22 × 15 cm) Sample Collection Bag (SCB) #1.

“Okay. …Oh! This [bag packet] probably goes under the seat, doesn’t it?” Cernan says to himself. “Get the camera …Where the devil mine (my gnomon) is? Excuse me. Oh, I see the gnomon!”

“I put it there (on your seat), so I wouldn’t forget it.” This had happened often in training when, after photographing the geophones, I walk away from the gnomon.

“Okay,” Cernan laughed. “I tell you, dexterity is the key. Look at those cover-gloves.” He noted the wear on the palm of his open finger gloves partially covering the EVA gloves as he collapsed the legs of the gnomon for storage in their quiver behind his seat. Not only were these extra protective gloves dark with embedded fine dust but also they showed obvious heavy abrasion from dust on the drill handle.

“I guess we can take those off,” I said, thinking out loud. “I don’t know whether we ought to or not.”

“I’m going to leave mine on for a while,” Cernan declared. “I changed my mind [from my original plan]. [Now,] I want to look at my [suit] gloves before I take them off. …Okay, where are we [in the Checklist]? You got your camera, obviously. This is my camera. I’ll get the bag dispenser on it. …It’s not a bad day’s start. Bob, is the ALSEP working good?

“The last we heard, it was working great, guys. We’ll check again, though.

Referring back to his Cuff Checklist, Cernan said, “You got your camera. My camera is in the floor pan. [Drive tube] ‘Cap dispenser [from] SCB-1 to Gate’. Let me get that.” This dispenser had been stowed in SCB-1 and contained caps for the large, 4.1 cm inner diameter core or “drive” tubes that would be used to get vertical profiles of the regolith at various locations as seemed warranted. Two, 34 cm long basic drive tubes could be joined together if conditions suggested that a longer core should and could be obtained. The cap dispenser would be mounted in a slot on the Rover’s back gate

“Jack?” Cernan queried.


“You haven’t been on the Rover yet. It’s real easy; but it’s also very easy to kick dust all over those battery covers, so don’t even get on it until I put those battery covers down.”

“Yeah. …Hey, I guess we ought to press on [with configuring the PLSSs] as if we’re going to Station 1,” I said, impatiently.

“Yeah, you’ve got to walk back to the LM anyway. We got to [align the NAV system]…”

“Roger. Guys, we are going to play it per the Checklist. Jack will carry the things (the deep core sections) back. Gene will get the thing (meaning the Rover Navigation system) aligned. We’ll go out to the SEP site. And then we’ll press on from there down to Steno. Over.” Parker just used up more time telling us very imprecisely what we already knew.

“ ‘Stow [rammer and hammer on] LMP’,” Cernan read. “You want to come over here, and I’ll stow [stuff on] your PLSS?” This “rammer” was a thin rod measured 35 cm long and was to be used to set plugs, if necessary in the ends of the drive tubes.

“Yeah. My camera’s under my seat,” I said, having taken it off my RCU in preparation for returning to the Challenger on foot to retrieve the SEP transmitter package and carry it east for later deployment.

“Okay, you can turn around” Cernan instructed. “Oh, man!” he laughs, noting the dust on my suit. “What have you been in? Hallelujah …I’ll keep the hammer. I’ll give you this [rammer]. Can you reach the rammer? It’s right in front of you. On the [Geo-Pallet]…”

“Oh, yeah.”

“I haven’t got that cap [dispenser] in [SCB-1], yet,” Cernan added. “There it is. Okay, the caps are in [SCB-1].”

“If we ever come out here (the ALSEP site) again,” I said, “I want to get your hammer [from you] and get a sample [of the boulder where I sampled the fillet]…” Unfortunately, I never had a chance to get this sample.

“Jack,” Parker interrupted, “you might give us a frame count on Hotel.” Of course, I had just told him that I put my camera under my seat, so this would have to wait for another time. “And we’re going to hand over [between tracking] stations. You might get a dropout momentarily” This would be a change between California’s Goldstone antenna to Australia’s Honeysuckle Creek antenna.

“Okay. Rammer. I got the hammer,” Cernan announced. “Turn around. I’ll give you a SCB-2 [for your PLSS].”

“Okay.” I must have been tiring – I missed the opportunity to sing a line from the Lee Hays-Pete Seeger song, “If I had a hammer”, made famous by Peter, Paul and Mary.

“Now, guess who’s watching to see how these [redesigned] hooks are going to work?” Cernan was remembering that John Young had problems with SCB attachment to the PLSS harness on Apollo 16. “Oh, man. [Works] like a charm so far. Oh, except your doggone harness is off, too, Jack.”

“Is it?” I asked. More time to be lost, fixing the harness.


“Okay, you’ve got to undo the [lower] strap,” I reminded Cernan.

“Let me get at it.”

“You got to loosen that strap and then just put her underneath [the PLSS], and tighten it up again,” I instructed, having earlier adjusted and tightened his harness.

“This one here?”

“The one on my right. Yeah.”

“Let me turn around then,” Cernan said. “I got to get on your…oh, on your right. Right here.”

“I think it is; yeah. That’s where it is on yours (PLSS).”

“Yeah, I’d like to make sure the other side is all right, though,” he replied.

“Oh, okay.” I turn 180 degrees so Cernan can check the left strap.

“Let me…yeah, it’s all right. Turn around. …Let me just get it (the strap) underneath. I got it so tight now. …Okay, now. I got it on. …Okay, now, I’ll get this [SCB] hooked. … that hook’s going to be a piece of cake, Jack. …That ought to keep it; and it’s all on and locked. …Okay, [checking the Checklist] you got SCB-2. You got the rammer. You got a cap dispenser. Okay. You can secure SCB-1 [to my PLSS]. …Doesn’t this [short sample can] go under your [seat]?…”

“Not yet, I don’t think,” I replied. “I think it stays there.”

“This [long sample can] does [go under the seat].”

“That does. Yeah. That goes under the seat.

“And this (short can) goes here [on the Geo-Pallet]?”

“Yeah. …Bob, the long can’s going under my seat,” I reported so that Mission Control’s EVA console could keep track of where everything was stowed and help us out if we forgot. Turning a valve-like handle on its top would close this 18 × 3 inch (40 × 7 cm) cylindrical long can. A knife-edge embedded in Indium inside the cap would seal in the vacuum. The diameter and length were enough so that a drive tube section could be inserted and protected from contamination, indefinitely, it was hoped.

“They got a handover, I think,” commented Cernan, referring to a change in receiving antennae on Earth due to Earth’s rotation.

“Handover’s complete, guys,” Parker reported.

“[I forget] which way to unlock those [SCBs] on the Geo Pallet],” I mused.

“Okay, you can pull it off.”

“It’s unlocked?” I asked.

“It’s unlocked. There it is.”

“It’s (the SCB) usually stiff. …For once, I have my camera off,” I say, meaning that I can get closer to Cernan and have better visibility as I attach SCB-1 to his PLSS harness.

“Did you get the heat flow pictures, by the way?” inquired Cernan.

“I got most of them. Not all of them. They (Mission Control) revised the whole camera [sequence].”

“Hey, Bob,” Cernan called, “is it going to hurt to leave the UHT in the heat flow electronics?”

“Stand by.”

“Wait a minute, [Gene]. I ought to get that [SCB hooked better], I guess …That’s one [hook]. …[You’re too] tall.”

“Here, let me lean down,” Cernan said as he bent at the knees.

“[And] two, and the [first] hook’s still hooked. Check for sure, here. Those hooks weren’t designed for new bags.” Repeated use had made our training SCBs more flexible than these new ones. “I think that will ride all right.”


“Okay, Jack,” Parker called, “…they don’t want it (the UHT) there [on the Heat Flow Electronics package]. If one of you guys can get to it and pull it out, [it would be best]

“I’ll get it right now,” volunteered Cernan.

“Okay …Watch the alignment, as you said.”

“Yeah. I sort of thought you (Mission Control) might like it (the UHT) out of there (the HFE socket),” Cernan said and then told himself, “Let’s stay away, so I don’t get a cable, and I don’t get dust in the mirror. …The alignment is still good. …Now, if I can get it out.”

Some observers have noted that our voice levels and tone vary, depending on whom we are talking to and what we are doing. Close together, Cernan and I talk in normal conversational levels and tones, whereas when talking to Parker, we generally raise our voices. This probably results from an unconscience perception of relative distance. Also, when I begin to make field observations, I add a dictation or lecturing tone to my voice.

“Okay, [Gene], I’m going back to the LM.”

“Okay, Bob, the alignment’s good on the Heat Flow [Electronics], and I’ve got the UHT out. Jack, do you need this [UHT]?”

“You better…save it. Save it,” I responded.

“I’m going to leave it right here by the ALSEP,” Cernan says as he throws it toward the Central Station.

“Careful,” I cautioned, as I had found it difficult to judge throwing distance in one-sixth g.

“Jiminy, I just threw it right here in this little ditch!

“Yeah, right,” I note. “Okay, [Bob], the other UHT is by the ALSEP. …[Maybe, on second thought,] we probably ought to have it with us, Geno. For the sampler [as backup].”

“Well, you’ve got one…”

“Yeah. That’s all right,” I said, deciding it was not worth worrying about, particularly, as I ran back to Challenger.

“Okay, we gather you’re on the way back to the LM with the core stems there, Jack,” remarked Parker.

“Yes, sir.”

“Okay, Bob,” Cernan said, now back at the Rover, “I’m going to take the TV away from you and get these battery covers squared away before I put the tongs and the camera on [my suit].

“Okay, Geno, and you guys have the gnomon in the little quiver, right?” It is not clear why Parker and the EVA Console in the MOCR are not doing a better job of listening to our reports on what we are doing. Parker may have been relying on what he heard and not on what others were recording. Flight should have intervened and told him to be more careful.

“Yes, sir. The temperature on the batteries are 96 and 110… Can I close the [battery] covers?”


“Hey, you’re turning our voice around, Bob.” The communications systems on Earth had started to pick up our transmissions from the Moon and retransmitting it.

Not understanding me, Parker continued, “No, I said…’Close the covers’, please.”

“We’re getting a repeat,” I said. “That’s right. I heard what you said, but you’re turning our voice around. …I was strolling on the Moon one day,” I sang, and Cernan joined in, “in the merry, merry month of…”[45]

“May,” Cernan emphasized.

“December.” I corrected.

“No, May,” Cernan insisted.


“May’s the month this year.”

“May. That’s right.”

“May is the year…the month.”

“When much to my surprise,” I finally continued, “a pair of bonny eyes…be-doop-doo-doo…”

“Sorry about that, guys,” Parker inserted, “but today may be December.”

Having forgotten the next line, I continued to hum the tune I had started while I approached Challenger. On this run, I averaged 5.4km/hr.

“Okay, Bob, the battery covers are closed,” reported Cernan. “I’m ready to go MODE switch 1. I guess I’ll just wave goodbye. You (the TV) look pretty clean, so I won’t touch you. …Oh, man. It’s even hard to move you (the TV camera) counter-clockwise. Here we go.…’Counter-clockwise, facing aft’. Okay, I’m going to go MODE switch number 1. Okay, we’re MODE switch number 1”

“Rog. We can confirm that,” Parker said as the MOCR screen went blank.

“And you want me to leave those LCRU blankets open 100 percent, right?

“Roger. That’s affirm.”

“Okay, now I got to mount my camera [on the RCU] and tether my tongs.” Cernan’s sampling tongs consisted of a clamshell clamp. held closed by a spring. We could open the clamshell by a grip that also served as a handle. We tethered the tongs to the “yo-yo,” retractable reel line attached to the hip. “Boy, Jack, I can’t see you at all. Looking into the east is terrible. All I can tell you is that there’s a LM there. Okay, ‘Mount Camera, Tether Tongs’. See if my camera’s going to work. Bob, I’m on Bravo – mag Bravo (AS17 134) – and frame count 19. …And for EMU status, I can give you about 36 percent [oxygen], no flags, 3.85 [psi]. And I’m still INTERMEDIATE cooling. …Okay, inventory. Camera, tongs, gnomon. Okay, I’m ready to get on. Ready to get on.”

“Okay, you (Parker) want us to take the…oop!” I exclaimed as I stumble going by the front landing pad. “That rock by your (Cernan’s) front porch is really a major nuisance.” I had slipped on that rock again, as, per plan, I lay the deep core sections in the shade and across the landing gear struts under the ladder.

“Oh, doggone it!” says Cernan about his own learning process.

“What’s the problem?”

“Oh! Every time I get on,” Cernan explains, “I get dust [knocked] around. I still haven’t learned how to get on [the Rover] yet. …You’d think after three times, I’d know better. I know better, but it’s [a question of doing better].”

“Okay, I’ve got the [SEP] transmitter. I’m heading west…or east,” correcting myself with a laugh. “Heading east. Sorry about that. Bum bum bum bum bum,” I half sing, providing cadence in time with my skiing strides toward a spot about 100 m east of Challenger. The SEP transmitter had been attached to the Payload Pallet stowed in Challenger’s Quad-III.

“Okay, I’m PRIMARY [Rover power],” declares Cernan as he, again, sets up the Rover systems. “Okay, you want a NAV initialize here, huh, Houston?”

“That’s affirmative.”

“By the way, Bob, Station 6 is pretty obvious up on the hill,” Cernan reported. It’s fairly high up. I don’t know if we’ll get to drive up there or not.” Station 6 includes the largest boulder visible near the base of the North Massif. It has a very obvious boulder track that leads to its source about 1.5 km up the 26-degree south slope of the mountain.

“I think you can see the boulder,” Parker surmised, “and that’s how you can tell [the location of Station 6], right?”

“Yep. And the [nearby] crater. …A shame not to [be sure]. …Well, maybe that’s the wrong one. I’ll have to check the map… A shame not to go to Station 1! Sure is a shame. Why don’t you consider Station 1 as a possibility?” During the mission planning that had settled on Emory as the prime exploration objective for EVA-1, the possibility had been considered that the crater penetrated to below the subfloor material covering the valley floor. Also, it had appeared to be only partially covered by the dark mantle, offering possible clues about that mysterious material.

“Okay, Bob,” Cernan called, “let me give you some [Rover] numbers. …Sun shadow is zero. I am rolled right 4 degrees. I am pitch zero. I can’t be rolled right 4 degrees. That indicator can’t be right. I question that. I might be rolled left a couple of degrees. …Are you happy with that, Bob? Roll indicator is indicating… Make it 3 degrees right.” Cernan had turned the Rover slowly until the gnomon on the Sun-Shadow Device on the console cast a shadow across the zero mark of the Device. This enabled the MOCR to calculate an accurate torquing update for the Rover’s guidance gyro.

After a pause, Parker came back with, “Okay, torque to 279, [that] will be the heading. 279.

“Okay. …The heading when I put the NAV POWER breaker IN, Bob, was 234.”

“Okay, I copy that. We’ll torque that to 279.”

“Okay. I’m waiting for my minute and a half [NAV warm-up] here.”

“By the way, Bob,” I reported “LMP is at 39 percent [oxygen], 3.88 [psi], and no flags, no tones. …I’m at the SEP site, and I found a place I think we can lay out a pretty good grid.” I had actually picked a spot about 140 m from Challenger rather than the planned 100 m. Use of my thumb to subtend the spacecraft’s height to calibrate distance (one thumb width = ~350 m and one half thumb width = ~115m) was useful, but we still need a large, relatively flat area to lay out the two perpendicular, 70 m long ground antenna arms.

Okay, Jack,” Parker said, “and when you lay it (the SEP) down there, we want to put it down with the gnomon side, the side you’re going to [have] face the Sun, you want to put that [side] facing away from the Sun. We found out [about] a thermal constraint this evening, just as the EVA started.” I won’t actually deploy the SEP until we come back from Station 1.

“Okay. Away from the Sun,” I acknowledged. “Gnomon…you want the gnomon side or corner?”

“The gnomon side away from the Sun. The side with the solar panels on it (has) to be in the shade.”


“Bob, everything’s working fine so far,” Cernan says as he prepares to join me. “She’s (Rover guidance) zeroed, and I’m torqued. And I’m ready to press on. Reset is back OFF. Okay, Jack, here I come.” Fig. 10.23 shows the fully configured LRV as we began the EVA-1 exploration.

Fig. 10.23. The fully deployed and configured Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV or Rover) at Station 1 on the flank of Steno Crater (off the photo at left). Some of the boulders of its ejecta blanket can be seen at left. Almost the entire South Massif forms the background. From left to right on the LRV, note the left front wire mesh wheel; high gain dish antenna; TV camera; low gain antenna; rack of seismic charges (black boxes with red knobs on top); and various sampling items on the rear Geo-Pallet. (NASA photo combination AS17-134-20420, -21).

Field Exploration Begins

“Okay. You see me?”

“No, I’m facing the other way. …Boy, I tell you, just about all you can see in that direction (east) is the LM. Boy, that’s tough driving into the Sun!”

“Go right to the LM, and…or, a little bit to your left, to the left of the LM.”

“Yeah, I’ve got to go to the LM and give them a reading here [range and bearing from the ALSEP site].”

“Okay.” This check on Rover navigation would help determine how much we could depend on the system for helping to find locations we wanted to visit in the valley. Early on, the navigation system was thought of as a safety measure, necessary if we got lost or had to get back to the Challenger in a hurry. In a valley with features and mountain walls as distinct as in Taurus-Littrow, however, finding our spacecraft in an emergency would not be a problem. Rover navigation data primarily would be very helpful in reducing the time required to locate specific exploration objectives.

“[Jack,] You get that (Challenger) shadow up there [to block the Sun] and you’re all right. …Say again, Bob?”

“We want the range and bearing at the LM. I’m glad you remembered.” This procedure happened to be in Cernan’s Cuff Checklist, and he was good at referring to those instructions.

“Yes, sir, I’ll give it to you. I even got…ooh! Ooh, don’t get in there,” Cernan maneuvers to avoid a crater he had not seen due to the Sun’s glare. “Whoo! …[I] even got the low gain (antenna) working for you. I don’t know if you’re using it.”

“I think we’re using the LM right now [for VHF relay to Earth].”

“Boy, that LM is pretty,” enthused Cernan. “Whoo! …” Being a very colorful object in a gray landscape added greatly to the visual impact of Challenger.

“Bob,” I called, “everything I’ve seen so far indicates that the so-called “subfloor” boulders – if we have gotten that deep [with impact excavation] – are this gabbro. I’m out here at the SEP site, and the large blocks are still the plagioclase-pyroxene [gabbro]…”

“Jack, let me give them a range. I’ll be on my way out.”

“Go ahead.”

“Okay, bearing [to ALSEP] 292, [range] 0.2, and [distance driven] 0.2. I’m standing (parked) right in front of the MESA… Okay. I’m coming, Jack.” These data corresponded well with later determinations of location of the site I selected for the ALSEP.

“The zap pits [on the boulders] have nice white halos, although, for the most part, the rock’s too coarse [grained] to show them very well. Some of the larger ones have white halos …We may not be down to the subfloor, but it’s hard to say.” At this point, as there were no large boulders at the SEP site. While I waited for Cernan, I was adding general observations made during my run from the ALSEP to the SEP site.

“Hey, Bob, making 8 to 10 kilometers (per hour), and I’m barely moving [it seems].”

“Where’ve you got the SEP, Jack?”

“Right out over there,” I replied, pointing my arm toward the SEP so Cernan could see me better.”

“Okay, let me give them a bearing, distance, and range, and some numbers here [at the SEP].”

“Meet you over there. …Bob, I did see a dense gray rock that’s different than the others on my traverse out here. We’ll try to find some of that, too.”

“Okay, Bob, I’m reading 278, 003, and 003 at the SEP site.”

“And how about giving me amp-hours and batteries just as long as you’re there?”

“Yes, sir, it’s coming at you. Amp-hours are 112 and 110; batteries are 92 and about 112 [degrees F]. …Motors are all off-scale low. …NAV is going to RESET.”

“Jack, you can be getting on [the Rover],” Parker advised. “You won’t need a bomb (seismic charge), and I guess you won’t need the LMP camera unless you want it. We’ll be deploying the bomb at Steno.”

“I thought we were playing it by the checklist, Geno,” I said, having already taken a seismic charge EP-6 off the Geo-Pallet. I handed the charge to Cernan to hold while I got into my seat, saying, “Here’s the ‘bomb’.”

“Okay, give it to me.”

“[Or rather] the ‘charge’”, I corrected. “Bomb” probably was not the best term to be using, even in the less politically correct media environment of the time. Parker may have thought he was being funny using the term he had often used during our training.

“I’ve got it (the charge),” Cernan said.

“Yeah, it just happens that the station [at Steno] is at the place we were going to deploy the [seismic] charge,” Parker reminded me, but he changed “bomb” to “charge” in his speech.

“Okay, well, we got it off [the Geo-Pallet].”

“Do you know which side of Steno he wants us to go, Jack?” Cernan asked.

“Not yet.”

“Okay, let me fill you in on the plan, guys,” Parker said, responding to our hint. “We’re going to go to the west side of Steno, which is where you would have driven by anyway, and the stop will be at the 340/1.2, which is where you’ve got the little Delta for EP 6, in your checklist. And we will plan on spending about three-zero minutes there [for] sampling – primarily boulders.” Our Cuff Checklists at this point included a sketch map of the craters in the area with printed estimates of the bearing and range of various turning points relative to the location of the SEP transmitter. These estimates were based on the planned location of the transmitter and not on where I had actually placed it. The new bearing 340 and range 1.2 km, Parker had given us also were just that, estimates.

“Okay, Geno, west side of Steno, then,” I stated.

“Okay. I got it here [in the Checklist]. …Okay…”

“You got a good feeling on how to head out of here?”

“Yeah. …I want to get around the back side – now that I’m down there – on the back side of Trident, and make sure that what I’m looking at is Trident over there.” Cernan still was worried about where he landed.

“Okay, let me try to get on this thing (the Rover),” I declared.

“And, Seventeen, just to fill you in a little bit more here,” Parker said. “We’re looking at a six (hour) plus four-five (minute) EVA. We’ve given you fifteen minutes to drive to Station 1; thirty minutes at Station 1; and fifteen minutes to drive back to the SEP, and then deploying the SEP for two-two minutes. And then a four-zero-minute close-out at six plus four five.” This was far more information than we could assimilate or needed to assimilate.

“I’m sorry, Bob,” Cernan said. “After 30 minutes at Station 1, what did you say?”

“Okay. Then we’re going to drive back. There’s a 15-minute return to the SEP site; and then 22 minutes at the SEP site to deploy the SEP; and then return to the LM and 45 minutes for the closeout.”

“Okay. Understand. …Okay, [Jack,] you strapped in?

“Yes, sir.” While Parker rambled on, I had kicked-jumped into my seat and buckled my seat belt.

“Yeah, we’ve got to start getting in this Rover facing 90 degrees to the seats, I think …I did the same thing,” referring to my awkward jump into the seat.

“Did I kick dust?” I asked.

“Yeah, we both did.”

“I tried to knock it all off my feet.”

“Yeah; that’s impossible.”

Drive to Station 1 (Steno Crater)

“Okay, Jack. Let’s see if we can’t get around Trident East over here.”

“Well, I wish I didn’t have this charge. Shouldn’t have played it by the checklist. I wasn’t paying attention.” The change in plan about deploying EP-6 at Steno rather than on the way there came after I had removed it from its carrier. Holding the seismic charge rapidly began to tire my forearms.

“We’re on the move, Bob.”

“Okay, this is Trident, isn’t it?” I speculated. “So we’re starting out…”

“Well, it’s got to be,” Cernan asserted.

“Yeah. So, you’re starting out on the, …you really want to head about 29…”

“No, no, no.” Cernan is correct. I am still getting use to the traverse map in the Cuff Checklist.

“No, wait a minute. Where are we?” I wanted to be sure we started off in the right direction.

“We want to go southeast.”

“181…,” I finally read as the heading indicated on the map.”

“Seventeen, we’ll start out on the same general traverse that you’ve been on,” Parker broke in. “It’s just that we’ll stop it sooner.”

“Yeah, we understand. …We’re just getting our bearings, Bob.” Actually, we never got it right until we actually arrived at Steno Crater, but we spent some time mis-identifying various craters.

Then I said, “That’s an awful big depression over there, isn’t it?”

“It (the map) says go along this way [to the south]. Boy, it (the depression) sure is [deep].”

“Whee!” I exclaimed as Cernan went through a shallow crater and the Rover lurched to the right. “Watch it! Ho ho ho hold it, hold it, hold it!”

“Got it, got it, got it [under control]. …Boy, I tell you; I’ve got to get out [of driving] east. Stand by.”

“Gene, I think [we are off course]…” We needed to head south from the SEP site, not southeast.

“I’m going to head about one two zero (120 degrees) out of here,” Cernan declared.

“You’ve got another hole on your right here,” I alerted him.

“I got it.”

“Whoa, whoa. I’m not sure what’s the matter. Why don’t you go left there?”


“Go left around this thing,” I continued, starting to act more as a spotter than a geologist.

“And, Seventeen, Houston,” Parker called. “For your advice, we’re trying to use the low-gain antenna on this traverse also. …[You] might try and be good guys and turn it for us when you have to.

“Okay. Bob.”

“That’s gentle reminder number 1,” replied Parker.

“Gene, I think we need to head south,” I advised.

“Yeah. We’ve got to go out here southeast. What’s that big map look like in relation to Bear Mountain to you?”

“You mean the [traverse map]? …I’m not sure I can get to it.” I said, as I was trying to hold on to the seismic charge. At this point, I should have put the charge between my legs on the Rover floor pan.

“It’s [the numbers on the map] calling for 116 at 0.6 to [from] near the SEP.”

“[I can’t believe] I ended up with this charge in my hand. …There’s a big [crater out there]. …What are you headed now, south pretty much?”


“I think you’re getting [closer]. …That must be Emory over there. See with all the blocks in the wall?

“Where you looking? Which way?”


“Way over there?”


“This is very easily Steno right over here,” I said, finally getting a feel for where craters were relative to each other. “Let’s see, we’re between the two big ones (craters). …That would be Powell.”

“That would be Powell on the right,” Cernan agreed.

“You think? Certainly doesn’t look like the L&A (Landing and Ascent training model) yet.”

That brought a laugh from Cernan. “No, it sure doesn’t.”

“How about a range and bearing, guys,” Parker requested, “I think we can help you.”

“Okay, 330, 0.3.”

“Okay, it sounds like you’re probably just driving by the East Trident or Trident 3.”

“You think all that right there is Trident?” I asked, puzzled.

“My god, if it is, that’s incredible,” Cernan added. “That’s hard to believe.”

“Well, there, …you’re going to go in a hole with your right [wheel],” I warned. …No problem.”

“I can’t see the lip [of that crater] too well because of the [Sun]…”

“Well, if that’s Trident,” I started to say that Steno should be due south of us.

“And, Jack, do you have your camera on? Parker broke in. If so, could you give me a frame count some time?”

“Boy, I wish they’d caught me with this (charge before I got on the Rover). …Bob, I got my hands full with this charge.”

“Oh, okay, forgot about that one. Sorry about that.”

“Looks like four-five [frames],” I said, after finally being able to look. Again, Parker should have thought about what we were trying to do before asking a purely housekeeping question. “Boy, if that’s Trident, whoo!”

“Hey, you know that is. …Don’t you suppose that’s Trident?” Cernan wondered, finally coming around to understanding where we had landed.

“Well, it sure looks like it, doesn’t it?” I said, making out the other two craters in the triplet. We both were having trouble adjusting to the actual scale of craters depicted on the Checklist’s traverse map, as well as our memory of what the simulator model had portrayed. The absence of familiar size , that is, trees, houses, etc., is the basic problem of making size and distance estimates on the Moon.

“Yeah. We were quite a ways from Trident [when we landed],” Cernan stated when that realization dawned on him.

“I bet you it is [Trident],” I replied, emphatically.

“If that’s true… We’re [now] at 302/0.4. That’s about right; we’re half a mile (kilometer). …That’s about right. Boy, what (the crater) I was looking at [as] Trident (300 m) isn’t anywhere near that big.”

“Okay, if that’s true, then we want to go…,” I said, pointing my tired hand to the south.

“Yes, sir.”

“…We want to go 181.”

“Yes, sir, we’re all right now. That’s got to be Trident. What we were looking at before, …I’ve got to stop and see what that is. I’ve got to look at those maps when we get [back] in [the LM].”

“Well, it’s a triplet [of craters] all right,” I observed, “with some septum between,. …Well, wish I could take pictures. Take a few, but…

“Well, let me get a few here.”

“Well, you keep pressing. We can get them coming back… [I can] take a few, but it’s not continuous. My hands are giving out. I wish I hadn’t said ‘follow the checklist’. …Okay, we’re at 0.5 and 346. And the surface has not really changed except slightly more hummocky and rolling, because of a larger number of irregular depressions or craters. The…Boom!…” I exclaimed as Cernan hit a small crater. “The rocks at first glance from the Rover look very much like what we had around the LM. That’s the big ones [I get a good look at]…” A review of photographs we took along our route from the SEP site to near Steno (AS17-134-20390 to -93 and AS17-136-20723 to -38) indicates that the abundance of large boulders is significantly less than what my words would indicate. In fact, the number of such boulders appears less than that encountered in the vicinity of the ALSEP. As would be expected, the frequency of rock fragments increases as we approached the 600 m diameter Steno Crater.

“Jack, you might be expecting a water flag and a tone in a couple of minutes,” Parker warned; “go to AUX.”

“Okay.” We had used (sublimated) about 8.5 pounds of water for cooling at this point and had about 3.4 pounds in the auxiliary tank to cool us for the remainder of EVA-1.”

“And CDR[’s tone] will be about 5 minutes after that.

“I think maybe that might be Steno over there,” I said.

“I don’t think we’re too far off.”

“Okay, there’s my [tone]. …I’ve got to go to AUX.”

“Can you reach it?”

“I hope so.” I had to reach back under the right corner of the PLSS for the AUX switch. “Okay, Houston, do you see me in AUX?”

“Stand by. Roger. We see you in AUX,” Parker replied after getting a nod from Bill Bates at the PLSS Console

“I’m going to hit some of these (craters) broadside, Jack,” Cernan announced, “and then we won’t get any roll angle.”

“Okay, how far have you come?” I asked Cernan.

“I’ve got to go about another 0.7 kilometers, [according to the map]. I may be coming up on the edge of it (Steno). I don’t know, I’m on the right bearing. Yeah, we’re all right. Steno has got a dimple on the north. Boy, this is a heck of a way to start out our [lunar] navigation because it’s into the cross-Sun here. …Not cross-Sun, but [into the] Sun. Now, that’s got to be Powell, wouldn’t you say?”

“Yeah. Must be. Must be. …Then that’s Steno with all the blocks in it.”

“Boy, am I glad we didn’t land out here! Whew!”

“See this high point up here coming ahead?” I asked. “That should give us our bearings, I hope. …I can’t hold that bomb any longer.”

“What are you going to do with it?”

“I’m going to drop it at my feet.” I should have done this much earlier.

“Okay, it’s there [on the floor],” Cernan said, as he was able to see it and I could not. “Keep it between your feet.”

“I will. My hands aren’t going to be any good for sampling.”

“Okay, that’s Powell, huh?…”

“Yes,” I agreed. “Okay, if that’s Powell, …quite a ways over there, but I think the thing to do is get up on that little ridge there.”

“Yeah; I think we may end up looking right into Steno when we get up there. Bob, we’re at 342/0.9,” Cernan reported. “Are you reading the low gain, by the way?”

“Roger. Beautiful. 340 and 1.2 is where we expect the station to be, …and it should be up on the top of a little bit of a rise…that you see coming up there. …[You’re] almost to that rise. You ought to be in the vicinity of some very large boulders.”

“Houston,… there are certainly a lot of big boulders,” I agreed. “Whoop!”

“Let me take a look into the Sun here,” stated Cernan. “That doesn’t look what I thought Steno looked like. There’s no dimple there [that I can see]. ‘One-point-two’,” he said. All right. This is it over here, though, I guess.”

“Yeah, Steno ought to be right at your 9 o’clock there, Gene,” Parker suggested.

“At my 9 o’clock. Yeah.

“Either that or your 3 o’clock. I forgot which one it is.” Parker is much too involved in giving directions based on too little information and is actually confusing things.

“How do you know where we are?” Cernan asked, apparently thinking along the same lines. “I think you’re probably right, although it doesn’t impress me as what I saw in the L&A (simulator model).”

“How much time have we got to drive now, Bob?, I asked, trying to stop this fruitless discussion.

“Okay, stand by.”

“I think that’s probably Emory up there,” Cernan said, again looking at the large crater to the south that we could see part way into. “That’s Steno [just ahead], I guess.”

“Gene and Jack, we’d like you to, …if you’re in the vicinity, we think you’re just about there. We were planning on you leaving the SEP and getting to this place at about 4 plus 58 [into the EVA] and we’re showing about 5 plus 00 right now so you’re right on time. And if you’re at [bearing] 340 and [range] 1.2 in that vicinity, you must be at the Station or very close to it where you can see. Over.”

“Well, it doesn’t look real familiar, Bob,” I state, “as far as Steno’s concerned.”

“Okay, I got [my tone and water flag],” Cernan reported.

“I think they can locate us [from our photos],” I stated, “if we work that block field right there.” We actually ended up about 150 m north of Steno.

“Let me get my [AUX] water,” Cernan said.

“Okay, on the map, Jack, that you’re probably looking at, you’re seeing that, with north being 12 o’clock, there are a couple of boulders at about the 09:30 position on Steno. And then there’s a couple of more at about the 9 o’clock position on Steno. And we’re putting the station right in the midst of all those boulders. Over.”

“Well, Bob, I don’t know. It’s hard to follow that that’s where we are. I’m not sure. It doesn’t look like what I expected Steno to look like.”

“No, me neither,” agreed Cernan.

“Okay. What’s the range and bearing one more time?” queried Parker.


“I think it would almost be worth [going a little farther],” I said, wishfully, thinking about getting a good look at one or two large boulders.

“I bet that’s Emory up on that hill. …It’s got to be. Yep,” Cernan interjected.

“Okay, well, let’s [park and get to work],” I urged.

“We better park in this boulder field here. Get in this boulder field.”

“I wish we could have gotten near one of the big ones,” I said, “but let’s do it. We’re going to run out of time.”


“That’s affirmative, guys,” agreed Parker, speaking, I presume, for the Flight Director Griffin. “There’s no point in deviating around and spending 15 minutes trying to get a particular spot or down to a bigger boulder. You must be in the near vicinity. If you’re really worried about it, I guess you might drive a little bit to the east to the rim of the…crater, unless you’re there. Over. Your judgment.”

“No, we’re okay,” I said to stop the speculation. “We got a good place.”

“Okay, I’m parked 180 [heading],” Cernan said, following the Checklist for Rover thermal control.

“Roger. Stand by on that a minute.” Someone wanted the Rover headed in a different direction, but this was not the time to worry about that as we would not be here very long.

“You want us to get off?” Cernan asked. “What do you mean?

“Okay. No,” Parker stuttered, obviously getting conflicting inputs.

“What heading?” I asked, somewhat shortly.

“Okay. I was just wondering about where you were going to park. Go ahead and park 180 (south). There was a question on whether they wanted us to park into the Sun, but don’t worry. …180 is a good heading.

Cernan then read off the information on the Rover’s gauges. “I’m headed 182, 346 (bearing), 1.2 [driving distance], 1.1 [range to SEP], 110 [and] 108 [amp-hours], 100 and 118 (battery temperatures), and off-scale-low on all of the motors.”

“You want this charge deployed here?” I asked Parker.

“That’s affirmative, Jack.”

“I’ll deploy it now.” This is the first of eight seismic charges to be activated. EP-6 contained 454 grams of explosive and, like the other charges, it had an elaborate safety system to insure that none exploded before being commanded to after we left the Moon. Had we gone as far as Emory for Station 1, we would have deployed the next larger charge.

To activate the charge, I pulled three pins in sequence, activating a timed process that eventually would allow the charge to be exploded by a radio signal from Earth during a short window of predetermined time.[46] The first pin activated a timer that, 90 hours later, would move a SAFE/ARM plate from between a pyrotechnic initiator and the explosive charge. The second pin actually released the SAFE/ARM plate so it eventually could move. The third pin, really two pins joined together, freed a firing pin and started a second timer that would initiate a thermal battery with a 2-minute-life after the SAFE/ARM plate had moved away from the explosive. This gave Mission Control a 2-minute window during which it could send a signal to set off the initiator and thus the explosive. If no firing signal were received during these 2 minutes, then no future detonation would be possible. In spite of these safety precautions, all eight deployed charges exploded on command well after we left the valley. The Rover television camera later recorded the detonation of this particular charge.

Okay, the fenders are still on, thank goodness,” Cernan observed as he dismounted and walked around the Rover.

“Beautiful. We’ll give you the Taper of the Year award,” responded Parker.

“Boy, you’re going to have to give me the Duster of the Year Award after this.”

Meanwhile, I began to pull the activation pins on the seismic charge. “Pin 1, MARK; 2, MARK[and] Safe; Pin 3, MARK [and] Safe. …That [charge position] will be in the pans, Geno.” Anxious to get to observations and sampling, I deferred taking the panorama planned for Station 1 until later.

“Bob, you got MODE [2],” Cernan said as he turned on the TV.

“Just to confirm that is EP-6, right?” Parker asked, unnecessarily, as it was now activated. Fortunately for Parker, I did not hear him due to the switch to High Gain transmission. “Seventeen, Houston. Do you read?”

Steno Crater – Station 1

“Okay, Bob,” I began, “we’re about 15 meters from a 20-meter (diameter) blocky-rimmed crater. It’s about 3 to 4 meters deep. All the blocks on the rim look like the pyroxene-plagioclase gabbro – the vesicular rock [we have] seen at the LM. At least, all [the boulders] that I’ve seen so far [are this type].” I had overestimated the diameter of this crater; later analysis showed it to be about 10 m in diameter.

“I copied that, Jack. And is this crater to the east or west?”

“It’s to the northwest of the Rover. …The vesicle population [in the rocks] varies from about a millimeter to one centimeter [in diameter]. It forms about 15 percent of the rock…10 to 15 [percent]. And I’ve given you grain size for the rocks near the LM and that goes well for this one. …There is the parting that I mentioned, still of somewhat unknown origin, and we’ll try and get a sample along a parting plane. It’s clearly evident in one of the bigger blocks.”

This boulder and those around it probably were originally part of Steno’s ejecta blanket. The chances are that the much smaller crater, on the rim of which we found the boulder, recycled Steno ejecta. At about 600 m in diameter, the Steno impact probably excavated subfloor material from as deep as 120 m. All though irregular in distribution, depending on the structure of the target rocks and the angle of impact, continuous ejecta from large, circular impact craters normally extends for about one crater diameter. Samples of boulders at a point about 150 m from the rim of Steno, or about one quarter of a crater diameter from the rim, may have come from a depth of 80-100 m into the subfloor material.

“Hey, Bob, just as we stopped the Rover,” Cernan reported, “I went on AUX water. Do you want me to turn my primary water off? I don’t have to, do I?”

“No, no; no need to,” answered Parker. Cernan had forgotton that the AUX water flowed through the PRIMARY tank.

“That’s what I figured. Just wanted to cover all bets. Okay, Jack. I think, I’ve got my housekeeping done.”

“Okay. Get your hammer. We’re going to need it.”

“I’ve been carrying it all day, it’s about time I used it. Okay.”

“Bob, you’re going to want a core at this site?” I asked.

“Roger. We’d like to get…” Parker sometimes confused things by using “roger” instead of “affirmative” in answer to a question. Then he paused and summarized the current priorities based on the time we had available. “Number 1 priority will be some block samples, including any dirt that was on the blocks, if there is such. And then the second priority is a rake soil sample; the third priority is a double core. Then, also in there, the pans, of course, and other documented samples. But the double core is there, although it is third priority.” Some geology tasks originally scheduled for Emory were being eliminated due to time lost with ALSEP deployment.

“Okay,” Cernan acknowledged.

“Gene, …got your gnomon, huh?”

“Yep, I’ve got my gnomon, and I’ve got to give them a TGE [measurement]. When you said ‘bring a hammer,’ I came [over too soon].”

“I’m sorry.”

“No, no problem.”

“Well, I shouldn’t have [interrupted]…”

“The two go hand-in-hand.”

“Nothing disrupts your thought patterns more than somebody saying something,” I sympathized.

“Well, listen, this is my first geology stop. I guess I’m entitled to do that; Bob, you ready for a MARK?”


“Okay. MARK it. The light’s flashing. …Okay, you got one [a boulder] picked out?”

“Yes, let’s see if we can work on that one,” I suggested. “It’s at the [crater] edge, but we can chip at the parting plane. And that’s one of the things that’s come up that I think is of interest; we’ve got to figure out why they (large boulders) have that foliation in them.” These parting planes in basalt lavas on Earth usually represent roughly horizontal planes of flow and are important for determining the original orientation of the boulder in outcrop. This eventually becomes important in studies of the much larger boulders sampled at Station 5 (Chapter 11).

“Boy, that rock is one of the more vesicular ones I’ve seen


“Well, they’re all about that [degree of vesicularity], Gene. They’re either that or mixed with that variety. In the same boulder you’ll see a non-vesicular, …or relatively non-vesicular [portion as well]. Okay, that’s the [boulder to sample and photograph]… (Fig. 10.24). (AS17-134-20394-6)”

Fig. 10.24. The first major observation and sampling location for Apollo 17 located at the rim of a small crater to the north of and in the ejecta blanket of Steno Crater. The boulder sampled is vesicular, high titanium basalt, with photographic vertical, size, and gray and color control provided by the gnomon (see text below). (NASA photo AS17-134-20395).

“Watch your shadow,” he warned me as I move to take a down-Sun picture of the boulder face as he set the gnomon near the rock in preparation for a stereo pair of photographs. These photographs would later allow the USGS geologists to locate and determine the orientation of the samples we took from the boulder.

[The gnomon represented the last vestiges of Eugene Shoemaker’s original idea for the astronauts to have a “Geologic Staff” that would have the capability to automatically document, in stereo, the size, shape, location and context of each lunar sample. Although NASA spent about a million dollars on a required small business contract to develop the Staff, it proved to be beyond the bureaucratic and technical ability of the government and the contractor to do so. The gnomon and our operational procedure for sample documentation, although more time consuming, ended up providing the geometric control of photographs necessary for precise analysis of each sample. Many of these photographs have been compiled into anaglyphs that can be viewed in stereo using red and blue or cyan glasses.

Specifically, the gnomon provided a gimbaled rod that sought the local vertical, a 40 centimeter scale on that rod, a ground shadow from the rod that established the Sun azimuth, and both a gray scale and three international color reference patches for photometric calibration. Reseau marks from a focal plane plate in the Hasselblad cameras gave geometric control of any post-imaging film distortion. Recently, Ronald Wells has compiled many of the stereo pairs taken for sample documentation, as well as the inherent stereo within photographic panoramas, into images that can be viewed in 3D.[47]]

“That’s the down-Sun [photo],” I reported. “Oh, locator’s right into the Sun.” This locater photo was a shot from the boulder to the Rover.

“[Sample] Right at that overlapping fracture, huh?” Cernan asked.

“Yeah. Let me get where I can maybe save the rock [fragment as it shoots off the boulder]. If you can hook your [blade in the fracture, it may break off]…”

“That’s what I’m going to do,” Cernan agreed. “I’m going to try and get it right…right up on top is where I’d like to…[hit it].”

“If you hit it on the right side [of the fracture], it’ll go this way, maybe. …There you go,” I said as Cernan hit with the hammer]. Good man.”

“Piece right there… I can get another one, too.”

“Try another one,” I suggested.

“Don’t lose that [first] one… Let me get that one for you [with the tongs].”

“I can get it [with the scoop].”

“Got it?”

“Whoops,” I exclaimed as the first fragment got away from me in the dust.

“Can you keep it in sight here for a minute? Is that it?”


“Go ahead [with another hit],” I advised. “Try hitting [the edge of the boulder]. …There you go. Can you use the other end (the blade) against the right side of the rock?” I advised as Cernan hit the main part of the rock three sets of five blows. He kept forgetting that it is easier to get a sample off an edge than to try to break the entire boulder. I was aching to take the hammer and show him how to do it. My fifteen months of training with Cernan in this regard apparently had had no effect.

Fig. 10.25. The Station 1 boulder after sampling on this side (cf. Fig. 10.24). A large piece has been removed from the crest (see Fig. 10.27­­), and a smaller piece from the upper part of the sharp plane of foliation that roughly lies along the line of sight in the photograph. (NASA photo AS17-134-20396).

“It’s coming,” Cernan said with breaking the boulder now a matter of pride.

“That’s all right,” I said trying to move on.

“I’ll get that one, wait a minute.”

“Be careful down in there,” I warned as Cernan moved inside the crater rim.

Fig. 10.26. Part of a photographic panorama that I made at the first stop at Station 1, which includes a view of the entire crater. The boulder we sampled is the large one left of center on the crater edge. The North Massif lies along the far horizon. (NASA photo composite from AS17-136-20749, ‑50, -51).

“The whole thing is going to fracture off here, in a minute. Just want to…” and he keeps hitting the boulder.

“[It’s] Trying [to break],” I said in encouragement.

“It’s trying to fall.”

“Don’t wear your hand out,” I advised. …That’s good, Gene.”

“Wait a minute. Let me give one more whack. The whole thing is [breaking],” Cernan said, optimistically, and hits it three more whacks.

“No, that’s (rock) too tight. Let me get that other piece [with the tongs].”

“Okay. Bag 476 (71035-37) is the rock sample with a little bit of the soil near it,” I reported as I slid the first chip out of the scoop into a bag. “[It is a sample] of a chip. …A chip off the rock, and it’s the…watch it, Gene.” He was still at some risk of sliding down into the crater.

“Here’s the other chip,” Cernan said as he extended his tongs toward me. “If I go down there, that thing (the crater) is about 15 feet deep.

“Right, …Got it [the second fragment],” I report as he releases the tong’s grip and the chip falls into the bag I am holding open. “Okay? Now, do you think you can chip off the other side of that plane, up on the edge?”

“Yep. Yep,” Cernan says as he climbs out of the crater.

“Then we’ll get the soil, and maybe just a small rock, non-chipped [off the boulder].”

“Let me tell you, my hands from that drill [are really tired],” admitted Cernan.

“Yes, I’m sure they are.”

“[I] really know I’ve been out here today…”

“[Bag] 476, Bob.”

“Copy that, Jack.”

“It’s from the southeast side of the parting plane…”

Cernan took some more whacks at the boulder and finally broke off a hand-sized, flat sample. “There it is, a whole big slab, right there.

“Okay, very good,” I said.

“Oh, look at those dark minerals in there,” Cernan observed. “Are those dark black.”

“Yeah, they may be ilmenite or fresh pyroxene. …We’ll look at it.”

“Gives [me] the impression of pyroxene,” Cernan continued. I picked up the sample with the scoop, took hold of it, and stuck the scoop in the regolith to have both hands free for bagging it with the other fragments of the boulder in Bag 476.

“Okay, you want [to get to] my bag (SCB)?” Cernan asked. “I tell you, if you work on any kind of slope, like this little crater, [it is a challenge]…” Then, so I can more easily reach his SCB, he leaned forward, as we practiced so many times, and I put 476 away.

“Okay, I’m going to leave it (the SCB) open for a minute.”


“[Geno,] You’re going to have to use your tongs on that one (the ‘big slab’), I think.”


“I got it.” Cernan hands me a sample bag from his packet.

“And, Seventeen,” Parker calls, “a reminder to factor into your thinking, this is only a 30-minute stop, and there’s about two-zero (20) minutes remaining.”

“Yes, sir. But we got to sample something,” I replied. Sometimes the timekeepers forgot why we came to the Moon.

“Here’s a big one,” Cernan says, knocking a large fragment of a corner of the boulder from which we had just taken chips. “Get him the bag number, too.”

Fig. 10.27. Three views of Sample 71055 (the ‘big slab’) from the crest of the boulder in Fig. 10.25 ↑­­ as seen in the Lunar Sample Receiving Lab. The highly vesicular nature of this basalt is clearly shown in these views. (NASA photos S73-16172, -16164, -16168).

“Bag 454 (71055),” I report. “Okay, and the flashes are from inside of vugs and recrystallized vesicles.” They looked like pyroxene flashes; but I suspected ilmenite to be more likely. I had little problem distinguishing these two minerals when looking at earlier lunar samples in the Lunar Receiving Laboratory; however, with the limitations of visors and distance, it was not quite so clear in the field.

[71055 is a medium-grained, vesicular ilmenite (20-30%) basalt with a few percent olivine in a locally plumose, or feather-like crystalline matrix. Samples 71035-37 came from the same boulder. Partially recrystallized vesicles are lined with both pyroxene and ilmenite. Vesicles constitute up to 30% of the chips. One chemical analysis places the TiO2 content at about 13 weight percent with ilmenite at 20% volume percent, both amounts being much higher than found in terrestrial basalts.

The Rb-Sr age for 71055 is 3.54±0.09 billion years and the exposure age is 110±7 million years. As this exposure age is about 25 million years younger than the possible Steno impact age measured for fragment 71569 from a rake sample (see below), it may roughly date the impact that formed the crater on whose rim we collected the Station 1 documented rock samples.]

“I’ll get my “after” picture,” Cernan said.

“Okay; and let me get in there and get some soil.”

“Okay, let’s get it (soil) first [before the photo].”

“[I will scoop] From the north side [of the boulder].” I said. This would be soil that probably did not get direct Sunlight. “Whoops. Okay, the [454] bag tore around that [sample]; it’s a pretty jagged rock, but I think it’ll hold.”

“Pretty good slab,” Cernan commented.

“It’s in yours (SCB).”


“It’s (454) in Gene’s Sample Collection Bag. And a scoop sample [is next]. …You got a bag handy, Gene?” Cernan holds a bag open while I dump my soil sample into it. Again, in the suits, the buddy system of sampling and bagging is far better than trying to do it alone.

“Okay, Bag 455 (71040-49, 75), Bob,” Cernan says, “Is from the west side of the rock. It’s under a slight overhang of the rock.”

“In a shadow, anyway,” I added. If this soil was from permanent shadow, due to the high latitude of Taurus-Littrow and the near perpendicular orientation of the Moon’s axis relative to the solar ecliptic, cold-trapped solar wind or volcanic volatiles might be concentrated in that shadow.

“Okay, that’s (previous sample) from about 1 centimeter down…1 to 2 centimeters,” I report. “And the next one is down to about 5…5 or 6 centimeters. …And it’s got some chips in it. That’s (the second scoop) [in] Bag 456 (71060-69, 85-89, 95-97), Bob.” “Shoot,” I said and laughed as I stumbled a little and spilled some of the second soil sample from the scoop.”

[The regolith material (71041) collected with 71035-37 has an agglutinate content of 27.4% and a low to intermediate Is/FeO maturity index of 29, suggesting protection from solar wind sputtering due to shadowing. It contains about 11.7% orange and black glass particles in the 90-150 µm-size fraction.

Regolith sample 71061, from about 5 cm below the surface, contains only about 9.3% agglutinates, but it has 15.9% orange and black volcanic glass in the 90-150 µm size fraction, strongly suggesting that the sample came from a separate, volcanic glass-rich layer a meter or so below the top of the Steno ejecta blanket and now excavated to the crater rim by the impact that formed the crater on which we worked. Color photographs of the interior of the crater (Figs. 10.24, 10.25), however, show no obvious dark layer in the crater wall. On the other hand, three or four brightly illuminated, small impact craters on the west wall of the crater, about 2 m below the rim, appear to have ejecta blankets that are darker gray than the rest of the wall. As will be mentioned below in connection with the rake sample, regolith on Steno’s main ejecta blanket contains less than three percent volcanic glass, supporting the hypothesis of a buried layer, rich in orange and black glass.]

“Yeah, I know. I know,” Cernan sympathized.

“Oh, shoot,” I said as I dropped the scoop.

“Hey! 1.2 kilometers is a long way from the LM. Look at the Challenger down there. Makes you get a feel for how big this valley really is.”

“I’d rather not,” I joked, as I started to pick up the scoop.

“Okay. I’ll help you,” Cernan offered.

“I got it.” I had already learned to step on the angled head of the scoop so that the handle rose up where I could reach it.

“Turn around,” suggested Cernan, “and let me help you get these (samples) in your bag.”

“I learned how [to pick up the scoop].”

“You learn of necessity out here” As Cernan put the soil samples in my SCB, he said, “Okay. See if we can’t fill this up for Christmas.”

“Okay, let’s [get going],” I suggested. “You happy there?”


“Let’s get your ‘after’ [photo]…”


“And if we can, we might get just a block instead of beating on it, and then we’ll go to the rake. Let’s go around to the [east]…

“Bob wants a core here, too, huh?”

“Yeah, but the rake’s next [priority], as you might imagine. Geno, now this stuff here looks a little less vesicular. Why don’t we try that one?”

“Hey, look at this rock, where the vesicularity changes from a hummocky vesicularity to a very fine vesicular. Look at this… Let me try and crack [it]. …See that? The change [in vesicularity]?” Cernan’s use of the term “hummocky vesicularity” gave a pretty good description of the surface texture of the boulder. That texture indicated that micro-meteor erosion had accented the vesicles at their edges, leaving exaggerated “hummocks” in between.

“Yeah, that’s what I’m after; that’s it,” I told Cernan.

“Let’s see if I can’t crack [it],” he repeated.

“That’s it. That’s what I saw in that other boulder.”

“Let’s see if I can’t crack the corner and get that contact.” This is a contact between units with a significant variation in average vesicle content (~30% versus ~15%) and size (~4 mm versus ~2 mm, respectively). This contact is much like those I had noted and photographed in boulders near the ALSEP site.

“Yeah. Or get a piece of both.” I suggested as an alternative. “I think you can get [them], …if you can reach down there.”

“[Lets] See if I can’t get a [piece of it]. …That’s a contact in a rock.”

“Yep.” We then went into our documentation procedure again with the gnomon near the boulder as Cernan took a stereo ‘before” pair of photos (AS17-134-20397, through -404), and I took the down Sun (AS17-136-20741) and locator photos. It is clear from the photographs that the boulder concentration on rim and walls of this crater is much greater than in the surrounding area (see Fig. 10.26 ↑­­), but there is no indication that the crater penetrated to bedrock. This supports the conclusion that the samples came from within the ejecta blanket of Steno.

“Beautiful. And, do you guys see any 2-meter boulders around there?”

“We just sampled one,” I reminded Parker, although the boulder we sampled was about a meter above the ground and not two meters.

“Well, I wish [I could] get over here [into the crater] and try and knock it [off]…”

“Well, if that one showed up in the photos,” Parker puzzled, “I wonder why those down near the ALSEP didn’t show up.”

“No, we’re not where you think we are. We’re not sure where we are.” And knowing was not as important as getting the samples. Exact locations can be figured out from the photographs.

“Gene, can you get down into that [crater]? Need some help?”

“Yeah, just give me the shovel (scoop) to hold myself with. Give me a shovel.” Leaning on the scoop’s handle, this time Cernan knocked off a small rock chip with just a couple of blows from an edge of the boulder. Maybe he was learning from his recent experience with the first boulder.

“How about that one? Yeah,” I said with enthusiasm.

“Get that little piece.”

“Okay, I see it.”

“It’s pretty hard,” Cernan acknowledged. “See if I can’t [come at it from a different angle]. … It’s low and hard to hit.”

“How about coming around from this side?” I suggested.”

“Well, I got the gnomon in the wrong place, really.”

“Let me see your [hammer],” I said, deciding to take charge.

“Can you reach it (the sample I wanted)?” Cernan asked.

“Well, I’m going to lean on the rock, maybe.”

“I got that other little piece in sight.” While Cernan kept track of his first chip, I gave two sharp blows to the edge of the boulder and a nice sample broke loose. Experience in sampling outcrops on Earth always helps.

“Okay, I got that piece in sight, too. Let me [get it]…”

“Get them both with your [tongs],” I said.

“Let me get them both right now [with the scoop].”

“You can stick that (scoop) in the ground if you [need a place to put it]. … Okay, [Bob,] this is a sample of the more coarsely vesicular rock,” I described, as I kept leaning on the rock so I could see a freshly broken surface up close. “You got it (the chip) in your hand?” I asked.

“I got them both [in sight]. I think, actually, we got a sample of both sides; but I wouldn’t bet on it.

After hitting the east edge of the boulder a quick, sharp whack, I said, “…I just got a chunk of that side…”

“Okay, I got both of these [rock fragments],” Cernan said, using the scoop and transferring the samples to his left hand.

“See that rock right over there on the little mound, just projecting out of the edge of it?” I asked, pointing with the hammer. … There you go; you just about touched it [with the scoop]. Right there, that piece.”

“I’ll get that piece,” says Cernan as he plants the scoop in the regolith and tries to take a bag off his packet while holding on to the first two fragments.

“And that’s the samples from either side of the contact, anyway,” I summarized as I pushed upright from the boulder I had been sampling.

“Can you get a bag?” Cernan asked.

“They’re pretty small [samples],” I noted, somewhat disappointed.

“Give me the hammer, and get a bag, and I’ll [put these fragments in it]…”

“You take the hammer,” I agreed.

“I got these in my hand [that] I want to put [in] there.”

“Okay. Bag 477 (71130-34, 35-36) is the coarsely vesicular rock,” I reported.

“Are two of them (chips) [in] there?” Cernan asked. “I hope two of them fell in.”

“No, I only got one.”

“Okay, here’s that other one. It had to fall right here.”

“I don’t think it ever [went in the bag]. …There it is,” I said; “get your tongs.”

“Right here?”

“Now you’re full of dirt in the scoop; you just covered it up.” That is why I wanted him to use his tongs.

“Got it; I got it.”

“Here, put it in here with the dirt. That’s good. A little dirt never hurt anybody… Got it.”

“[In Bag] 477 [there] are two chips,” I said, revising my previous report. “They’re small, but I think they’ll [show] if there’s any compositional difference [across the parting plane].”

“Are these two [pieces] are the ones you saw?” Cernan asked, pointing to the last fragments I broke off. “That right there? …That’s what you pointed at.

“Yeah, I think you got it.”

“Okay. I’m going to take a close-up stereo on that contact,” Cernan stated.

“Yeah. Definitely,” I agreed as I removed a bag for the remaining samples.”

[Both chips (71135 and 71136) consist of vesicular ilmentite basalt with minor olivine, but differed in one sample being fine-grained and the other medium-grained with plume-like intergrowths of minerals. The fine-grained rock, 71136, may have been quenched as part of the top of a flow, broken up, and then incorporated in lava that cooled more slowly so that complex intergrowths of minerals could form. 71136 is about a half a percentage point richer in SiO2 and TiO2 than its coarser grained companion but other chemical differences appear small.

Sample 71135 has a solar wind exposure age of 102 million years, consistent with that for 71055 and possibly reflecting the age of the Station 1 crater impact.]

“Okay; and, Jack and Gene, when you get done with that boulder, we’d like you to move on to a rake-soil sample, please; and that’ll be a kilogram sample [also], please.” Parker definitely stated the obvious, sometimes.

“Yes, sir; we’re going to. We’re going to,” I replied with some impatience. “In Bag 478 (71155) is the chip from the more finely vesicular rock. Both of them are coarse. It’s a small chip; but it’ll tell the story, I think.” I put both 477 and 478 in Cernan’s SCB.

[Sample 71155 came from the same boulder as 71135 and 71136. It is a fine-grained ilmenite (18.4%) and olivine (6.1%) bearing basalt. In addition to being more finely vesicular, it has a more granular texture than the other samples from the boulder. Like terrestrial basalt flows, a great deal of textural and mineralogical variability exists in this single boulder due to variations in rates of chilling and annealing within a single flow. As suggested earlier, eruptive pulses of lava also may have differed in their vesicle content due to variations in the time for gases to evolve from the melt and for vesicles to accumulate.]

“Dust, dust, dust, dust,” Cernan voiced our continuing, but unavoidable battle with the most basic of lunar environmental elements. “Here you are,” he said, handing me the scoop. “I’ll go ahead and get a close-up [of this boulder we sampled].”

“Get a close-up, and I’ll get the rake. I’ll get started on the rake [sample].”


“Gene, if you can pick up one more rock in that picture, with your tongs, let’s bag it.” I was always looking for a quick way to get a documented sample.

“I’ll get it.”

“As you come back.

“And, 17; we’d like to have you guys…driving in 10 minutes, please.”

“Nag, nag, nag.”

“That’s right, that’s right, that’s right,” retorted Parker.

Meanwhile, Cernan tried to work his camera. “Sure wish I could read this [camera setting]. …Boy, I can’t see my camera [f-stop] setting, it’s so full of dust.”

“I guess you want to sort of [rake]…out in nothing’s land here, huh? …I can bag it (the sample I asked for) for you, Geno.”

“That’s all right. I want to get this close-up here.”

“Okay, I’ve moved about 5 to 8 meters northeast of the Rover,” I informed Parker as I prepared for gathering the rake sample. “And as soon as Gene gets here with the gnomon, [I will get to work]…”

My good natured hint worked as Cernan said, “Coming, coming. …Bob, I’ve got a sample that was laying next to that boulder. I did not get an after picture of it; but, as I was taking my cross-Sun pictures, it is on my side of the boulder just 4 or 5 inches, covered with the dark mantle.”

“I think we probably disturbed that one [during our work on the boulder],” I added. “It’ll probably show up in the ‘befores’… And that’s (rock sample) in Bag 479 (71175).

[71175 is a medium-grained, equigranular ilmenite (19.4%) basalt similar to the previous rock samples, but apparently showing more obvious olivine (1.7%) in hand specimen than samples from the nearby boulder.]

“Okay, where do you want a rake?” Cernan asked.

“Gene, let’s rake right out there,” pointing to the area northeast of the Rover I had mentioned to Parker.

“Look, let’s go ahead and bag (put) that one [in my SCB], and I’ll get the gnomon out there [in the area you want to rake].”


“Bob,” Cernan called, “as you might have seen from the [TV] camera, up towards where we think Emory is, you get a pretty high concentration of boulders up there.”

“And I think that that’s where we thought we were,” Parker responded; “a little bit closer to Emory than you are.”

“Well, we thought about going on up there; although we’re in a pretty good area here, too, from the standpoint of boulders. …[Jack, put the gnomon] facing the Sun,” Cernan reminded me… “I think for the most part, large and small, all the fragments seem to be filleted or even mantled by the dark material,” Cernan observed, correctly.

[Once we had left the vicinity of the Challenger, where dust winnowed by the Descent Engine may have produced soil aprons or “fillets” around rocks and boulders projecting from the regolith, it became clear that natural “filleting” occurred as a consequence of boulder erosion and the spray of regolith produced by macro- and micrometeorite impacts. Exposed boulders will have regolith debris thrown against them by near-by impacts and that debris will accumulate around their bases. The same phenomena could have taken place during eruptions of any recent pyroclastic material that the Geological Survey photo-mappers concluded had blanketed the area at some time in the recent past. Although I would not discover proof of those eruptions until tomorrow, it was becoming evident that if such pyroclastic eruptions had occurred, their ash had been intimately mixed into the regolith as impacts gardened the surface Later, with the samples back on Earth, it would be learned that this gardening took place over billions of years rather than the ash being deposited in the recent past as originally suspected (Chapter 11).]

“Let me get out of your way [for the ‘before’ photo],” I said.

“Boy, I’ve got to clean my camera; I can’t even see [the settings]. [Jack,] What area are you going to rake?”

“To your left of the [gnomon]. …Well, ahead of the gnomon and to your left, there,” I answered. This would be our first rake sample. It had been determined by examination of soil samples from other missions that the approximately 1-5 cm size fraction of rocks in the regolith included a significant number of rock fragments derived from impacts in areas outside those we could explore, The “rake” really was a basket-shaped sieve that would concentrate some of these “exotic” fragments by letting the dust and smaller fragments fall through its coarse mesh.

“Okay, I got it (the before photos),” declared Cernan (AS17 134-20405, to -07).

[These pre-raking photographs are good photographs of a typical regolith surface, including the “raindrop” pattern of small craters. Recently, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter images of newly formed craters[48] indicate that this raindrop pattern may be the result of continuous but very light resurfacing by the broadly distributed, fine ejecta coming from such recent impact activity. The images also illustrate the high bearing strength of the regolith by capturing a Rover track crossing the area with only a centimeter of two penetration of the surface. Unfortunately, I let my shadow cross the area while Cernan took the photographs.]

“Okay, Gene,” Parker said, responding to Cernan’s remark about filleting, “we copy that. That’s a good observation. And I also gathered that most of the rocks look pretty much the same.”

“That’s what I said, [earlier],” I responded, unnecessarily. Obviously, I was continuously disappointed in having to repeat observations, unnecessarily, using up time and mental energy in the process.

“Yeah, except a change in vesicularity…” Cernan also began to repeat what we had already reported. “…in terms of the size of vesicles, where I described one as being a more hummocky (almost nodular) vesicular-type rock. The first time I’ve noticed any of the dark minerals was when we took that one big, flat chip off that boulder. …I didn’t look at it that close to see what it was. …I’m going to get a pan, Jack, while you’re doing that.” The color panorama taken by Cernan (AS17-134-20408 to -431) illustrates the typical regolith surface for this area with its scattering of small fragments of basalt and occasional clumps of large and small boulders.

Fig. 10.28. Part of the color panorama in the direction of Steno Crater. The rim of the crater is defined by the straight line of boulders sloping down to the left across the face of Bear Mountain in the middle of the photo. The other distributions of boulders along the slopes are part of the ejecta blanket. This abundance of ejected  boulders remaining on the Steno ejecta blanket stands in sharp contrast to the lack of such boulders on the ejecta blanket of a much older Camelot Crater (Chapter 11). (NASA photo composite AS17-134-20417, -418, -419).

“Okay.” I grabbed the rake off the back of the Rover, leaving my scoop in its place. I then began to drag the rake through the upper few centimeters of the regolith along six parallel lines, each a couple of meters long. I had selected an area for the rake sample about 20 m away from the Station 1 crater so as to possibly be away from that crater’s continuous ejecta and out on the actual Steno ejecta blanket. After shaking the fine material out of the rake’s basket (Fig. 10.29), I had accumulated a large number of small rocks from an area of about 2-3 square meters.

Fig. 10.29. I am obtaining a “rake” or sieve sample of small rocks from the ejecta blanket of Steno Crater at Station 1. This image also gives an excellent side view of the A7LB pressure suit. Also, it shows how I am resting my right hand by laying the rake handle on my right glove rather than gripping it. The background horizon of the valley opens to the west northwest toward the large impact basin, Serenitatis. (NASA Photo AS17-134-20425).

“Man,” exclaims Cernan, “are there some good targets for the 500 (millimeter camera) around here. …We’ve got to get those Massifs with the 500.”

“And, Bob,” I called, interrupting Parker who was about to remind us about the time, again, “I’m really only penetrating about, at the most, 3 centimeters into this area (regolith surface] with the rake. I’ve picked up a very good sample of boulders (fragments) but most of them were in that distance (~3 cm depth) of the surface and projecting out of it…” The limited penetration of the rake into the regolith further illustrates the compact character of this material before being disturbed by repetitive activity, such as that around the Challenger. The tamping effect of micro-meteor impacts over millions of years results in the maximum possible compaction of the regolith. Fig. 10.29, when compared with Fig. 10.30, shows the area of the rake sample.

Fig. 10. 30. A view of the rake sampling operation with the rake raised almost to the horizontal position. Note the collection of small rocks and fragments captured at the lower end of the rake tines. All these fragments turned out to be basalt in contrast to the expectation of collecting exotic fragments from elsewhere outside the valley, again attesting to the relatively young age of the Steno Crater ejecta. (NASA photo AS17-134-20426).

Fig. 10.31. The area adjacent to where the rake sample was taken, which is the spot a foot or so back of the lower left corner. (NASA photo AS17-134-20406).

“You ready [with a sample bag], Gene?”

“A couple of more [pictures], Jack. …Okay, coming at you [with a bag]. Bob, the pan is complete. I’ll give you a frame count shortly.”

“There’s two bags [needed], I think.”

“Two bags full,” Cernan misquotes a childhood nursery rhyme, “Baa Baa Black Sheep, that includes the phrase “three bags full”. “First bag is 457 (71525-97). …Don’t let me lose them. That’s enough. Give me a couple [more] of [the] small ones.”


“Okay, that’s good. That’s good,”

“Here, they (the small rocks) are.” Cernan closes 457 and puts it in my SCB.

“Okay, and Bag 458 (71525-97) is the rest of the rake sample,” Cernan reports. “They’re all fragments.”

[The only Station 1 rake sample fragment whose crystallization age has been dated is ilmenite basalt 71539. Its Rb-Sr isochron age is 3.59±0.1 billion years and Sm-Nd age is 3.750±0.067 billion years. A Krypton exposure age of 134 million years on fragment 71569 suggests that this might be close to the age of the Steno impact.

The Station 1 rake sample (71500) is unique among our Taurus-Littrow samples of this kind. The sample includes 38 rock fragments (71509, 71525-97), all of which are ilmenite and ilmenite-olivine basalts. Finding all basalt fragments that are similar to each other in this rake sample proved contrary to expectations that a few obviously exotic fragments from distant locations also would be present. This lack of exotic fragments suggests a relatively young age for the Steno-Emory cluster of craters. Otherwise, impacts elsewhere probably would have added fragments from more distant points.

The abundance of basalt samples that may have been excavated from varying depths by the Steno impact provides an opportunity to evaluate the cooling history of a single mare basalt flow that originally solidified in the vicinity of Station 1. The possibility exists that representatives of two or more flows are included in the analyzed basalt fragments.

The in situ fractional crystallization and differentiation history of the flow sampled at Station 1 (71500) [5] show that olivine crystallized first, followed by plagioclase, ilmenite, and clinopyroxene. Olivine and ilmenite crystals presumably sank as they formed; however, less dense plagioclase floated, possibly aided by vesicle-enabled flotation. The detailed character of the rake sample fragments and the crystallization of their parent lava are discussed in Chapter 13 – Mare basalts.]

“Now we need the kilogram of the soil,” Parker adds. As annoying as Parker’s occasionally unnecessary reminders were at times, he probably just wanted to help. The entire purpose of our training was to make our decisions like this as automatic as possible.

“Yes, sir,” I said with admirable restraint. “Okay, Bob, All the fragments, of course, are completely covered with the [dark] mantle [regolith]; and they are slightly…oh, maybe 20 percent vesicular. I just took a glance at them. But, for the most part, they appear to be rounded to subrounded fragments.” This shape indicates that most of the fragments had been subject to micro-meteor erosion for a significant span of time and that their exposure ages might be relevant to the timing of the Steno impact.

“Okay. Let’s get the kilogram.” Parker had no idea how annoying he was being.

“Okay… Aghh!” I shout as I miss hitting the opening of the bag Cernan is holding. “Well, shoot. Start all over.”

“Try it again,” comments Cernan. “[Bag] 459 (71500-15) will get the kilogram, Bob.”

“I’ll get some more [soil].”

“Okay, fill it [the bag] up.”

“Can you close it?” I asked.

“Yeah, yeah, I can close it.”

“That’s a good kilogram.” It actually would be very close to that if the ~ 800 cc bag was almost full. The density of the undisturbed regolith is about 1.9 grams per cubic centimeter. The density of the significantly disturbed sample probably was about 1.5 g/cm, so its mass would have been about a 1000 gm or a little bit more.

[Post-mission analysis of the regolith contained in 71500 suggests that it derives largely from the subfloor basalt ejecta from Steno Crater. Agglutinate content in the 90-150 µm-size fraction of 71501 is 35.0%, basaltic fragments are 24.6%, ilmenite is 8%, and the Is/FeO maturity index is 35. There is only about 2.6% orange and black volcanic glass in contrast to the 11.9% and 15.9% in 71041 and 71061, respectively, collected at the nearby rim of the Station 1 crater, again suggesting that a concentration of this glass exists at depth and was covered by Steno ejecta.]

“Well, I just can’t even read my camera [settings] anymore,” Cernan complained, again. “I’ve got to learn how to control the dust. Okay, that’s (Bag 459) in [Jack’s SCB].

“Okay; you get the after [photo]?” I asked.

“I tried to blow the dust off my camera!” Cernan exclaimed as he tried to get rid of the dust. This is a mistake most lunar surface astronauts make at least once. I know I did. Blowing dust off a fresh rock face or a hand lens or something else becomes a field geologist’s habit very quickly on Earth. Doesn’t work when a space helmet covers your head.

“I think it’s going to be hard to get a double core here,” I speculated, viewing the high concentration of rock fragments. “We could try a single right there,” I added, pointing to a relative rock-free area.

“Bob, we got time to get the core?” Cernan asked Parker.

“Negative. The core has been deleted. We’d like for you to get your second pan, Jack, and then we’ll press on.” A double core (~70 cm) might have reached the underlying zone of orange and black glass suggested by the post mission analysis of Station 1 regolith samples; however, the question of their origin eventually would be answered by the samples collected at Station 4 (Chapter 11).

“Okay.” Disappointed at how much time the ALSEP deployment had taken away from exploration, I retrieved the rake and put it in its clip holder on the gate. Although Parker assumed I had, I had not taken the planned first panorama of the site. Upon arrival at the Station, I felt that we needed some geological observation sometime during EVA-1, and plenty of photographic documentation would take place in the normal course of activities. This panorama, plus all the other photographs, should give good documentation of where the Rover was parked, the location of the seismic charge, and the boulders and rake area we had sampled.

“I’ll get it (the panorama) over here where our two sample sites are in view.” In taking this panorama, I use more film than planned by taking a near and far-field shot at several points to be sure that I included the high walls of the valley. Also, the combination of the two panoramas include documentation of the location of the Station 1 sampling areas as well as of Cernan’s work at the Rover and my rake sampling. The seismic charge (EP-6) I deployed also is visible in both panoramas as is about the upper two-thirds of the distant Challenger.

[Panoramas taken from Station 1 show a number of interesting features – Cernan’s in color (AS17-134-20408 through -20424) and mine in black and white (AS17-136-20744 through -20776). Relative to the area around Station 1, the panoramas show a significantly higher concentration of boulders covering the surface of Steno Crater’s eject blanket leading up to the crater rim. (For contrast with the paucity of remaining ejecta boulders around the older Camelot Crater, see Chapter 11, Station 5). Boulders at the crater rim appear to be the largest associated with the ejecta blanket. Steno’s rim appears several tens of meters higher that the elevation of Station 1 as would be expected of a large impact crater. (see Fig. 10.28 ↑­­).

Fig. 10.32. The Wessex Cleft and the adjacent knob of the Sculptured Hills (right, in partial shadow) and the east end of the North Massif (left) as seen from Station 1. Two directions of ocean swell-like lineaments on the knob are particularly noticeable with this grazing sun-angle on the knob. (NASA composite AS17-134-20430, -431, and 408).

Distant views looking north at the first knob of the Sculptured Hills above Station 8 immediately to the right of the Wessex Cleft (Fig. 10.32) indicate two sets of broad wavelength (100-200 m), ocean swell-like lineaments. Overhead images indicate that these lineaments intersect each other at about 60 degrees. The most prominent lineament set trends approximately north-south at about a 20 degrees to the slope and might be related to the north-trending group of two sets of swales that define the “sculpture” of the Sculptured Hills. The panorama indicates that this lineament set also characterizes more distant portions of the Sculptured Hills. The other, less prominent lineament set trends roughly northeast-southwest and also can be considered to be sub-parallel to the north-trending set of swales. The possible significance of these lineaments and swale trends will be discussed in the Chapter 13-Sculptured Hills section in connection with the findings at Station 8.

The panoramas image the slope of the South Massif at near zero-phase angle so that little topographic structure can be discerned; however, slight albedo variations in the otherwise gray slopes may reflect variations in the lengths of exposure to space weathering due to impact disturbances. A slight photometric darkening of the slope above Station 2 may indicate the primary source scar of an avalanche that created the light mantle. This dark scar shows up with remarkable definition in some LRO oblique images taken at low sun angle, looking south (M1266925685).

Fig. 10.33. The dark avalanche source and scar on the northeast-facing slope of the South Massif in contrast with the light mantle avalanche deposit on the floor of the valley. The area referred to in text is bounded by the orange dashed lines. (NASA/ASU/GSFC LRO photo).

Resolution of the North Massif in the panoramas gives an indication of a few of the many boulder tracks that we could see with our eyes. For North Massif slopes, as well as those of the Sculptured Hills, that have been exposed for at least 3.8 billion years (see Chapter 13 – Massif Stratigraphy), it is surprising that no craters more than a about hundred meters in diameter have been superposed on them. In contrast, the valley floor and the relatively flat tops of the Massifs have many craters that are up to 600 m or more in diameter. This fact suggests that the down slope movement of regolith on the Massif slopes is rapid enough to fill and obscure most large craters over time spans of about 100 million years, that is, the maximum exposure ages of boulders at the base of the massifs and of those excavated by large impacts on the valley floor.

Finally, portions of the panoramas that look directly down-Sun show that rock surfaces have a significantly higher albedo that the surrounding regolith surface. This would indicate that these surfaces do not retain the effects of micro-meteor weathering and are largely free of dust.]

“Well, now I know why I felt that we were much too close to Trident than what I thought,” Cernan said, back to rationalizing his very natural loss of crater awareness during landing. “We weren’t really too close to Trident, because Trident is way out here. That makes me feel better. A guy would know if he landed 100 meters from a big set of craters like that. …You know, on a landing site like this, you ought to know exactly where you are. …Anyway, I landed where I wanted to.” Cernan beats himself up, unnecessarily. His attention during the last phase of landing had to be on a safe touchdown area. On the other hand, this may have been a professional pilot’s disappointment coming through. Landing on the wrong runway on Earth makes a big difference; landing a few hundred meters off point on the Moon, not so much. “Okay, Bob, here’s a [gravimeter] reading for you…670, 012, 901; 670, 012, 901.

“Okay; copy that, Geno.”

“Okay, and no more [seismic] charges to deploy going back, right?” he asked, rhetorically.

“No,” Parker contradicted, “we will deploy charge number 7 on the way back.”

“On the way back. Okay.”

“Roger. It will be deployed at the same location [farther north of Steno where] we were originally planning on deploying it (EP-6), which was in the Checklist there.”

“Okay. Very good, sir. We’ll get at it. …Okay. I’m taking your [TV] camera.”

“And, Jack, you got the pan or getting it?”

“Yes, sir.”

“And, Bob, CDR is on frame count 60.”

“And the LMP is on nine-five. …Okay, Gene?”

“We need EP-7 [off the gate], Jack,” Parker noted.

“You got the gnomon?” I asked Cernan.

“Got the gnomon.”

“And the rake and the scoop?”

“The rake and the scoop are back on [the gate]. Okay, get the charge. I’ll set the Low Gain [antenna], and we’ll be ready to do it.”

“Bob, my impression right now is that the dark mantle may just be a…” I began to summarize ideas specific to this exposure to the geology near Steno Crater. “Well, at least in here, it’s indistinguishable from a regolith that might be derived from these other rocks. It seems to be a little dark for that, but that might be the answer.” Normally, when you grind up a piece of basalt, the powder gets lighter in hue and turns gray. Here, the regolith was significantly darker than the rocks, leading to my statement that the dark mantle material is “a little dark” to be just regolith. Indeed, this will turn out to be my first observation related to there being black pyroclastic ash (Chapter 13 – Orange and Black Ash) mixed up with the dominant rock debris of the regolith.

“[We want] EP-7?” I confirmed.

“EP-7,” agreed Cernan.

“We hope to do (more) on that (dark mantle question) again tomorrow,” added Parker. “And EP-7 is the charge, right.” Damn, I wished Parker listened to what we were saying.

“Jack, I figured out if you mount the Rover at 90 degrees, when you kick up your feet, you’ll miss [kicking] the dust [on the battery covers]. …Let me hook you in [with your harness] before I do that.”


“Just put your feet 90 degrees to it (the Rover).”

“Yep. …Boy, you certainly ride high [in the seat],” I observed as Cernan settled in his seat.

“Do I?”

“Yeah. I’m surprised the [seat] belt fits.

“Yeah, it fits fine. Okay. I’m in.


“Oop,” commented Cernan on my jump into the seat.

“Not too good, huh?”

“Yeah. We’re learning. I hope my bag was closed. Yours was. Did you get it (his SCB top)?” he asked.

“Yeah, as a matter of fact, I did. I thought [of] that.”

Traverse to SEP

“Okay, we mark you underway,” Parker said.

“You know, you ought to put that sampler [out of the way].” Cernan thought the Rover sampler was blocking my view of the seat belt.

“It’s not the sampler; it’s these [sample] bags with memory.” The bags under my camera spread out and blocked my view. It turns out that my real problem was that the seat belt was twisted.

“This thing (seat) is too high for you. You’re hitting it all the time. …No, we’re not on our way, Bob. …And you want the charge deployed at 320/0.7, huh?”

“Roger. It will be 0.6 (km). We’ll change that [0.7] to 0.6 on EP-7; and it will really be just wherever you cross 0.6 on the range.” This will put the deployment about 650 m southeast of the SEP site.

“Well,” I said, still struggling with the seatbelt, “it fit once.” Tiredness may be keeping be from thinking straight. I should have gotten off the Rover, checked the belt, and started over.

“It’s twisted, Jack, 180 [degrees].” Cernan could see under my camera and sample bags. “That took out some of your [length]. …Wait a minute. Here.”

“Which way [should I twist it]?”

“Well, I can’t see. Your left hand’s in the way now… [Twist] away from you. Twist it away from you 180 degrees.”

“Like that?” I asked.

“Yeah, now the other 90. …Okay, now try it. Well, let me see. …You got it. That should do it.”


“Here’s your [seismic] charge,” Cernan said, handing me EP-7 that I had given him while I fixed my seat belt. “I think we’re learning; that’s half of the first EVA. Okay, Bob, we are rolling. MARK it.”

“Okay, where did they want it (the seismic charge) deployed?” I asked, having not been able to listen closely to Cernan’s exchange with Parker.

“Six-tenths of a kilometer.”

“Back [toward the SEP], huh? …You’ve got a block right ahead of you,” I warned.

“I got it,” acknowledged Cernan.

“And remember you’ll be taking photos coming back here, Jack,” Parker said.

“Yes, sir. Thank you. I got a few going out, Bob, but they weren’t too well spaced.” These photographs from the Rover gathered information about the traverse routes as well as documenting any observations I might make along the way (AS17 136-20776-814 and 20829-63). With the acquisition of high-resolution images of Taurus-Littrow by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC), these and other photographs could be integrated to give a remarkably detailed view of routes we traveled and areas we sampled.

Fig. 10.34. Enroute from Station 1 to the site where the SEP package was left earlier. Cernan is steering in the left seat behind the dish antenna while I am in the right-hand seat with my chest-mounted Hasselblad camera aimed slightly left over the TV camera. The high gain dish antenna (HGA) is  pointing generally away from the Earth so the TV is turned off and not functional during the drive; however, voice communications with Earth and space suit telemetry transmissions were maintained through a low-bandwidth, omni-antenna (not visible). (NASA photo AS17-136-20784).

“And I assume you’ve got the low-gain antenna aligned.” Cernan had already told Houston this.

“Yes, sir; it’s aligned …That’s got to be Trident, Jack, because that’s too big for anything else…” My photographs show that Cernan largely just followed our outbound tracks back to the SEP transmitter location.

“Okay, Houston,” I began describing what I was seeing. Coming out to Station 1, of course, we had been concentrating on finding Steno. “There’s the classic raindrop pattern over this fine debris. I’d say that the surface definitely is sorted, [that is,] the fine, regolithic material forming one fraction and then the blocks another. The blocks are probably… Those blocks greater than 2 centimeters in diameter, in general, make up less than 10 percent of the surface [area]. But there are some big ones, fairly uniformly distributed. These are blocks a meter in diameter.” The “raindrop” pattern results from the impact of high velocity micro-meteors and/or secondary spray of regolith from recent macro-meteor impacts.

“Hey, Jack, that big crater out there at 2 o’clock [across the valley] has probably got to be Sherlock. That’s got to be Sherlock over there.”

“Yeah, probably. I think the only place I’ve really identified that we can go to is to Station 6.” Station 6 is planned for the large boulder with the prominent track behind it, leading about a kilometer and a half up the slope of the North Massif.

“Yeah, but we’ve got to get on a high vantage point here one of these days.”

“Yeah… Well, I think we’ll find Camelot without any problem,” I said, stating the obvious.

“Yeah,” Cernan agreed with a laughing snort. “Okay, watch [out]. I’m going through it (a subdued crater).”

“Okay. No problem.”

“No, I’d rather straddle or go through those little ones.”

“Okay, Bob, here’s another crater about the same size we sampled [at] the last station. (Fig. 10.35) And it doesn’t have as many blocks, but it does have blocks. And from this distance, their vesicular texture and their light color [relative to regolith] shows up very well. I suspect they’re the same general kind [of basalt]. …There’s a glass-bottom crater.”

Fig. 10.35. Continuing the drive to the SEP site, Cernan has turned more westerly. The Challenger itself can be seen about 800 m distant in the upper right of the photo bracketed by 4 reseau crosses. The crater I referred to is immediately above the TV camera with the North Massif looming above the Challenger. (NASA photo AS17-136-20799).

“You got a range and bearing, there, guys, please,” begged Parker.

“341/0.8. …Did you take a picture, Jack?”

“Yeah. …You’re pointed right at Station 6, I think, Gene.”

“I think you may be right. There’s that [huge] boulder. I just want to get up here where I can [get a good view]. …Not the one on the [boulder] track but the [bigger] one over there to the right of that. Unless the one with the track…I’ve got mixed emotions [about] which is 6.” The boulder at Station 6 also has a track that must not be visible from this head-on angle.

“Look over there to the left. You see that.” Cernan had turned the Rover to the west, briefly, so that we could see and photograph the Challenger and the light mantle. (AS17-136-20797)


“That’s Trident. Man, I’ll tell you.” Cernan now is convinced.

“Look at this thing (a big boulder),” I say. “That looks like the same kind of rock [we saw at Station 1] except it doesn’t have any vesicles.”

“There’s some white stuff in that rock. Just let me take a quick pic. See that one right in front of us? Take a picture of it.”

“Oh, you mean this one, here.”

“Oh, that’s (white stuff) a big zap pit, isn’t it? Take a picture of that?”

“Yeah, they’re big zap pits,” I agree. “Same rock with big zap pits. …I’ve got to change the [focus]. …I was too close. Although there are… I think those are zap pits. It’s a little hard to say.” The zap pits show up well in my photographs (Fig. 10.36). The size and brightness of this zap pit indicates a higher than average concentration of plagioclase, as that mineral pulverizes to white rather than gray. If plagioclase crystallizes early in the lava and floats in the magma (Chapter 13 – Mare Basalts), such concentrations probably indicate the top of a flow that was covered by another flow before significant regolith formation would have destroyed the near-surface layer enriched in plagioclase.

“Looks like a big chip out of the rock.”

“They’re white halos; it just has more of them,” I comment.

“But it’s a big one; it’s about an inch and a half or 2 inches across.”

“Yeah…” In addition to the white zone of crushed plagioclase around each zap pit, i.e., micro-meteor impact, the removal of the brownish glass patina probably heightened the contrast between the normal rock surface and the area around the zap pit.

Fig. 10. 36. Still on the way to the SEP site, I took this picture of the rock being discussed in text. The inset at the top is the right corner of the rock with the white zap pit centered in the detail. (NASA photo AS17-136-20800).

“I tell you, I’ve got to go and get my size and geometry squared away,” Cernan asserted as he tried to make sense of the tendency for objects in the valley to look closer than they really were.

“Going through this one?” I asked to be sure Cernan saw the crater coming up ahead.


“How about a range and bearing?” Parker called.

“Okay. 341/0.7. Bob, we’re moving at about 11 clicks (kilometers per hour) right now.”

“Copy that. Beautiful. Remember the charge goes off at 0.6,” Parker answered, probably trying to be funny by saying “the charge ‘goes off’.”

“Oh, there’s the mantle,” exclaimed Cernan. “There’s the white (light) mantle. Jack, look over there. Can you look to your left?

“Yeah, it does [show up well]. Yeah.” Looking roughly along the Sun line at a low Sun angle, the albedo of the light mantle contrasted sharply with the dark valley floor. “Swing around that way.”

“Call it a slide or not,” Cernan added, “but that’s the white mantle. Whoo! That’s my first real good picture (view) of it. That is something!” (Fig. 10.37)

Fig. 10.37. In this view, Cernan has swung the rover to nearly due west. The avalanche area from the South Massif, which produced the light mantle deposit, is hidden by the lower part of the HGA. The light mantle itself is the thin tongue below West Family Mountain and extending to the right just above the large central reseau cross. (NASA photo AS17-136-20801).

Okay, I got some of that [view],” I said. “Okay, how are we doing [on distance]?” We were approaching the distance for deployment of EP-7.

“I don’t want to go in that crater, that’s what I don’t want to do. Okay. We’re at 0.6; how about 339/0.6?”

“Okay. I got a couple of shots (photos) right out in there [where the charge can go].”

“Okay. Coming right around to you,” Cernan said.

“Oh, that’s good. Hold that heading. Whoa. That’ll be good.”

“Right here?”

“Yeah, whoa,” I said, again.

“Okay. Let me get my [locator photo back to Challenger]… Okay, I got my locator.” (AS17-134-20433-34) Cernan’s color photographs are actually documentation of the EP-7 site rather than locators, and like several of my traverse photographs, include the boulder and boulder tracks at Station 6 (Fig. 10.38). The markedly cross-slope path of the Station 6 boulder indicates that one-sixth gravity was either insufficient to divert the boulder from its cross-slope course or the impact that triggered its movement imparted a higher than normal initial momentum. Boulders sampled in the absence of tracks showing their place of origin, such as those at Station 2 (Chapter 12), may have come cross-slope as well as directly down-slope.

Fig. 10.38. Documentation photograph for the location of EP-7 that also shows, to the left of the high gain antenna pointer handle, the large boulder we would investigate and sample on the North Massif slope at Station 6 (Chapter 12). The boulder also can be seen on the right of the inset. The arrows indicate the track across the slope of the North Massif that the Station 6 boulder made as it tumbled down, across the slope of the massif. (NASA Photo AS17-134-20434).

“Okay, now [for] this one, we want me to get a partial pan until something’s identified.” I wanted the Seismic Profiling Team to be able to identify where the charge would eventually explode so that the distance to the geophone array would be precisely determined.

“Okay. We’ll do that. We’ve got to turn that way anyway.

Then, I went into my pin pulling routine that would activate the timers in the charge: “Okay, pin 1, pull, Safe. Pin 2, pull, Safe. Pin 3, Mark it, pull, Safe.”

“And I copy that as charge number [EP-]7,” Parker said, belatedly.

“That’s affirm,” I responded.

“And we’d like a frame number when you get done there, Jack, after you get it (the charge) on the ground.”

“…stand by…okay. I think we’ll miss that [charge with the Rover wheels],” I predicted.

“…Bearing [and range] is 339/0.6.”

“Okay, start a pan [turn] around it, Gene…” (AS17-136-20815, -28)

“Okay, I’m going to start slowly around it. …Going to miss it?” he asked.


“Yeah; by a lot. …Okay, taking your pictures?”

“Yes, sir.”

“[Our] wheels cleared it by… Got to be a lot. …Is my Low Gain [transmission] dropping out? …How much are my wheels missing it by, going around?”

“Lots. About a meter,” I estimated. With both front and rear wheel steering, the turns could be very tight.

“We’re on our way,” Cernan declared as we went back on course to the SEP site. “The Low Gain [antenna] is set again… Okay, we’re heading on back to SEP.”

“Okay, and a frame count there, Jack.”

“Okay, the pan was more or less complete at 146,” I said. “Bob, you know, the more I look at this – [Gene,] watch out for those babies there – at this dark dust, if you will, the more it doesn’t seem like the kind of thing you’d expect to have been derived from the underlying bedrock. But I think you’re going to have to play that game in the lab right now. …We’ll see how it works out later… It just seems dark and much too fine grained. You don’t have the impression that you’re getting the size distribution you’d expect to get by having all these blocks around. [There are] definitely, I think, at least in my mind, two size populations…”

[Post-mission analysis of the proportions of various types of particles the soil sample (size-frequency analysis) obtained in conjunction with the Station 1 rake sample has yet to measure the abundance of potential dark mantle components in the less than 90 µm-size fraction. The greater than 90 µm fraction, however, contains only about 3 percent of non-impact glass particles, that is, volcanic ash. On the other hand, the regolith sample taken inside the rim of the 10 m crater at Station 1 contains about 16 percent non-impact glass particles in the greater than 90 µm size fraction. As suggested above, this concentration may represent ejecta from a layer of concentrated volcanic ash (Chapter 11 – Shorty Crater) a meter or so below the surface of the Steno ejecta blanket.]

“Jack, that almost looks like bedrock exposed in there. See that?”

“Yeah, why don’t you take a pass over that way? Get through there?” I asked, referring to the narrow space between two blocky-rim craters.”

“Yeah, I can get through there,” Cernan said, confidently.

“Do you know where you are?


“[Are you] In Trident?” I continued.

“No, we’re not in Trident. That’s pretty steep down in there. I’d walk down there. I’m not sure I want to drive down there yet.”

“No, I didn’t mean down in there (Trident),” I clarified. “I meant right over there [near Trident area].”

“Well, here’s some [outcrop] right here [in the wall],” Cernan suggested, as he drove down in a large, but shallow crater.

“Yeah, [looks like it].”

“Take a picture of that?”

“Yeah.” (AS17-136-20838 through -42) The photographs do not clarify whether we were seeing actual outcrop of a layer of resistant basalt in the wall of this large shallow crater. To our eyes, the rough line of exposed rocks may have appeared more connected than in the photographs and the overall moving perspective we had of this crater wall certainly was better than that of the camera. Rather than an outcrop tied to bedrock, this feature was probably a boulder embedded in regolith that the impact had partially exposed.

“And how about a range and bearing when you stop to take the picture,” Parker requested.


As Cernan drove up the wall of the crater and over the rim, he said, “Bob, I get a distinct impression that, as Jack says, it’s going to be hard to tell whether this is regolith composed (derived) from the rock field we see around, but you can see that dark mantle over on top of almost all the rocks. Except we have fresh glass, possibly, in the bottom of some of these small craters… Everywhere else there is actually mantle, I believe, in and around some of the crevices and in the vesicles and what have you.”

“It’s all material, though, that could be knocked in there by the local impact,” I added.

“Okay; but I gather you find a lot of material on top of the rocks,” speculated Parker.

“Not a lot, Bob,” I jumped in. “Not a lot. It’s there, though… They’re (the rocks) not nearly as covered with dust as they get when you drop one. It’s just really a salting or a scattering of debris in the depressions…on the rock. The projections of the rock are perfectly clean.” This observation becomes important in the future when the question of dust levitation during terminator passage arises[49]. Levitation would appear unlikely if portions of the rocks are clear of dust.

“Yeah,” Cernan adds, “but most of all…most of all the craters are…have relatively…except where the rocks are showing the boulders on the side, or…within the craters are evident…are subtly covered over with this mantle. You don’t see any good sharp ridges on…walls on some of these craters. Even the small ones.” He had trouble forming his thoughts on his observations of mantling by the regolith while also trying to avoid obstacles ahead of us.

Okay. Roger on that.”

As the rear wheels of the Rover lost traction a little during a zig or a zag, Cernan said, “Man, I tell you, you could lose the rear end of this thing in a hurry, if you’d like.”

“I think you have lost a fender,” I observed. “I keep getting rained on here [with regolith].”

“Oh, no!” Cernan exclaimed as he realized his initial repair of the fender he broke has failed.

“Look at our rooster tail [in front],” I said. “Look what’s ahead of us here.”

“Yeah, that’s probably it,” agreed Cernan. “It [the broken fender] probably didn’t stay. …I can see it (the forward rooster tail] in the shadow.”

“Sure, look at it (the shadow).”

“Oh boy, that’s going to be terrible,” predicted Cernan. “That (dust) is really going to be bad.” Removing dust from the LCRU reflective gold foil cover and from the Rover battery covers looms as a major consumer of time and energy.

“I didn’t see it [come off]. We probably [just] lost it. I think I know when, because I just started to notice it (the rain of dust)…”

“Bob, I’m going to state what Gene said [about the dark mantle] slightly differently. There just aren’t a lot of very sharp, bright craters, but there are some. All the craters seem to be pretty well formed. It isn’t an extensive mantle. Matter of fact, for example, hasn’t filled the…the bottom of the craters…” This observation added to my growing feeling that the dark mantle was not a very young deposit, as photo-geological interpretation had previously suggested.

SEP Antenna Layout

“[Gene,] are we due to deploy that thing (the SEP) now?” I asked, reminding Cernan that he needed to lay out the cross for the SEP antenna using the Rover guidance system.

“Yeah, I want to come in at a [west heading],” declared Cernan. “I’m going to come in at a heading here and see if I can get on it (the heading) for you.” He would use the Rover heading indicator to layout east-west and north-south lines of tracks that would guide our deployment of the perpendicular cross of four, 35m long, SEP transmitting antennas.

“Okay, drop me off there,” I requested, pointing to the SEP transmitter I had left in place, earlier.”

“Look at that fender [when you get off]. Look at the dust it’s produced. Look at the LCRU” For some reason, neither Mission Control nor we considered turning around and retrieving the broken fender. This may have turned out for the best, as the eventual fix worked very well. Trying to use the broken part might have distracted the ground team from coming up with the solution they did (Chapter 11).

“Well, it’s (losing the fender) going to make things [more difficult],” I said, unnecessarily. In comparing the images taken when we left Station 1 with the last few photographs I took after the repaired fender came off, dust may have started to accumulate on the High Gain Antenna dish; however, no change is noticeable on the top of the TV camera.

“I don’t know how to keep that thing (the fender) on,” Cernan worried. “Make it (going) west. Okay, I’m rolling west right now,” he then reported.

“That looks good,” I agreed. “That looks good. Hold that heading.” Once we were about 10 m west of where I left the SEP transmitter, I jumped off the Rover.

“Boy, I don’t like losing that fender,” Cernan agonized. He then updated Parker. “We’re back at the SEP, Bob. I’m starting to lay out my first track.”

“How’s our time, Bob?” I asked as Cernan came to a stop and I released my seat belt.

“Okay, can you get out?” Cernan asked, wondering if I could find my seatbelt release.


“You’re about 5 minutes behind on the arrival time at the SEP. No real problem. And I assume that the range and bearing, when you got there, was about zero.”

Off the Rover, I said to Cernan, “Let me leave my camera [under the seat].”

“Let me read it [to you],” he replied to Parker. “252 [bearing], 2.5 [driving distance since leaving the SEP], and 0 [range]. I’m resetting [navigation].” The Rover navigation system obviously did very well over our trip to Steno and back.

“And the LMP frame count is 197, and it was still turning [as I took pictures].” I had taken my last photograph on this magazine. As I took no more shots on this magazine, I obviously badly misread the number, as the final frame count later turned out to be 183. It is possible that the frame counter on the right side of the magazine had malfunctioned; however, it is more likely that I did not look at the number carefully.

“Amp-hours are 108 105,” Cernan continued, “and batteries [temperatures] are 100 and 120.”

“Oh, wait a minute! I need my camera, don’t I?” I puzzled, before looking at my Cuff Checklist.

“I don’t think it’s much good to you with a [frame count of] 197 there, Jack,” Parker said, sarcastically.

“No, I don’t,” I decided and ignoring Parker’s jibe. “I don’t need my camera.” I would have needed a new magazine, anyway.

“[Don’t you need it while] deploying it (SEP)?” asked Cernan.

“No, you take the pictures. I don’t need it. Go ahead, lay it (the SEP antenna cross) out.”

“Okay; you’re right. Okay, here we go. I’m headed on [out].” He positioned the Rover pointing east and re-initialized the Rover’s navigation system. He then drove on a 090 heading, toward the Sun, for 100 m, turned to a southwest heading of 210 for 100 m, and finally turned to a north heading of 360 for 200m. Once completed, we had a perpendicular cross of Rover tracks at the intersection of which I had begun to deploy the SEP transmitter.

“Okay, Houston. The [SEP transmitter] location is in about the least cratered area I could find,” I reported, “between a large crater, or a large depression, that ranges from maybe 50 to 150 meters behind the LM – that’s maybe east-southeast [of Challenger] – and it’s (the SEP) between that depression and another large depression that is really a doublet with a blocky septum between them (the doublet craters). That’s (the doublet) to the northeast of the LM about 200 meters; that’s the start (the near-LM edge) of that second depression. I think we can get a nice layout, although there’ll be a general slope, I believe, towards the LM, of about a degree.”

“Okay, that’s no real problem, Jack,” responded Parker after he heard from the Science Support Room.

“Jack, am I about abeam of you?” Cernan asked as he reached the prescribed point south of me. “I can’t see.”


“Okay, I’ll turn in around this (small) crater.”

“Hey, if you come right [towards me, that should be good]…”

“[Bob,] that depression to the northeast [of Challenger] is at least a couple hundred meters in diameter, and it’s joined with one that’s probably of comparable size just to the northwest of the first depression.” These two depressions show nicely on LRO high resolution images and appear to be old, now subdued, impact craters. (see Fig. 10.4 ↑­­)

“How’s that look, Jack?” asked Cernan as he completed the tracks for the antenna cross. The process only took about two and half minutes.


“Far enough?”

“Yes. Yes. Come back!” I said, needing him to deploy one of the antenna arms.

Thinking ahead, Cernan said, “[If] we head on to Station 2 [on EVA-2] without that fender, …are we going to be full of dust? Okay, there’s no special [place to park]. …I can park 180 [heading] but… Okay, Bob, I’ve stopped, back at the SEP. …[Jack, you] Dropped the [antenna reel]. …One came out, Jack.” I had picked up the SEP transmitter and carried it to the center of the cross Cernan had laid out. Then, I released the four reels on which the four antenna arms were wound. In removing the antenna reel container from the SEP, I dropped one of the antenna reels; and Cernan called my attention to this, in case I had not seen it happen.

“Oh, yeah,” I said. “This thing (antenna reel latch) is a lot harder to turn than it was in training. …Oops!” I dropped another reel. “Okay, that’s the first two we’ve got to deploy. Can you bring your tongs [to pick these reels up]?”

“Yeah. Bob, do you want me to dust here? …I’ll dust back at the LM. We’re going to deploy the SEP.” Something in the MOCR apparently had distracted Parker as he did not respond.

“God bless!” I exclaimed, fighting with the reel container.

“They all say to dust, Geno,” Parker finally answered.

“You’re going to have to wait for me, Jack,” Cernan said as he turned the TV camera on and began to dust the LCRU and battery covers.

“Well, I’ve got antennas all over the place [on the ground] here.” I responded, implying that he need not hurry.

“Yeah, as a matter of fact, you do. Stand by one second. I’ll make it (dusting) a quick one.

“That’s all right,” I said. “No, I can handle it, I think, here. But we’re going to need your tongs to pick them up and not get them all confused. Okay, where’s the shadowgraph [on the SEP]? There it is. Sun quadrant. That’s the Sun quadrant.” I went about aligning the SEP transmitter so it would get maximum solar power during EVA-2 and 3.

“Yes, sir; we lost that [fender],” Cernan observed as he walked around the Rover.

Having aligned the SEP, I looked at the Checklist and said, “Okay, I’ll deploy number 2 [west] and 4 [north]. And, let’s see,” I said to myself while sorting out the reels scattered on the ground, “that’s number 1. …So this one must be number 2. It is…”

“Okay, I’m almost there, Jack. …Let me run around [front] and dust! …Let me tell you, this dust isn’t going to be fun tomorrow!”

“Okay, I won’t bore you with details on why you see the antenna all over the ground,” I said to all with a laugh, “but it has to do with one-sixth g.”

“Roger, Jack. Understand you dropped a couple of the antenna reels.

“You know, Bob, they’re very…more accurately, I dropped three of them. Bob, you know this fine-grained dust that we’re in could be ground-up pyroclastic. It might grind more easily than other things, and the blocks are those that have been excavated from below that pyroclastic by the larger craters and some of the smaller ones in the area.” I obviously was having thoughts that anticipated surprise discoveries on EVA-2 at Shorty Crater. “Well, you’d think glassy pyroclastic might turn into regolith a little bit faster than some of these other things. But we’ll check that one out.”

“Roger, Jack. That would make a nice story, wouldn’t it?”

“MARK, gravimeter reading,” Cernan reported as he passed the instrument on the way to pick up antenna reel 1.

“Bring your tongs, sir,” I reminded Cernan.

You want [antenna reel number] 2?” asked Cernan as he arrived with his tongs.

“Two, and you get 1. Right there,” and I pointed to #1 on the ground.

“And, Jack, did you get the reels straightened out again?” asked Parker, responding to concerns he was getting from the Science Back Room.

“Yeah, they’re okay. …How can you stop a crew like this?”

“I don’t know any way.”

“In all modesty, I mean. …Okay, Geno, I’m on my way [west]. Pull gently on that thing (the SEP transmitter) because it’s awful easy to knock it over. I had [pulled] that geophone module all over the place.”

“I can’t tell whether I’m pulling gently or not,” replied Cernan as he headed east with antenna number 1.

“Any time you feel a tug, stop.”

“Careful, guys,” Parker warns, watching some movement of the SEP transmitter on the MOCR television screen.

“At least we’re pulling at the base [of the SEP].”

“I better watch what I’m backing into,” Cernan suddenly realized, as he walked backwards toward the east. “There’s a lot of holes around here…”

“Well, it happened, Bob,” I said as I neared the end of the reel. “I’m glad we Velcroed those [end] tabs [to the reel].” Moving forward rather than backwards as Cernan was doing, I reached the end of the reel before I noticed the end tab had appeared.

“Okay, I’m at the end, Jack. Are you having [a problem]?”

“Well, what happened was [that] which we thought might happen. It twisted on my [hand]. …I’ll be there [at the end] in just a second.”

“Okay, I want f/11 at 1/250 (of a second exposure) and 74 feet (focus),” Cernan said as he prepared to photograph the east-west antenna line looking toward a bright, largely shadow-free scene. “Well…ah, ah, ah, ah. Ah, ah, yes; you’re pulling it (the SEP) over.”

“I’m not. You are,” I said, defensively.

“No, I’m not,” Cernan shot back. “I’ve got all sorts of slack in here.”

“Okay, it’s okay. …All right [I’m at the end].”

“Are you out there?”


“Okay, let me back up a skosh and take the slack out,” Cernan said. “And I would say, offhand…oh, boy. That’s about as close to a one-sixth-g orthogonal…at least, not orthogonal yet, but straight-line. …That’s it Jack, here. Stay there, and I’ll take a picture.”

“I thought you did.”

“No. Okay, I got it now.” (Fig. 10.39) In addition to Cernan’s shadow, the east-west antenna, and me, this photograph also shows the Rover, Challenger, United States Flag, and, in the distance, the ALSEP.

Fig. 10.39. Cernan (shadow) standing at the end of the east arm of the SEP antenna cross while I am positioned at the end of the west arm, about 70 m away. The orange antenna cable from the SEP transmitter can be seen running down the middle of the photo. The Challenger, Geophone Rock to its right, and some of the packages of the ALSEP provide the scale over which the astronauts have been working on this first EVA (see also Fig. 10.4 ↑­­). In the background, the north edge of the South Massif forms the southwest mouth of the valley of Taurus-Littrow, while West Family Mountain partially fills that mouth. (NASA photo AS17-134-20435).

Hey, if you try and stick that thing (the reel) in [the ground], Jack, you’re going to fall over. Just set it down, and we’ll stay away from it [with the Rover].” Someone had been worried that we might later drive over the antennas, so we planned to stick the reel upright in the regolith as an additional indication of the location of the end of an antenna arm. More work than it was worth, as it turned out.

“Yup. You talked me into it.”

“That was a good idea, but… That’s a good straight line.”

As I skied back to get another antenna reel, I reverted to the “strolling in the Park” theme in my singing: “We were strolling in the…Taurus one day… Well, we’ve had lots of good ideas in our time,” I added, referring to using the reels as markers and anchors for the antennas.

“Oh, boy; the thing that makes me sick is losing that fender,” worried Cernan. “I can stand a lot of things, but I sure don’t like that.”

“Okay, I get (reel) number 4,” I declared as we met back at the SEP.

“Where is it? Is that the one on the ground?”

“It’s probably the one on the ground. Got it?”

“Is that the right one?” Cernan questioned.

“Well, [this reads] 3. …No, this is yours.”

“No. Take it; doesn’t make any difference.”

“Okay, I’m deploying the… The LMP’s deploying reel 3 [to the south] for your photography purposes.” Cernan picks up reel 4, but then drops it.

“Oh, shit,” he says, quietly.

“Hey, watch that [language],” I warn. “Ha, ha, ha. Ha, ha, ha. Serves you right…”

Cernan uses the tongs to retrieve the reel and says, “Okay, I’m ready to stroll.” He headed north towards the North Massif and I ran south toward the gap between Bear Mountain and the South Massif.

“Da da, dee do,” I sang.

“I found a brown rock that I’m going to bring back!” exclaimed Cernan.

“Please do,” the geologist in me encouraged.

“I think it’s the back-side of a piece of glass, but it’s brown,” he explained.

Looking back north toward the SEP transmitter and Cernan, I said, “Well, I think I’m more or less on your [Rover] track. It (the track) wiggled a little bit.”

“Okay, Jack, wait a minute. That looks orthogonal (straight) to me.”

“Got your picture?” I said, impatiently.

“Will have in a sec. Wait a minute. Every time I do something, I change the setting.” For this photograph looking across the Sun line and a mixture of light and shadow, Cernan would use an f8 exposure but may have left it at f11 as the picture is under exposed. “Okay, I got it (the photo) (Fig. 10.40). …I straightened the line out a little bit better after I took the picture. …[It had] a few kinks in it.” The fact that he re-arranged the antenna line after taking a documentation photograph would not make any difference in the long run; however, our documentation photographs should have shown how we finally left things.

Fig. 10.40. From the end of the north arm of the SEP antenna, I can be seen at the SEP transmitter at the intersection of the antenna arms next to the Rover. The antenna cable can be seen in the right LRV track with coils in it. The cable points toward Bear Mountain in the background.  (NASA photo AS17-134-20436).

“Now where’s my brown rock? I saw it when I was driving with the Rover! I knew I’d be able to come back here because of the tracks. Looks like an old piece of bread. …Where the heck is that?”

“Is that the one [piece of debris] that came out of the hatch?” Parker asked.

“Huh?” Cernan had forgotten about the piece of bread. “Well, it’s a piece of glass, all right, part of it crumbled. I got to get that in a bag. …Oh, man, is that a nice piece of glass. Just laying out there all by itself. Jack, you got a bag handy while I take my pan? I can’t reach a bag; I got this sample in the wrong hand.”

“I don’t have a bag,” I tell him as I repositioned and leveled the transmitter after we had disturbed my original set-up.

“You don’t have…well, take one off of mine and give it to me. I’ll take it back to the Rover. …Wa, wa, wa, Watch it!; you’ve got a wire (antenna) under your foot.”

“Bag number 460,” I reported, as I took a bag off Cernan’s dispenser since he had the sample in one hand and tongs in the other.

“Copy that. 460 has brown glass,” Parker said, anticipating my next call.

“It’s (sample location) was about half way out on the north [antenna] course. …It’s brown vesicular glass. …Sort of a yellow-brown, as a matter of fact.” I thought at the time, as I looked at Cernan’s sample, that it was a piece of foam that had shot out here from around Challenger; but that he was starting a prank on the geologists who would unpack our samples. In going along with what I thought was a joke, I did not realize that he actually thought he had found some lunar “brown glass”.

“Okay, it (the Checklist) says…’Take Locator Photo to LM’. I thought I took a pan here. The LM was [in the west-looking antenna photo]. …Okay.” Cernan had realized that they wanted to locate the SEP transmitter fairly accurately.

“Yeah, the “locator” is really all you need,” Parker stated, “but a partial pan to show the area would be appreciated.”

“Yeah, I’m here [at the SEP]. I’m going to get a partial pan, Bob… The only reason I’m doing it is I know it would be appreciated,” Cernan kidded.

While the banter between Cernan and Parker transpired, I deployed the SEP transmitter’s solar panels (Fig. 10.41) – a central, one square-foot panel with two similar, foldout panels on either side. Folded memory in the connecting wires between the panels, however, kept me from getting a fully flat, three square feet of solar cells exposed to the Sun. The partial panorama (AS17-134-20437-46) includes the start of my deployment of the SEP Transmitter.

Fig. 10.41. I am bending down to open the solar panels to begin deployment of the SEP transmitter. Note the antenna cable in the southern arm (right track). Also, part of the antenna cable in the eastern arm is just visible in the nearest track running to the left from under the transmitter. In addition to Bear Mountain, the east-facing slopes of the South Massif form the right background. (NASA photo composite, AS17-134-20437, -438, -440).

“Okay,” Cernan said, going back to the Checklist, “Take Locator Photo to LM.’ I got it. Bob, I’m on, …if I can get where I can read it, …on about 71 on my frame count; and let me give you… Boy, we got to stay out of this area, Jack. We’ll pick up these cables [with our feet] just as sure as the devil. …Oh, that fender… Boo. Boo.” He realizes more and more how costly his breaking of the fender will be.

“Hey, Houston,” I called, “will you look at your solar panels?”

“Rog. We see some solar panels.”

“You notice how they flop up?”

“We noticed that, too.”

Cernan, at the back of the Rover, interrupted with the next item on his Checklist, reading the TGE gravity measurement. “670, 010, 101; that’s 670, 010, 101.”

“I think we need some gray tape. …The wires have memory,” I said as I returned to the Rover. “I need gray tape [to flatten them].”

“Let me put this [sample] in your bag, and I’ll get the gray tape,” Cernan offered.


“We didn’t exactly break any records collecting samples, but at least we got an ALSEP deployed…” Cernan recalled, as he went to his seat for the tape. “That gray tape, Jack, is not going to stick on anything with dust.”

“I know; that’s what I was thinking.”

“Because I [have] just been there with that fender. …Let’s try it.

“You have the [scissors]? I asked.

“I don’t need the scissors. I can cut it without it [using my hands].” I wanted to use the scissors to minimize getting dust on the tape. “God! …Watch where you [step]. …Don’t back up in that [antenna] wire…” Moving over to the SEP transmitter, Cernan continued, looking at the solar panels, “Just like the cover of the [SEP receiver]…”

“Got it (the strip of tape)?” I asked.

“Yes. Can you reach it (the panel)?” he asked in return.

“Yeah, I guess. …Okay…”

“[You want to] get this side?”


“[Can you] Keep from falling over?” Cernan asked. “You want to take those solar panels off?”

“Let me hold on to you,” I replied.

“Okay, lean on me,” Cernan said. “If not, let’s take them off and hold them.”

“No, I think it’s going to be easier this way.”

“Okay, try it. I don’t think they (the solar panels) are going to be much problem the way they are, anyway.”

“You holding [me]?” I asked, not being able to feel his gloved hand through the suit.

“Yeah, go ahead and lean if you want…”

“I don’t know how long it (the tape) will stay,” I said.

“No, I don’t know. Okay, there’s one [panel flat].”

“Give me another one (tape strip),” I requested.

“It’s only going to stay for 2 days, guys,” Parker correctly reminded us.

“[Can you] pull the whole thing (panel) over?” Cernan asked.

“This will be a test,” I asserted. “If it holds until we see it again [at the start of EVA-2, we will be in good shape]…”

“Don’t knock the whole thing over,” Cernan advised, unnecessarily.

“Okay, I’m leaning on you.”

Okay, lean. …The piece of tape is so dusty it may not work. Try it somewhere [else].” In fact, although the ends of the tape strips were too dusty to stick, the center sections stuck well enough to do the job. “Okay, are you happy with the alignment?”

“I was,” I said. “Is the (SEP transmitter) gnomon on the zero mark?”

“Gnomon is right up the zero mark.”

“That’s where it’s supposed to be. …Okay, and the level bubble is just touching the inner circle.”

“Okay, copy that,” Parker said…”And we have that transmitter switch in STANDBY, right?”

“It will be…,” I answered a little testily, as Parker had gone ahead of us on the Checklist.

“Jack, looking where the LM is, if I were you, I’d just walk down,” Cernan suggested.

“Come here, Gene.”

“What do you need?”

“I need some support [to check the SEP],” I explained.

“Yeah. Boy, that’s (support) the key around here.”

“Everything on this SEP is coming off harder than it did when we deployed it at the Cape. See that? It just lifted [off the surface]. It may not be harder, but it lifted [when I removed its thermal cover]. …Now, I got to reorient it…”

“Now, let me see,” insisted Cernan. “You’re [in] STANDBY. Now let me look at it …The gnomon’s right at zero. …Right at zero.”

“It’s (orientation) just the same,” I reported. “It settled back just the same. Zero gnomon and [level bubble in] inner circle… Let’s go.”

Ending EVA-1

“You want to walk back or ride?”

“Oh, I’ll walk back.”

“Man, I hate this dust. I got to make a new fender tonight.”

“Hey, Gene, I presume that the fender that came off is the fender that came off before, right?” I could not understand why Parker seemed confused about this.

“Yeah, same one. My tape didn’t hold; it was too dusty.”

“Hey, watch out for this antenna line I found out here,” I joked.

“Yeah. Okay,” Cernan says as he looks at his Cuff Checklist. “ ‘Travel to LM’. Okay, Bob, I’m not going to change anything [on the Rover] right now except get in and travel. …All right?”

“That’s affirm. Time to go home.”

“How’s our time, Bob?” I asked, as I skied the 100 meters back to the Challenger.

“You’ll have a nominal closeout, guys, as soon as you get back. We’re right about on the time that we’ve been figuring on for you guys to get back there on. Right now, you are 6 hours and 11 minutes into the EVA.”

“Boy, here’s a big boulder,” I observed, as I leaned on it to get a closer look at this 3-4m wide, largely buried boulder.

“You know, I discovered something,” Cernan said, as he prepared the Rover for the drive back. “I learned a lot today, let me tell you. …Okay, you’re going to lose TV because the high gain is going to be out of whack here in a minute.”

After pushing myself off the boulder to a standing position, I reported, “Okay, I got a football-size rock of this coarsely vesicular gabbro, Bob. It’s off a large 3- to 4-meter buried boulder to the north, …oh, let’s say, northeast of the LM about 30 meters… Do you read, Bob?” Something was distracting our CAPCOM.

“Roger, Jack. Read you loud and clear on that one,” Parker responded.

“Okay. It’ll (the football-sized rock) be in the big bag [hanging from the MESA]. …[It is] undocumented. It’s roughly tabular, 15 by 25 centimeters and about 5 to 7 centimeters thick. One face is very flat; looks like it was off of a parting plane [or planes], which were in that rock.”

“Okay, and if it (the big rock) fits in the SRC (rock box) with all the other samples, you might put it there because the SRC’s going to be kind of empty,” advised Parker. This sample (70215) ended up being the heaviest collected on the mission, weighing in at 8.1 kg.

Historically, 70215 became more important than most rocks we returned from the valley of Taurus-Littrow. Pieces of it constitute the “moon rock” that people can touch in various museums such as the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington DC.

[Unlike the relatively coarse-grained basalts with minor olivine I sampled near the ALSEP, sample 70215 consists of fine-grained, finely vesicular ilmenite (13-37%)-olivine (6-9%) basalt with small isolated crystals (micro-phenocrysts) of olivine, ilmenite and clinopyroxene. A comparison of 70215 with the differentiation sequence in the Station 1 rake sample fragments (see Chapter 13 – Subfloor Gabbros and Basalts) suggests that 70215 may be from a different flow than that sampled at Steno Crater (Station 1). This is the only sample of four from the SEP area that does not fit the Station 1 rake sample differentiation sequence. As 70215’s original location lay on the regolith surface rather than being partially buried, an impact derivation from elsewhere in the valley is likely. The measured 40-39Ar closure ages are 3.86±0.04 and 3.77±0.12 billion years and the exposure age about 100 million years.

The internal textures of 70215 are highly variable and may represent varying degrees of annealing of quenched flow surfaces, reincorporated in a flowing magma. After previous missions, I had argued that sample allocation should include the use of analyst teams to examine all aspects of large samples in a coordinated way. The minerals, textures and chemistry viewed together often tell a different story about rock history than do these features when looked at separately. Unfortunately, NASA’s protocol usually has been to provide only very small pieces of lunar samples to individual specialists for very specific analyses. This makes a full synthesis of data on a given sample very difficult. Correlation of data with structures in the rock as a whole are impossible, and those structures may be destroyed as the rock is cut into small pieces.]

“Got any new (Rover) parking angles for your batteries or anything?” Cernan asked Parker as he arrived back at Challenger.

“No, it will be a heading of 013, which is hardly a change at all from the 012 in the Checklist.”

“Okay, I’ll buy that.”

[Pre-mission discussion included concerns about what we would do if the Rover did not work, assuming that its problem could not be fixed immediately or at all. ALSEP deployment would have been largely the same, except Cernan would not have had the Rover available as a workbench. Obviously, after ALSEP deployment, we would have begun to explore on foot as much area near the Challenger as possible. Mission Control would have used the four hours it would take for ALSEP deployment to come up with a recommended set of objectives for the remainder of EVA-1 as well as ideas on how to fix the Rover. If the Rover could not be repaired, the time between both EVA-1 and EVA-2 and EVA-2 and EVA-3 would have been used by the Science Support Room and the pertinent Flight Controllers to set the priority of objectives we could reach on foot with enough PLSS consumables (oxygen, power and water) to spend useful time and still return to Challenger.

On the other hand, the probability of the Rover failing was very small, given its various redundant features: independent drive motors, suspension and odometers on each wheel; two independent batteries tied to two independent pairs of electrical buses; and visual navigation as an alternative to the directional gyro. An Omni antenna backed up the High Gain antenna of the S-Band communications system for voice transmission to Earth, and we had several backup means of VHF communications for use on the lunar surface as well. I argued, successfully, that we should not waste our time in training for walking traverses that you could plan fairly easily in real-time. We knew where we wanted to go in this very distinctive landscape, and, once we started walking, we would have to see just how well we were doing and how much physical energy and PLSS consumables would be required to reach various objectives.

We could not have carried all of the traverse equipment, probably leaving behind the Traverse Gravimeter, the Surface Electrical Properties Experiment, some of the seismic charges, and the Lunar Rake, for starters. On the other hand, we could carry the small and large bags needed for samples, the Hasselblad cameras, the sampling Scoop and Tongs, the Core Tubes and our brains, eyes and hands more than enough for any field geologist. Also, I am sure that Mission Control’s EVA group, led by Ray Zedekar, would have figured out how two Sample Containment Bags could be mounted on the sides of a PLSS and used for both carrying seismic charges and collected samples. Some additional space for samples would become available as we deployed the seismic charges. In fact, most of my field experience had been with foot traverses in complex terrain, you actually learn more per unit distance than from a moving vehicle. The lunar regolith between clear-cut objectives, however, generally does not offer many new insights due to the destruction of contacts and the homogenization of rocks on which it has formed. The value of the Rover is that it adds efficiency of travel and carries more equipment while still providing the opportunity to look out for any unexpected features.

The question of how far away from the Challenger we could have gone on foot would not have been answered until each traverse had covered significant ground. Then, comparisons could be made between the actual use of oxygen, cooling water, and battery power and their predicted use and plans revised, if necessary. On the first EVA, we would have gone to nearby craters, such as Steno, that had ejected bedrock to be sure that we had samples of the subfloor material. I suspect that we would not have made it to Station 2 (Nansen) on EVA-2, as that was even near the limit of walk back constraints using the Rover. We may have made it to Station 4 (Shorty) and back, stopping at Station 5 (Camelot) on the way. Also, we probably could have gone to EVA-3’s Station 6 (the big Boulder) and back, but would have approached it with a long, side hill climb rather than directly up a 20º slope to reach it. These probably would have been the priorities with some additional stops added depending on our consumables and physical status at any given time. I admit that now knowing what we would find at Station 4 may bias my thinking about priorities. We will never know.

Additionally, I contend, based now on real experience, if you got up-to-speed with a toe push, striding motion (the cross-country skiing gait), you could have gone as far and almost as fast as you did with the Rover. I used this technique several times, and it seems to require significantly less physical exertion than walking or hopping. I am not certain whether I could have convinced Cernan to try that gait rather than his preferred hopping. For any foot traverse, more physical energy and consumables would have been required to “walk back” than for using the Rover, and walk back constraints would have changed. I’m sure that Mission Control would have been very conservative with those walk back constraints, at least with the first two EVAs; we might have persuaded them to extend the limits a little bit for the third if we had done well up to then.]

EVA 1 Closeout

“Jack, did you copy my comments about putting that thing (the football-sized sample) in the SRC perhaps?” Parker asked.

“Well, it was pretty big,” I replied. It’s in the big bag now. [But] We can do that [if you insist].”

“Well, I’d get the other samples – the small ones and particularly the soils – in the SRC first,” persisted Parker.

“Okay. …[Gene], are you through [parking]?” I inquired.

“No, I’m going right about here. Now I’m done. …Okay, Bob, 086 (bearing to SEP), 0.5 (distance driven since resetting prior to creating the antenna cross), 0.1 (range to SEP), 108, 102 (amp hours). Standby one. …Amp-hours are at 108, 102; volts are 74 and 75. Batteries are 108 and 123 (degrees). Motors are all off scale low [in temperature], all four of them. …I can’t read this thing (display), because it’s full of dust, so I’ve got to get off and dust it.”

Meanwhile, I had joined Cernan at the Rover and begun to work through the EVA-1 Closeout portion of the Cuff Checklist, first removing my Hasselblad camera from my chest and placing it in the Rover foot pan. Without bothering Cernan, I removed SCB-1 from the side of his PLSS and then went to the Rover Geo-Pallet to check on the SEP receiver. “Okay, the SEP receiver temp is 45…45. …You know, I think they left some Velcro off of this thing [SEP receiver], Gene. There’s no Velcro holding those [thermal cover] flaps down.” The chances are that the glue had failed and the Velcro had come off during our traverse to and from Steno.

“Isn’t there?”


“I’ve got to get the brush and dust that thing (SEP receiver). [I’ll be] a minute or two. Okay, let me get the High Gain [antenna and the TV for them].”

“I feel I’m gonna take some core tubes tomorrow,” I predicted, as I removed those tubes we had hoped to use at Steno from SCB-1.

“I have a feeling you’ve got a couple left over, don’t you,” agreed Parker.


“Bob, you got the High Gain.”

“Okay, thank you.”

“Is that my bag (SCB-1), Jack, you got?”


“That’s pretty good,” Cernan said, remarking on the fact that he had not felt me remove it.

In the MOCR, Zedekar’s EVA team was busy thinking about EVA-2 and how we should organize our equipment for that activity. Parker gave us the first results of their thinking. “Okay, let’s put all the stuff in that bag (SCB-1), Jack; both the stuff that’s in yours (SCB-2) and the stuff that’s in Gene’s.”

“Okay,” I replied. “Two samples from under the LMP’s seat [to SCB-1].”

“Put these (unused sample bags) under the seat,” Cernan said. “Clean you up here [with the dust brush] while I’m at it. Oh, man, I tell you, it’s going to take us half a dozen Sundays to dust. Look at that fender; that’s terrible.”

“Okay, you want to get my bag off?” I asked.

“Yup. If you’re ready.”

“Yup. …I’ve got to put those samples in the SRC…[I mean] in your bag (SCB-1) [and then in the SRC]; and we’ll save this one (SCB-2) [for tomorrow], I guess.”

“Wait a minute,” Cernan ordered. “Let me clean you up.” Cernan said, referring to the PLSS straps that had come loose again.


“Did you get me cleaned up?”

“Yeah, [but] you’ve lost your…strap [attachment] though, here.”

“Wait a minute, now,” Cernan said as he finished brushing. “Okay, [can] you get my [PLSS strap] hook back up over here?”

“Okay, turn around,” I replied. “Your hook’s up, but I’m not sure I closed your other one.”

“Take a look at it,” he requested.

“Yeah, your Velcro’s [loose]. …Okay, you’re good,” I assured him.

“There you go. …Okay, you’re filling which bag?”

“[I’m] Putting them in the bag (SCB-1) that goes into the SRC,” I said.

“That’s SCB-1. …Okay; let’s see, ‘Off-load LM[P] PLSS’, Core Cap Dispenser [under LMP seat]’, ‘Tools’… Okay, as soon as you get that, I’ll take that SCB-1 from you, and I’ll close SRC-1. …I’ve still got my tongs here. I got…”

Parker interrupted with, “Okay; and I gather you didn’t have any Rover samples today, did you, Jack?”

“No, I have one sample bag in my pocket that has a rock in it.

“We’ll have to take that out when we get in the Rover (meaning the LM), I assume,” Parker said.

“Okay,” I agreed. “Gene, where’s that [rock you picked up near the Challenger]? …You want to put that little rock [in SCB-1] (probably 70018)?”

[Sample 70018 consists of a regolith breccia with a partial coating of dark glass, most likely of basaltic composition although one ~0.75 cm and many smaller white clasts are visible in the hand specimen. The clasts comprise 1-2% of the sample volume. No other information is available.]

“Yeah, is it there?

“Well, what did you do with it?” I asked.

“It was on the floor on my side.”

“Your side?”

“There it is; let me get it.”

“We can put that [rock] in one of the core tube slots here [in SCB-1],” I said.

“Boy, that one fender just is an order of magnitude more of a dust problem. …Here can you reach this?” Cernan asked, leaning across the seats to hand me his sample.

“Okay, the rock that Gene picked up early – right at the start – is in a core tube slot in the SRC-1.” I meant SCB-1. “Gene, you want this one (SCB-1)?”

“Yep, I want the full one (SCB-1).”

“Yeah. …[SCB cover is] latched,” I confirmed. “Bob, that’s almost full of samples, and I think that big rock [I just collected], probably wouldn’t fit in there.”

“Okay, then we’ll put that in the Big Bag,” Parker said, forgetting that is where I put it.

“It’s in the Big Bag,” I responded.

“Good enough. And I gather there’s no Rover samples today, right?”

“No Rover samples. Sorry.” I had used the bags in the Dixie Cup sampler, however, to collect samples at the ALSEP site. At this point, I went to the MESA, where Cernan worked with SRC-1, and pick up the white fabric bag for the deep core stems now on the strut behind Challenger’s ladder.

“Okay,” Cernan says as he begins to close SRC-1. “The seal is clear, like I promised I’d make it. Coming over the top [with the lid].” When he had opened the SRC early in the EVA, Cernan draped a Teflon “skirt”, positioned inside the box for this purpose, over the seals and the lid’s knife edge. With SCB-1 inside SRC-1, he removed the skirt. “Bob, the seal is clear.”


“I don’t know if it’s beautiful, but it’s clear,” retorted Cernan. “…Okay, that big mamoo (the rock box) is locked. …I got a lot of oxygen!” he exclaimed. “I still got 22 percent.”

“I expect our [cooling] feed water may be getting a little low.” I guessed; however, I think Mission Control had been too conservative in their predictions of consumables usage. This probably cost us a chance to get to Emory and finish all our objectives there. The predictions were based on the strenuous activities during ALSEP deployment and did not take into account much lower use of consumables while we were on the Rover.

“I’m going to leave this (SRC-1) right here [on the MESA table] until I take it up to you.” Cernan stated. “Okay,” looking at his Cuff Checklist, “ ‘Close [and seal SRC-1]’ and ‘Verify good seal.’ ‘Place [SRC] in plus Z pad (ladder pad).’ Okay, ‘LRV circuit breakers [all OPEN], LRV ‘LCRU power, OFF. Dust [TV].’ Well, let me get at that dusting first.”

“Give me a yell when you need a spell there,” I offered as I worked near the ladder, packing up the deep core stems.

“What, [with the] dusting?”


“Well, I need a fender,” responded Cernan, “that’s what I need. Figure out something we can make a fender with.”

“How about one of the others that’s not as critical?” I pondered out loud, thinking about a front fender.

“Yeah, but I wouldn’t ever take one of those off! You know, I had one to put on and it didn’t stay, which is what I figured.”

“I thought you said it was broken, though?” I queried.

“Well, it was. But these aren’t supposed to come off, either, unless you break them. …I broke that one. My hammer got caught underneath it. It wasn’t the fender’s fault.”

“Okay, the [deep] core tube is packed,” I declared. “…Every time I read ‘containment bag’ [in the Checklist], it fools me; I can’t figure out what it is.”

“Every time what?”

“I read ‘containment bag’.”

This gave Cernan a laugh. “You’ve been thinking of the other kind [fecal containment bag] too long. You’ve been living in the Command Module too long.” Here, “containment bag” referred to a dust containment bag to put around any SCBs we will take into Challenger’s cabin.

“That’s a pretty good day’s workout, you know,” I said, reflecting on what we had done. “I don’t think we need an exercise period,” I added, relating back to scheduled exercise in America.

“[When] we get back in there, I don’t think we have to apologize to anybody,” Cernan asserted. “I’m sorry we didn’t get out to Station 1 (Emory). One of the main reasons is, I think, we could have got our navigation bearings a little bit better.”

“Well, I’ll tell you,” I countered, knowing that navigation had nothing much to do with falling behind the timeline, “that new ALSEP had more to it than met the eye.”

“You know, this is just such an easy site to find out and to identify yourself on and to land in. But, I tell you, all of a sudden there is so many local holes that I can’t think big enough.”

“Does that sound familiar?” I asked, remembering what other Apollo crews had said.

“Okay, Jack, I’ll wait on the rest of my dusting until…”

“Am I in your way?” I inquired, having moved back over to the Rover with the Equipment Transfer Bag (ETB).

“Yeah, I’d like to get over there to get this last battery cover. …That’s good enough. I can get over there now. I want to make sure these things stay clean because I don’t want to walk,” Cernan said, worrying about the perils of batteries overheating.

“I agree. …Okay, Bob, containment bags and two cameras are stowed in the ETB.”

“Copy that. And don’t forget the scissors, guys,” Parker said.

“Don’t worry. I’ve got them right here,” I assured everyone.

“And, Jack,” Parker continued, “give me your consideration – or Gene – on that question of bringing back the big bag into the cabin. The people down here are saying they want to bring it in, and then we’d end up bringing it back out on the second EVA. What do you guys think about that?”

“That’s all right,” I said quickly, “we can do that.” As the Big Bag had a sample in it, it would be good to have in the cabin if we had to leave Taurus-Littrow, prematurely.

“Yeah, we can do that. I guess just because that rock’s in there, huh?”

“I’d like to do that and look at that rock with the hand lens.”

“All right,” Parker confirmed, “so then we’d be taking it back out in the second EVA, if you guys are agreeable to that.”

“Yeah, we’ll do that, Bob,” repeated Cernan.

“Do you think it’ll go in the SCB number 2?” inquired Parker.

“What would? The rock?”, I asked.

“Yeah, that’s right.”

“Well, it’ll go in there!” I said, testily and slightly exasperated at the question. “It’s not that big. I gave you the dimensions.”

“Okay, why don’t you put it in SCB-2 and bring that in, instead,” Parker suggested, passing on Zedekar’s recommendation. “Leave SRB (the Big Bag) out, and then we’ll just leave SCB-2 in [the cabin] forever.”


Cernan interjected, suddenly and seemingly in a panic, “What are those things going over? What is that, Jack? Hey, something just hit here! …What blew? Hey, what is that?”

“Oh, your antenna [package],” I told him. “It’s that Styrofoam off the High Gain antenna package.”

“On the LM?” asked Cernan, now worried.

“No, the one you deployed. The Rover High Gain antenna.”

“My God, it blew up!, Cernan exclaimed as more of the package exploded.


“I thought we’d been hit by a [meteor],” Cernan explained. “Look at that stuff just keeps flying over the top of our heads! I thought we were the closest witnesses to a lunar meteor impact… I wonder if that’s the same [brown] glass I picked up?”

“Oh, I don’t know [if you were serious about that sample]. Weren’t you kidding? …Isn’t that what you thought it was? Isn’t that what you thought it was? …I thought you were kidding [about the ‘brown glass’].”

“No! I’ve never seen that before.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. I thought that was [your plan],” I said.

“Well, you saw that stuff coming. I didn’t see that at all. Holy Smoley!”

“Roger, 17,” Parker agreed. “And John (Young) says that it blew up on his mission (Apollo 16), as well.”

While I continued to add film magazines to the ETB, including the magazine Romeo off the 500 mm Hasselblad, Cernan said, “Okay, Bob, I guess I’m going to take the TV away from you.…Okay, [and] I’m going to open the [Rover power bus] circuit [breakers].”

Parker then interrupted Cernan’s procedures, always a mistake. “Okay. And, Gene, one thing we’d like before you guys leave the Rover is a fairly good description of what happened to the rear fender when it came off. Is the damage primarily to the piece that you’ve lost, or are the rails on the pieces remaining fairly bad?”

“Well, [there is] a piece of the rail on the aft inboard side here. …The rail isn’t missing; it’s just a piece of the flange, the rail that fits against the fender [that’s missing]. But that doesn’t hold any part of the fender on. I don’t remember what I saw on the [missing] fender. The rails look pretty good, Bob. And I had one of them completely on, and I just couldn’t get the other one on. If I had known what that dust was [going to do], I would have tried an awful lot harder [to secure it].”

“Do you have any feeling,” Parker continued, “that you could get away with putting a front fender on?”

“Well, I have done it before,” Cernan answered, unclearly, “but it’s not easy.” This would be particularly true in a pressurized suit.

“Okay, as far as you can tell, so that we can look at it overnight, the rear fender – the part that’s remaining – looks in fairly good shape, right?”

“Let me take a good look at it. …Yeah, the part you need, I think, to hold that fender on. …Yeah, that’s all here. There’s enough here to hold the fender on, Bob.” To gather the information needed to think about a fix, the team preparing to work the problem should have been more specific with their questions. As a Purdue engineer, Cernan also should have given a clearer description of the remaining fender structure, namely, that both rails were still solidly in place.

Meanwhile, I continued to stick with the Checklist procedures for packing the ETB while this fender discussion proceeded. “Let’s see. We better take those dust [lens] brushes up there [into the cabin].” I was anticipating needing these brushes as we cleaned the suit bearings and hose connections even though including them was not on the Checklist.

“Okay, we’ll take a look at it (the fender problem) here while you’re sleeping,” Parker concluded. I had a lot of confidence that the Mission Control team would come up with a solution. I had worked too many similar problems for earlier missions to have major concerns; but I am sure it would have helped for the team to have more precise information about the condition of the remaining portion of the fender.

“Okay, let me get some [Rover circuit] breakers here.” Cernan fortunately remembered what he was going to do before Parker interrupted. “LRV [Bus] breakers Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, and Delta.”

“Bob, while you were talking, I got all the [film] mags: Romeo, Alpha, Golf, Charlie.”

“[And] Hotel?”

“That’s on a magazine, [I mean,] that’s on a camera.”

“Okay. Got you on that one; you’re right.”

“Is it not?”

“You’re right; my fault. You’ve got the maps, too?”

“Okay, I need those maps, Gene. Could you hand me the maps?”

“I don’t know,” Cernan said as he had trouble releasing the maps from the Rover clip.

“Pretty good clip… [The maps are] splitting apart a bit, too, aren’t they? [Probably from] getting hot!” The maps, printed on stiff chronopaque material and glued together, consist of an area photograph on one side and a contour map on the other, both with our planned traverses indicated and major named features identified.

“This thing (LRV sampler) keeps falling out of your clip,” complained Cernan, “in case you’re interested, or I keep knocking it out [reaching for the maps].”

“Put it down [in the seat pan], yeah,” I advised. “Okay, I’ve got the maps, the 500 mag, …and the two cameras.” I also added the 500 mm camera to the ETB so I could get better photographs of the sides of the North and South Massifs through Challenger’s windows.

“Okay,” Parker broke in, “we’ll have to get the contamination bags, too, [in] there.” I had already done this.

“Okay,” I said, “ETB is going to the old LEC hook [on the back of the ladder].”

“Roger,” Parker acknowledged. “[But] We’ve got the contamination bags to get, too, out of the MESA.”

“I got them.”

“Okay; copy that.”

“Mentioned that earlier.”

“Sorry about that.” Parker often seemed not to depend on others, like Ray Zedekar, with the responsibility to keep track of these things.

“They’re in there (in the ETB),” I concluded, rubbing it in.

“Okay; and Geno, when you’re brushing the LCRU, we’d (Bill Perry and Jim Sisson, LRV Support) like the [LCRU mirror] blankets left at 100 percent rather than 65 percent. We’d like them all left open; and it’s (LCRU) been a little warm, also.”

“Okay, Bob, I’ve already dusted everything. And it all looks pretty good. The breakers are OPEN; the LCRU power is OFF. I’m going to… Where do you want the TV camera? Do you want it tilted down and aft?”

“Rog. Down and away from the Sun, like we talked about [during training]. [I] think that’s what you mean by aft.”

“That’s what I thought. Okay, it is down. …Yeah, it’s there [aft].”

“Okay; can you confirm that that’s 100 percent on the LCRU blanket rather than 65 percent as per the checklist?” Parker asked. Cernan had acknowledged the request but had not confirmed that he had done so. Good call by someone.

“Yes, sir; I sure can. …Okay, I’m opening all the battery covers. The batteries are not dirty. I’ve been dusting the covers every stop.”

“[Gene,] are you through with the SRC?” I asked.

“Yeah, I just left it there.”

“I’ve got to get to the (MESA) table.”

“Okay. …Okay, [Bob,] the batteries [covers] look pretty good. Bob, the left-hand forward reflector on the batteries is about 10 percent in shade. The others are in the Sun. Is that what you want?”

“Stand by… Okay; that sounds right, they (Jim and Perry) say.”

“Okay, the LCRU has been dusted; everything is dusted. Our blankets are open 100 percent. But why don’t I recheck: ‘Battery covers, OPEN; LCRU blanket is open 100 percent; samples off. You got them all off, Jack?”


“And anything else? Let me look around. I got to get the TGE [to the shade at the MESA].”

“Check it (the Rover) one more time,” I suggested.

“Samples off; let’s look under here (his seat). There’s nothing under here. This bag (SCB-2) is empty. Those are [unused] sample bags.”

“Okay, we do not bring up the LM ECS (LiOH) canister. Is that correct?” I asked Parker as I moved the EVA-1 pallet of food, two PLSS LiOH canisters, and two PLSS batteries to the MESA table.

“That’s correct, Seventeen.”


“And, Jack, confirm you have the scissors in the ETB.” Parker may have been joking, but he may not have been listening, again.

“Yes, sir,” I laughed, assuming he was joking. “Thank you, again. …[I’m] fighting the old [MESA] blanket. …Okay, that [LiOH] pin’s green; [and] that [LiOH] pin’s green. Both pins are green… But [the canisters are] dirty. …Okay, I’ll take some stuff up [to the porch]. SCB-2, we don’t have. Oh, wait a minute. What did we decide to do [with the big rock]?” I asked myself. “Put that big rock in the…”

“SCB-2 for the big rock there, Jack,” Parker confirmed.

“How’s our time, Bob?” I asked as I went to the Rover for SCB-2.

“No problem on time.”

“There’s a little [dust] in on those [LCRU] mirrors, Geno,” I said, surely annoying Cernan. “Can I sneak in and get a bag [from the Geo Pallet]?” I asked as he dusted the SEP receiver.


“See you later, Rover,” I said as if I were Brian Basset’s “Red” leaving his pet retriever and getting on the school bus.

“Okay,” Cernan said as he went through the remainder of his EVA-1 Checklist, “the SEP blankets are OPEN; it is dusted. Okay, and I verify that the DSEA (SEP tape recorder) is OFF, and the power’s OFF. …Okay, you want the TGE [to the] right side of the MESA, but in the shade, …Boy, did it (TGE) get covered with dust, too. …Bob, no trouble with the TGE and the TV [motion], huh?”

“None so we can tell. We’ll get another reading here when we see it on the ground here…”

“Okay, Jack, if I set this (TGE) here, we’ll…Jack?”


“I just want to set it here so you don’t knock it over.”

“What’s that?” Obviously, I was preoccupied with changing the large rock from the Big Bag to SCB-2.

“The TGE, right where your left foot is.”

“Oh, well.”

“I’m afraid we’ll knock it over if I set it anywhere else,” Cernan explained.

“Well, stand by; I’ve got a lot of stuff here.”


“We should have volunteered to take the Big Bag in [and bring it back out],” I commented with some regret, as I tried to fit the football-sized basalt sample in the SRC .

“Why?” Cernan asked. “You having trouble getting that thing in [SCB-2]?”

“Oh, it’s just [non]standard [in shape]. …Yes, I’m having trouble.”

‘Well, here; let me help you,” he offered.

“Hold this big bag, please,” I requested. I could not get a one-handed grip on the rock.

“Just don’t back up if you can help it.” He had set the TGE behind me.

“Hold the bag. This big one, this one,” I insisted. “No, the other one, the other one; don’t…” Cernan obviously wanted to show me he could get the rock out with one hand.

“I can’t [hold it]. …I got it,” he declared. “That’s a big rock. [The only] fit there (in SCB-2] is long ways.”

“Okay, there should be another one in there,” I said, referring to the rock I had put in the Big Bag early in EVA-1. “Is there?”

“Feel it, squeeze it… Hit it,” Cernan suggested to me.” “On the bottom. See if there’s any [rock] in there.”

“Yeah, there is,” I said, thinking a seam was a rock through the glove.

“Well, let’s get it out. Here, pick it up. We’ll get it out,” he said turning the Big Bag upside down. “…Hold the top. …Shake it.” No rock appeared.

“Well, I thought there was one in there,” I declared. Indeed, there had been an 8 × 5 × 3 cm gabbro specimen that I had collected and reported on during my early inspection of the Descent Stage. It fell out sometime later, probably just as we were trying to get the big rock out.

I don’t think there’s anything in there.”

“I thought I put one in there. …Well, I guess not. If I did, it’s gotten out. Got away.” Why I did not just pick up another rock, I do not know. It was not as if there weren’t any nearby.

“Okay, I’m going to leave the TGE right here,” Cernan told me once again. “ ‘Off-load TGE [at the] right side of MESA.’ Okay, I might give them a gravimeter reading, believe it or not. Boy, I’ll tell you, the only thing bad about putting this thing on the ground – just like everything else – you have to bend over to get at it. And you need support to get back up. …Okay. MARK, Gravimeter… And she’s flashing, Bob.

“Thank you,” acknowledged Parker.

“Okay, I’m supposed to take this (SCB-2) and the core stem bag up there [to the porch],” I said. “Can you get the core-stem bag?”

“Yeah, I’ll get it for you…”

Using one arm to pull on the left ladder rail and with a strong jump, I landed on the second rug, SCB-2 in hand, and carried it up to the porch. “Okay, you got a core stem bag [to hand me]?” I asked Cernan.

“Yep, let me give it one zap with the [dust] brush,” he replied.

“Okay… I didn’t mean to drop that [bag], but I did.”

“Yeah, we got to keep from dropping everything. I’ll tell you, the big lesson today…[is] dust, I guess.

“The big lesson is,” I responded, still standing on Challenger’s ladder, “that it’s going to get dropped if your hands get tired.

“Here you are,” Cernan said, as he held up the core stem bag.

“Let me come down [one rung]… Got it,” I said and proceed to take the bag, one handed, up to the porch.

“Okay,” Cernan said as he looked at his Cuff Checklist, “the TGE is reading. We got to stow our antennas and…get some dusting done here. I’ll make a check of what you’ve got up there. What have you got up there so far?”

“Just the SRC-2 (I meant SCB-2) and the core stems.”

“Okay, SRC-2 and the core stems. Okay… Where’s the EVA pallet?” He asked, still consulting the Checklist.

“It’s on the MESA table,” I told him.

“Okay, that’s good; that’s ready. Where’s ETB? That’s ready to go up?”

“Yep.” I had hung the ETB on its lanyard hooked to a porch rail.

“Okay, ‘Core stem bag, SRC-2’, SCB-1 is in SRC-1. It’s there. Big bag is not required. Okay, any more room up there? If not, why don’t…I dust you here.” I had come back down off the ladder.

“Okay. This rock you landed on here,” I complained, pretending Cernan had that much control of the landing.

“Pick up your right foot. …Jack, you’re just going to have to get up on that ladder somewhere so I don’t get the dust all over this thing (TGE).”

“Well, I’ve got to dust you, too…”

“Well, okay. Go ahead and get me,” he said.

“Yeah, where’s your brush?”

“Right on the hook. …Let me see what I can do. [I’ll be able to] kick most of it off, I hope.”

“You have to go anywhere else, now?” I asked, knowing he would get dusty again if he did.

“Just right around here; no place but right around here… Man! That’s (dusting) like a super-endless task …Get the top of that thing (RCU) if you can.”

“Oop. Oop. Landed on a slope,” I said as I lost my balance while dusting hard.


“Okay. That’s good.”

“How about the arms?” he asked.

“Can you hold them up and shake them, too, in case there’s anything down in them (the fabric folds)?” I suggested in return.

“Let me just… Yep. Let me get lower so you can get at me. Okay, how’s that? …But, at best, it (dust in the cabin) is going to be bad, but we want to get as much off as we can. …How about this one (arm)?”

“Guess I can come around on the other side, if you want,” I said, reluctantly, as I increasingly had problems holding on to the brush.

“Yeah, I can hold on [to the ladder] better that way…”

“It’s taking some of it off,” I said with more hope than certainty.


“Hold still,” I requested.

“I’ll get up on that ladder and you get a whack at my legs, best you can. And I’ll kick my boots clean…”

“That fender is really going to be a nuisance. …[We were] rained on [with dust],” I recalled. “I’m going to have to get you to bend over, too, so I [can get to the top of the PLSS]. …Not now. Now, there’s a lot [of dust] on the OPS.”

“Might just as well stow my antenna, if you’re up there [working on the OPS].” I did not do this at this point as I would need both hands.

“Just a second. Oh, boy! That’s really putting the finishing touches [of fatigue] on the old arms, isn’t it?”


“How’d you get so dirty?” I asked, facetiously.

“Wait until I show you the picture I took of you.”

[You] didn’t,” I objected. “Okay, Gene. Most of what’s left is up on your [OPS]. …[I’ll] get your antenna. …Oh, you’re going to go up there (on the ladder), first?” I asked as Cernan missed his first attempt to jump to the first rung.

“I don’t know how you do that.”

“Just really spring,” I advised based on two previous successful efforts. “You got it!”

“Beautiful! Better get my legs, and I’ll kick [the ladder]”

“Apollo 17, …are both antennas up?” Parker broke in, again at a bad time.

“No!” I yelled, misinterpreting his question, but still unhappy with him asking it when I was so frustrated by the dusting and seemingly having little to show for it.

“No, sir, Bob,” Cernan said more calmly. “I’m still getting dusted. We’re trying to go over this thing pretty thoroughly.”

“[Your] pocket is probably full of dirt,” I predicted.

“That brush does pretty good, though. …Want me to move, or anything now?”

“No. …Of course, when I do this, I get dirtier,” I noted as Cernan was on the ladder and the dust fell downward.

“Well, …Once I get you this far, I’m just going to shove you on up that ladder and not let you get in the dust. Whoo! …Okay?” he asked.

“No. You’re not okay,” I said, frankly. “You’re awful dusty. But I don’t know that I can…do too much more.

“That looks pretty good. I’ll walk [carefully].” Cernan had to go back to the MESA to get the EVA-1 Pallet, tidy-up the MESA’s thermal blankets, and read the TGE gravity measurement.

“Hit your boots real hard when you come up,” I requested, as I handed him the dust brush.

“Yep. …Okay. I’ve just got to stay on my feet here for a while.”

“Want me to…”

“Stand in the [landing] pad,” Cernan added, finishing my thought while still above me on the ladder. “Yeah. Stay there and I’ll get your back and your PLSS while I’m at it…to start with. Stoop down, if you can. Stand on the bottom of the pad. …There you go…”

[This extensive and laborious process of removing dust, largely unsuccessful, was Apollo’s futile approach to a problem that will need to be addressed more successfully as humans and dust sensitive hardware are exposed for longer periods on the Moon or Mars. Although there has been no indication of adverse effects from the two to four dust inhalations Apollo astronauts experienced, Earth experience indicates that chronic exposure to ultra-fine dust of any kind should be avoided. Future space suit design should provide for passive and/or active dust rejection, not only to eliminate the extensive dusting required for the A7LB model we used, but as the first layer of engineering defense against dust invading suit ports and bearings as well as future cabins and habitats. As the space suit always will be the primary vector for dust entering living spaces, donning suits through the wall of such spaces will be the second line of defense. Effectively, the space suit would become a dust lock as well as an airlock. On the Moon, any minor dust that escapes these two defenses can be filtered out by a combination of magnetic and air/CO2 filters. On Mars, however, the lack of nano-phase iron (produced by regolith maturation) inside the dust particles will make magnetic filters ineffective. Suit maintenance; however, will require temporarily pressurized units from which dust is regularly removed by vacuum or blower-filter systems.]

While I was getting dusted, I had a chance to think a little. “How’s the old ALSEP, Bob?”

“It’s looking great, guys,” Parker replied, not yet knowing or acknowledging the problems that would be coming up with the Lunar Surface Gravimeter.

“Don’t forget, Jack; you’ll have to stow my [PLSS] antenna, yet.


“Okay, while I’m up here let me get the top of your OPS,” stated Cernan, “and I’ll stow your antenna at the same time.”


“You’re going to have to get (squat) further down. I can’t reach it. …That’s good.”

“I feel like I’m praying. I guess I am.”

“Now, maybe I can get some dust off you. Okay, stay there. The antenna will be stowed in half of a jiff. …Oh, my fingers! They do not have the dexterity that they once had.” And Cernan has just started dusting me! “[I’ll] make sure you don’t have anything hanging on you. Wait a minute. …Okay. You can stand up. I’ll work on your arms. …I’ll come around that side and get the other one. No, maybe I won’t either. Maybe I’ll get it. …Hold onto the ladder some. It’ll give me stability, too. …Okay, I’ll get the backside of your arm from the other side. Let me get around your waist here now. …Getting there. … Ah. …Okay, let me try your left arm. …Why don’t you go up the [ladder a] step. …Okay. Stay there. …Oh, boy. Hallelujah. Yeah, do that,” he said as I stomped my boots against the first rung. “That gets a lot off, Jack. Keep doing that. Keep doing that. Boy, that gets it off your shoes… Okay. Put this foot out here, again. …We’re still at it, Bob.”

“Yeah! It seemed to go a lot faster down there in the clean room at the Cape,” Parker remarked.

“Boy, you bet you [it does]. And I know why we didn’t do it. It was just as tough down there as it is here.”

“Okay, [are you done]?” I asked.

“No, not yet. I want to get the other leg. And then I want you to lean over and get my antenna.”

“Oh, that’s right. I need to brush off the top, too. I’ll stow your antenna first.”

“Okay, babe. That’s about all I can do for you,” concluded Cernan. “Okay, get my antenna. Oh, I think all the dust I took off you went on me. …Can you reach it from there?”

“Well, yeah; I think I can. …Oh, whew…!”

“I have 7 hours from the time I looked at my watch,” noted Cernan. “That’s got to be pretty close.”

“You guys have got 6 hours and 53 minutes and 40 seconds [of EVA time],” reported Parker.

“Okay, Gene, you’re stowed. Let me…see your brush.”

“Okay. Here it is…”

“Okay. That’s the best I can do,” I told him after brushing the top of his PLSS. “Okay. Let me get the top of this [shin] pocket…”

“Okay. Go on up; stay clean,” ordered Cernan. The mutual dusting had taken about 12 minutes of valuable time.

“Well,” I said, trying to recall what he needed to hand me. “You’ve got…let’s see…”

“I’ll hand you something (the EVA-1 Pallet).”

“You’ve got to bring stuff up I guess, huh?”


“Okay. I need the EVA pallet,” I said, finally getting my thoughts organized.

“Okay, I’ll give you that and then I’ll get to work. I’ve got some work I’ve got to do for Bob [at the MESA]. …Ah! Okay, [is] everything on the EVA Pallet?” Cernan may have been looking for confirmation or had forgotten that everything on the Pallet had been preloaded prior to launch from the Cape.

“Yeah. Just hand it to me and I’ll start unstowing it up there [later].”

“Okay. Man, I forgot I had my visor up [in Challenger’s shade]. Zowie! See if I can get back in the shade. …Got it?” Cernan asked as he handed me the Pallet.

“Yeah,” I answered and then headed rung by rung up the ladder, using my left hand on the rail to keep my balance.

“Okay, Bob. I’ll try giving them (Checklist items) to you one at a time. LMP’s got the EVA pallet. Let me give you a MESA reading. …[that is], or a [TGE] reading, then I’ll tidy the (MESA) blanket. …Okay. The reading is 000, 133, 201, …and I can only assume that one of us hit it,” he said, realizing that the reading made no sense. “I think I’ve got time to give you another one.”

“Okay. Quickly.”

“Well, that’s the way it’ll be, because it’s already punched… MARK it. …Okay, I’m tidying up the MESA blankets. I’m pretty tidy!”

“I did that, [already],” I said from the porch.

“Okay, MESA blankets are tidied. Okay. ‘Open TGE [thermal lid and dust]’. I’ll do that [later]. ‘[Dust] brush to ladder hook. Final transfer [check]’. Jack. I’m going to… Okay, I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. I’m going to inventory here. You got the Pallet. ETB is here, and you got the core stem bag. SCB-2 is [up] there; SRC-1 is here; Big Bag is not required. Bob, I think we got everything. The two things on the surface yet are the ETB and the SRC and me.”

Cernan looked up to see how I was doing with entering the hatch and said, “Jack, get down [lower] a little bit more, and you’ve got another 2 or 3 inches [before you are clear]”.

“ ‘I can’t get any lower, Willie. Me buttons are in the way.’ ” Here I quoted the caption of a famous Bill Mauldin World War II cartoon that had Willie and Joe face down in the mud with bullets flying close overhead.

Fig. 10.42. Bill Mauldin’s famous WWII cartoon caption I quoted while squeezing through the entrance hatch of the Challenger at the end of EVA-1. It originally appeared in the Stars and Stripes (Mediterranean Edition) for July 3, 1944 (Copyright 1944 by Bill Mauldin. Courtesy of the Bill Mauldin Estate LLC).

“Okay. Keep going. Get your pockets over the sill. There you go. There you are. You’re in. Kick off your feet if you can; kick them right there. That’s good. That got a lot off. Okay, go on in. You’re over to the right …Okay, there you are. You’ve got all the room you want now.”

“That’s not as easy as in the K-bird,” I commented, remembering a flight in simulated one-sixth gravity provided by the parabolic flights of NASA’s KC-135 aircraft. Tired hands and the lack of a little bit of aircraft motion may have been the difference.

“Okay. I think I’ll give this rock box a quick dusting here.”

“Your [cabin] hoses [are in the way]. …We’ve got to have a better way to store your hoses.” My head is now against the Z-27 bulkhead or Midstep in front of the Ascent Engine housing. We had draped his hoses over his right hand controller and that caused them to get tangled up with my right arm as I came in on my belly. Also, I had pushed the EVA-1 Pallet in ahead of me and pushed it over to the right to be out of the way.

“Yeah, I don’t like them there either,” Cernan agreed. “I saw that when we went out.” I wish I had noticed and moved them farther away from the hatch before exiting.

“Whew, boy,” I exhaled as I curved around the DISKEY as best I could and grabbed the Engine housing to finally push upright.

“You in?”


“Sounds like it. …Oh, come on!” Cernan said to himself as he missed his jump to the first rung, again. “Get up there. … Okay, Jack, coming up with the rockbox.”

“I’m not ready,” I said, as now I had to rotate 180 degrees and move into Cernan’s normal area so I could reach down and grab what Cernan would shove through the hatch. In addition, I had to unstow the food, batteries and LiOH canisters from the Pallet, so I could hand it back out to Cernan to toss away before he came inside.

“Well, I’ve got to…I’ve got to…[do something with this SRC].”

“Can you put it on the porch?” I suggested.

“Well, I only got one more thing to do and that’s just clean up (read) the TGE. Okay. I’ve got to come up there anyway… ‘Godspeed the crew of Apollo 17.’ “ Cernan invented this last quote, allegedly on a decal at the top of the ladder.

“Who signed it? I forgot to read it.”

“I’m not going to tell you, but I like the message.…Probably shouldn’t tell you. …Okay, that [rock box] ought to stay up there [on the porch]. …Okay, I can’t hand you anything in anyway. I’m going down and clean up (read and dust) the TGE”.

“Rog. It should be ready to read by now,” confirmed Parker.

“Oh! That last step down again. Okay. Bob, before…well, let me get this for you. …Okay, Bob, 670, 021, 501; 670, 021, 501.

And the cover (lid) is up. …Cover is up, if I can keep it up. …If I can keep it up. …That’ll keep it up. …It’s been dusted. And I’ll get it to STANDBY.”

“Okay. Copy that,” Parker stated. “And did you dust the [TGE] radiator?” Cernan had just said he had.

“Yes, sir; I dusted that a little earlier. Okay, it (TGE) is Standby, Bob. Radiator [lid] is up.” In different ways, Cernan and I both are showing mental fatigue, primarily by mis-speaking, shorter phrases, and, in my case, by being short with Parker’s idiosyncrasies. “Okay. I’m going up to the porch. All I’ve got down here is ETB, and it’s on the LEC (lanyard from the porch rail).”

“I’m ready for you,” I finally said.

“Have you got anything else?” Cernan asked Parker.


“I’m ready for you up here,” I repeated.

“Let’s see what kind of dusting job I can do on myself… Okay, Jack, coming up. …Whee!” Cernan exclaims, as this time, he gets to the ladder’s lower rung on the first try.

As Cernan reached the porch, I pushed the EVA Pallet out to him, saying, “I’ll get it to you.”

“I got it.”

“Watch the [hatch] seal,” I warn.

“Okay. …Okay, here’s an SRC.”

“Okay; float’er in here.”

“Oh, me. Well, I’ll get it up for you,” Cernan offers as the SRC falls over with its long dimension parallel to the floor.

“No. That’s all right.”

“Ah. I think you got the ticket right there.”

“Ah,” I grunted as I bent in the middle to grab the SRC.

“I’ll watch that. No sense making it hard. See if I can’t stand this one (SCB) up… Okay. …Okay, and here come the core tubes (stems). …Boy, let’s protect that core tube. Man, that was the turning point today [for me]. …Got it?”

“Got it.” As containers came through the hatch I just set them on the top of the Ascent Engine cover for later stowage. “Yeah, we had a lot of turning points.”

[Cernan’s perspective on “turning points” was more from a fill-the-square point of view. I too wanted to get the ALSEP deployed, but remained very concerned that, if we never had another EVA, we had not gathered much geological information about the Taurus-Littrow area. The “subfloor material” (basalt) had been sampled, but not systematically relative to depth of derivation, age and geochemical diversity. We knew nothing about thickness or structure of this basalt unit or units. The few gravity readings did not constitute a profile from which much such information could be deduced; and the two deployed charges also would not give a seismic profile across the valley. The “dark mantle” had been sampled at Steno but only as part of the regolith covering the subfloor material and without any context relative to its origin. We had the regolith materials in the deep core and rake sample that might provide additional insights into the types of other materials in and around the valley, but the nature and age of the Massif walls of the valley remained unknown along with that of the “light mantle”.

On the positive side, samples of the subfloor basalt we now had in hand, including the Station 1 rake sample, would provide insights into the age of the eruptions and the mineral crystallization sequence of the lava. The regolith samples also would identify the fine volcanic ash that gave the dark mantle its low albedo. Further, one of the zones of the deep core contains fragments of norite and other materials from the surrounding mountains that might provide useful data on the ages of some of their various rocks types.

The ALSEP experiments would provide a variety of lunar environmental and geophysical data, and the heat flow probes would complement the measurements made at the Apollo 15 site. At the end of EVA-1, however, we remained scientifically exposed to having gone all the way to the Moon, specifically to explore a highly diverse geological venue, but with relatively little to show for it in contrast with to the perceived potential of the Taurus-Littrow landing site.]

“Do you want the LEC in there? You don’t, do you?” asked Cernan.

“No, just the bag (ETB).”

“Where are the scissors, by the way?”

“They’re in the bag,” I assured him.

“Okay. I hope they don’t come out this time.”

“Well, I stuck them down in there. I hope they don’t. …We’ll have to figure out something else if they do.”

Missing the point that they could have fallen out, again, Parker said, “You guys put the scissors in the ETB.”

“I think so, Bob.”

“I’ll take a peek down there. If they fell out, they’ll be right on top [of the surface under the LEC]. Okay. Mama mia…”

“Okay, Gene,” Parker inserted, “and you got the SCB number 2 in and the pallet out, right?”

“Right,” I said, wondering if anyone is listening down there.

“Here it (the ETB) comes, Jack. …Take that? …There are no scissors on the ground beneath where the ETB was. So I would say that they’re probably in the ETB.”

“Okay. You got everything, now?” I enquired just to be sure the porch was clear.

“Yes, sir.”

“Okay, let me get out of the way.” I had to almost close the hatch in order to move way over into my control area of the cabin and as far out of Cernan’s way as possible. I would pull the open hatch hard into my legs and then reach over to assist him in avoiding the DISKEY.

“Okay. …Whoops,” Cernan said as he shook Challenger. “That’s me dusting [my boots by kicking]. Well, I guess I got about 25, 20, 15, I guess, 13 percent oxygen, 3.8 (psi). Okay, babe.”

“Come on in.”

“Coming through that hole.”

“Okay. Put your ‘buttons’ down,” I said, trying to guide him as much as possible. “You’re great. Now [force] your head up. You’re right against the top… [Now,] right against the Z-27 [bulkhead]. …Come [left] towards me. …Okay, now up…”


“Tight fit.”

“What am I caught on back there?”

“You’re just scraping against [the DISKEY with] your PLSS.”

“Okay. I’ll just bend.” Cernan, being taller, may have found this arching of the back easier than I could, but overall, he seemed to be having more trouble than I.

“Watch your pockets. Your leg pockets [catching on the hatch opening] might be part of the problem.”


“Okay. Come on in. Just hug as close as you can. Okay, you’re there. …Okay?”

“Yup, let me just get on my feet here,” Cernan finally was inclined on his belly facing aft. “Ohh! Ah. Wait a minute. Got to turn one way or the other. Does this look better?”

“Yeah. I’d turn towards your right…”

“Well, can’t do that,” he said, as his PLSS was stopped by the DISKEY.”

“Try the other way. Get your PLSS back in there towards the circuit breakers.”

“Move your right, …[I mean,] your left arm,” he requested.

“Where?” I said with a laugh. Not much room for me to move it, anywhere. “Okay, [how’s that].”

“There. Okay. Let me make sure there’s nothing in that hatch.”

“Well, there’s dust,” I observed. “That’s one thing that’s in there.”

“Well…take one quick peek.”

“From where I stand, all I can see is dust.” If it became necessary, we could do a slight partial cabin re-pressurization with the hatch as tight as possible against the seal and then open the hatch and let the rush of oxygen clear the dust.

“Okay, it’s (the hatch seal) clear. Hit it (the hatch) [to close it]. Is that what do we do next?” asked Cernan, as I began to look at the Post-EVA Cue Card.

“…Your pockets [are catching on the hatch door],” I told him as I tried to swing the hatch closed. “Okay?”


“ ‘Primary [PLSS] water, CLOSED’,” Cernan read. “ ‘Forward hatch [Close and Lock]… Turn our Water – OFF. …Do you have to turn the primaries or just the secondary (Auxiliary), Bob?” asked a heavily breathing, tired Cernan.

“Primary [only],” I told him. The Primary and Auxiliary PLSS water tanks are in series, with the latter feeding into the former and then to the ice sublimator.

“Primary only,” Parker confirmed. “That’s why you don’t turn your Primary Water off when you go to Aux,” he explained unnecessarily.

“I’ve got them both OFF. Is that all right?”

“That’s okay, too,” Parker said, getting a thumbs up from Bill Bates at the PLSS console in Mission Control.

“Well, wait a minute [for me to get that],” I requested.

“Got yours?

“No, I can’t quite reach it,” I said, having both my arms confined.

“Well, if you can, roll to the left,” Cernan suggested; “I’ll get it for you.”

“Yeah, I can [do that].”

“[Wait a second,] let me get back here. I’ve gotten bigger since I’ve been out there. …You got to go (turn) more. You got to go more [left].”

“Yup,” I agreed, as my right arm was confined above the flight controls. “[But] There’s something keeping me from going more.”

“Okay, let me see if I can’t [reach around]. …Okay. Your Primary Water is OFF,” as I turned the lower, right, forward corner of my PLSS to where he could reach it.

“LMP’s Water is OFF,” I repeated for Mission Control.

“Now you’re going to have to move way over there (against the right side], so I can get the hatch.”

“Yeah, I have to go back the way I was,” I said, having turned to face Cernan so he could get to the PLSS water control.

“Back up against the circuit breakers.”


“Can you see what I’m catching on, upward?” Cernan asked as he tried to reach the hatch handle.

“Yeah. You’re just hitting the rail over there.” The corner of his PLSS hit a protective rail across the right side panel with the Explosive Devices switches, illustrating why there was a protective rail in the first place.

“Okay. Now…see, I can’t… ‘Close and lock forward hatch’, huh?” Cernan said facetiously, quoting the Checklist.

“Yeah. …Can you do it [from that position]?” I asked.

“Yup. Can’t see it. Okay…” Cernan’s problem was that the forward instrument panel projected into the cabin and made it impossible for him to see the hatch handle. It all had to be done by feel.

After a few more seconds, Cernan reported, “Forward Hatch is CLOSED…”

“LOCKED?” I asked.

“…and LOCKED. Which one of those dump valves is [OPEN]? …That one up on top. I can get that one.” We left the upper hatch dump valve open in case any oxygen leak occurred in the cabin during the EVA.

“Okay,” I acknowledged. “Take it easy.” Pressurized, this became a difficult task even for a six-footer like Cernan.

“Oh, whew! …It’s (Overhead Dump Valve) AUTO, and it’s LOCKED.”

“You’re sure? Is that [showing] LOCKED there?” I wanted him be sure the valve indicator showed LOCKED.

“Yes, sir.”


“And it is AUTO,” Cernan confirmed. In AUTO, the valve will open at 5.4 psi to prevent over pressurization.

“Okay, I got a tone and I got an H2O flag,” I reported.

“Roger, Jack; we saw it,” confirmed Parker after a second “okay” signal from Bates.

“Okay, PLSS O2 is not less than 10 percent,” Cernan observed. I gave him a thumb’s up that I was good. He could not see my gauge, but it also was greater than 10 percent. “Okay, let’s go [with the Checklist].”

“ ‘If less [than 10 percent]…Manual Control Repress’,” I read. “Okay. I’ve got to turn [to reach the ECS controls],” I said as I read ahead.

“Let me get out of your way. …Okay. About as far as I can go. …I’ll read it (the Checklist) to you, when you get there…”

“I think part of our problem is this slope [Challenger is on],” I said. “There’s no ‘purchase’– as my Father used to say – no ‘purchase’ [for your feet].”

“Okay, are you ready? Are you ready?”

“Wait a minute.” I need to turn 90 degrees to face the ECS control panel.

“I need you on Cabin Repress – AUTO;” pressed Cernan, “and then on [circuit breaker panel] 16, I need you…”

“Okay, [I’m ready].”

“Cabin Repress – AUTO.”

“Going AUTO.”

“ECS Cabin Repress [circuit breaker] – CLOSED.”

“Okay. Stand by for repress,” I said. With this circuit breaker closed, the cabin will pressurize to 5.0 psi.

“Okay, there’s the Master Alarm,” observed Cernan as the Caution and Warning system could now sense low pressure in the cabin. “Well, I can’t [see the warning light].” He is still facing aft and has to turn around to see the panel with the Caution and Warning lights.

“[It’s] Okay,” I assured him.

“Cabin [pressure] is coming up,” Cernan observed, now able to see the gauges…”


“ ‘Verify cabin pressure increasing. [Then] Press[ure] Reg[ulators] A and B to CABIN’.”

“Now?” I asked, as he had the Cue Card in hand.


“A’s CABIN; B’s CABIN.” These regulators will hold cabin pressure at about 4.8 psi.”

“Okay, and I want your ‘PLSS O2 – OFF’, when I give you a call. That’s when we get greater than 2.5 [psi in the cabin]. …Okay, NOW. We’re at 3 [psi]. Can you get it? If you can’t, I’ll reach it for you.”

“It’s OFF,” I reported. This switch also protruded slightly from the lower, forward, right corner of my PLSS and was easy to reach with my arm now that I could maneuver better facing aft and with the hatch out of the way.

“Okay, ‘Cabin Warning Light – OFF’. Verify cabin pressure stable at 4.6 [to 5.0]. Okay, it’s coming up. It’s 3.6. And you ‘Use the [OPS] Purge Valve to depress [PGA].’ “ The EVA ends, officially, at a cabin pressure of 3.5 psi. The suits will depressurize slowly so, to speed it up, we will open our Purge Valves on the front of the suits.

“What’s our [cabin] pressure?” I asked, as I faced the wrong direction to see the gauges.

“Cabin pressure is 4. Let me just take a look here at 4.6… Okay. I’m coming down. [That is,] Suit’s [pressure] coming down. Cabin’s up to…cabin’s up to 5, Jack. …Okay, it’s 5. It’s (oxygen flow) shut off.”


“Okay, I’m about depressed.”

“So am I,” I added, not meaning the inadvertent pun.

Post-EVA Organization

“ ‘Post-EVA configuration’. ‘White dots out and EVA decals,’ “ Cernan read, meaning to verify the EVA circuit breaker configuration we had when we prepared for EVA-1.

“Okay. Checking. …White dots [out],” I replied.

“Give me a chance to turn around and look,” Cernan stated. “Okay. White dots are out; all the white dots. Okay, they’re all out here. Boy, does this feel good to get soft suits. Oh, my hands.” Not only were our hands tired and fingernails forced off their quick, but Cernan also had bad chaffing in several places and actual blisters between his forefinger and thumb.

“Okay, they’re (white dots) all out here,” I confirmed. Cernan continued reading through the Checklist with me responding after each action.

“Okay, on [panel] 16, Suit Fan number 2 – CLOSED.”

“Suit Fan 2 – CLOSED.”

“And Suit Fan Delta-P, CLOSED.”


“ECS Caution and Water Sep(arator) Component light’s on?”

“Okay, ECS. …I think it’s on. It’s hard to see it.” Actually, these lights should have been OUT by this time in the procedure and probably were.

“Okay. …‘Doff your gloves. Stow on comm panel’. Hallelujah! …Cabin’s stable, Houston. How’s it look to you?”

“Looks good to us, Seventeen,” Parker replied. “And I’d like you to know you had a 7-hour and 12-minute EVA, from 3.5 (psi) to 3.5 (psi).”

“Well, until I get out of this suit, I’m still EVA,” asserted Cernan.

“Roger.” Cernan makes a good point as the real work of EVA-1 started 8 hours and 15 minutes ago with the start of PLSS donning. Physical work would continue for 45 more minutes as we take off, stow and recharge the PLSSs, and then get out of the suits. In addition, before we could begin to rest, 22 and a half hours of mental work would have elapsed since waking up in America.

“Oh, doesn’t that feel good. Whoo!” exclaimed Cernan as he removed a glove.

“And I think it’s a tremendous job for what we might call a ‘challenging’ EVA,” Parker said.

“Bob, that’s no pun,” Cernan replied. “It really was. It really was.”

“I know it, men. I know it.”

“I tell you, I really wish you guys could have been here with us,” Cernan said. “You worked as hard at it as we did, if not harder.”

“Harder, I think…until today,” I added, not willing to give on the point about the immense contributions of the Flight Control Team.

“Ohh! You don’t have a tub of hot water I can soak my hands in, do you?” Cernan moaned.

[Previous Apollo lunar crews had experienced damaged hands and nails from EVA activity. For example, fingernails gradually would be lifted off the quick by repetitive contact with the rubber bladder of a glove finger. This creates a painful bruise under the nail. Also, repeated contact of skin against the bladder, combined with some sweat, causes chaffing. In anticipation of these problems, I clipped my nails a close to the quick as possible and wore thin nylon liners over each hand. This appeared to prevent chaffing but had no lasting preventative effect on the nail bruising. Cernan, however, did not want to wear liners and ended up with increasingly sore hands from chaffing, besides an aggravated nail problem with obvious bleeding. Fortunately, during EVA activities, the resulting soreness faded into the brain’s background, but, when we removed the gloves, pain rapidly re-asserted itself.]

“Wait until that dust hits the sweat of your hands,” Cernan told me.

“Oh, shoot. …I tell you…” My tired fingers could not rotate the lock holding my gloves to the suit.

“Man! Okay, my gloves are off,” Cernan finally could report. “ ‘Doff helmets with visors, lower shades, and stow [helmets] in BRA’. Well, I guess the first thing is to get this thing (helmet) off. Boy, let me tell you [this hurts].”

“And Seventeen – or Jack and Gene – I’m going to turn you over to Joe [Allen] now,” Parker informed us. “I’ll be back in a while.” Allen had the EVA Capcom job during Apollo 15. Parker left to coordinate the compilation of questions we would be asked during an upcoming debriefing period.

“Okay, Bob,” Cernan replied. “Thank you for a job well done.”

“Well, job well done on your side, guys.”

“God Damn,” I said quietly… Oh, I can’t do it (turn the glove locking ring). …How about getting my glove off? Can you handle it?”

“[Sure.]” This may have been the first time during the mission that I actually swore and reflects mental fatigue more than anything else. We had not talked about avoiding profanity, but, subconsciously, we both avoided it as much as possible. Cernan’s use of “Manischewitz” and my “Oh, shoot” illustrated this effort. Other crews made much of the same attempt with varying degrees of success.

“Thank you…”

“Jack, the big one’s out of the way. The one [EVA] we really had to get out there on.” Again, I silently disagreed with Cernan and, indeed, NASA on which EVA would be the most important for Apollo 17. After over 45 years, it is clear that the science return from the actual field exploration and the samples it produced far outweighs even the important data that came from the many experiments we deployed.

“Boy, look at that visor [and its dust]. No wonder I couldn’t see,” Cernan continued as we removed the LEVA covers from our helmets. “Jack, do you read?”


“Okay, I thought you knocked your thing (the RCU comm switch) to AR or to A or something. …There’s a lot of noise in the background. That’s why I was wondering. Need some help?” I guess, as tired as I was, I did not want to talk, unnecessarily.

“ ‘Stow the visors’, huh?” I finally said, looking at the Checklist. “What does it [say]?”

“Yeah, stow them in the BRA.”

“No, but I mean…keep the protective visor down?”

“Keep the protective visor over it,” agreed Cernan, “and stow the whole thing in the BRA… ‘Verify safety on the dump valve.’ I guess I can do that now…”

“Again?” I asked, remembering he had said it was safe when they were closed.

“That one’s (front hatch) still safe. And that one’s (upper hatch) still safe.”

Sniffing the cabin air as I removed my helmet, I said, “Smells like [spent] gunpowder, just like the boys said.” This, all crews agreed on. The gunpowder odor dissipates gradually as dust particles adsorb oxygen and moisture on their surfaces.

“Oh, it does, doesn’t it?” Cernan suddenly noticed. “…Okay, ‘Descent Water valve – OPEN.’ Ohh, boy! I ran out of water out there. I mean the drinking kind.”

“Okay, what’s next?” I asked, still facing the ECS controls.

“Okay, ‘Descent Water Valve – OPEN,’ ” he repeated.

“Okay. Coming OPEN.”

“Okay, and then you get your Purge Valve out.”

“Not too hard,” I said as my Purge Valve popped out as I turned it and it flew across the cabin, ricocheted off Cernan’s suit, and landed in the BRA.

“Good shot,” Cernan said as we both laughed. “If they say anything, just say, ‘I told you so.’ Okay. ‘Remove your purge valve’,” Cernan read unnecessarily, and I laughed again, “…and disconnect your OPS [O2] hose.’ ”

“Yes, sir,” I replied, still laughing, “if I can.”

“I tell you, I haven’t seen anything [like that deep core]… Drilling those holes was a piece of cake until I couldn’t get that core tube out. I thought that hole [was loose material]…”

“I’m glad there were two of us [to get it out],” I added.

“I thought that whole thing [the jack handle] was going to break. It was bending about…at about a…” Cernan searched for a way to describe the bending arc of the handle. We both were a little punchy at this point.

“Well, next time we have to do it,” I joked, implying we would know how even though we would never have the chance.


“Let’s see, ‘OPS’. That must be this one,” I said as I felt blindly below my RCU.

“ ‘Disconnect OPS hose. Connect LM hoses, red to red, blue to blue.’ I don’t want LM [oxygen] hoses yet. I’ll just get on [LM cooling] water right away. …‘[PGA] Diverter Valve – HORIZONTAL. …Suit Iso[lation Valve] – BOTH.’ I’m going Suit Flow, get some flow in this cabin. Okay?”

“Here, you want me to get it (the LM water connection)?” I offered as he was struggling with making the connection.

“I tell you,” Cernan asserted, “my hands, after working at picking up little things.”

“I feel the same way. [But] I think you had the worst of it,” I sympathized.

“Okay, let’s keep as much dust out of those connectors as we can,” Cernan said, which brought a “good luck” laugh from me.

“Wise guy,” he said in return. “Let’s wait on these (oxygen hoses),” that the Checklist said should be connected to the suits at this point. “Okay, your [PGA] Diverter Valve HORIZONTAL?”

“Yep.” This position will put some flow through the suit rather than just the face and help the suits dry once we connected to LM oxygen flow.

“Okay, and if you can get to the Suit Flow, you can go Suit Flow. In the meantime, get your [PLSS oxygen] Fan [and] your [PLSS LCG water] Pump [on the RCU] – OFF.”

“Fan’s OFF. Pump’s OFF.” I confirmed my actions and assumed that Cernan had done the same.

“Joe, are you still reading us down there?” Cernan asked. Allen was much less intrusive than Parker, a characteristic which I preferred.

“Loud and clear, Gene. We’re following you close and…”

“Okay. I just wanted to see whether you were there.”

“Roger. Following you close here.”

“Keep us honest,” I added, concerned about how tired we were.

“Okay, we’re just looking at 5 psi and all the hatches are battened down, and the safeties are on,” Cernan repeated what Mission Control already knew. “You can keep a look at the rest of it for us.”

“Copy that. And we’re seeing the same thing.”

“Okay, disconnect your PLSS water. Now what I do, Jack, is, …I was going to say put your [water hose] cover on, but we’re going to stow those [hoses]. …Okay, [Joe], guess we’ve got to go off the air for a little while. We’re both going “O” [on the RCUs].” Up until this point, we had continued to transmit through the PLSS into Challenger’s VHF system.


“And we’ll get on our LM comm here, shortly,” he added.

“Roger. Check back in.”

“Okay, we got to do some more [comm] switching, yet,” I reminded Cernan.”

“Okay. Connect the… Okay. Now in?” he stuttered as he tried to find his place on the Cue Card. “Audio circuit breakers – CLOSED. Now, both panels, VHA, …[I mean,] VHF A, Receive; B, OFF. Okay. Mode ICS/PTT.”

“Gene, before we do that, we need to open our Audio CBs before connecting to LM Comm.” This was a precaution to prevent any discharge when the connectors touched the suit connection.

“Okay. …Mine is OPEN.”

“Now, ‘Connect to LM Comm.’ ”

“Got it,” confirmed Cernan. And I followed suit. “Okay, Audio breakers – CLOSED, VHF – A and RECEIVE; VHF – B is OFF; Mode – ICS/PTT,”  he repeated.

“Audio breakers – CLOSED, VHF – A and RECEIVE; VHF – B is OFF; Mode – ICS/PTT.”

“RELAY should be OFF,” Cernan continued.


He then went on reading the remaining switch positions for communications and I responded, accordingly. “VHF A TRANSMITTER – OFF.”












“Now we recharge your PLSS before you take it off… ‘Verify DESCENT number 2 OXYGEN greater than 56%’… That’s verified.”

“Hello, Houston. Do you read Challenger on LM comm?” asked Cernan.

“Okay, Challenger,” replied Allen. “This is Houston. Reading you 5-by.”

“Okay, we’re going to go ahead and charge up the… let’s see, …the LMP’s PLSS with oxygen.”

“We copy.” We would get as many pre-sleep tasks done as possible, including recharging the oxygen and water in the PLSSs, replacing PLSS batteries, and cleaning our suit connectors and helmets. This also would give us more room in the cabin as we could stow the PLSSs in their usual spots.

“Okay, Jack, show me your back, and I will connect the oxygen line to your PLSS.”

“How’s this?”

“That’s good …Okay, now we wait four minutes. I started my stopwatch…”

We both took this opportunity to rest, rehash the day, and drink water from the water gun.

“Gene, Your hands look terrible. Let’s see if we have some salve in the First Aid Kit that might help.”

“As soon as we get out of the suits, I’ll take a look,” replied Cernan in a tired voice.

“Well, Geno, I wish we could have stayed on the timeline better with the ALSEP. But we got it done.”

“In spite of the drilling work, it is all out there,” Cernan replied while looking out his window at the distant Central Station and its patch of experiments. “That drilling was something. My hands will never be the same.”

“Did you have the impression that the MOCR had trouble keeping track of what we were doing?” I asked. “We certainly had to repeat ourselves a lot.”

“I didn’t notice it as much as you may have. I was so preoccupied with getting those drill stems and core in the ground… Parker did seem to disappear every once in a while.”

After a pause, I said, “I wish there had been more time at Steno or that we could have worked around Emory. I think we got a good set of samples where we ended up. …A core tube sample would have been nice to have.”

“Navigating turned out to be tougher than I thought it would be, so we lost some time there,” recalled Cernan. “There, that’s four minutes. …The line is CLOSED.”

“Hello, Houston. The recharge on the LMP: 95 percent,” I reported. Later, we would top off both PLSS tanks before going to sleep.

“Copy that.”

“Your turn, Gene. Turn around,” I said as I began to repeat the four minute recharge procedure on Cernan’s PLSS. For a minute or so, I stayed pretty quiet, looking out the window on the previously unmarked and unfamiliar land, now flying the sixth American Flag to reach the Moon.

“Tomorrow ought to be real interesting, if we actually can make it to the South Massif,” I finally mused. “I’m not sure, though, what kind of slopes we will encounter at Hole-in-the-Wall. Wish we had better photos.”

“The old Rover handled real well,” countered Cernan. “I think it can climb anything we come across. …I think that they are a little worried about the battery temps, however. I am really worried about that fender.”

“Geno, I have been through a lot of all night problem solving sessions for other missions, and we always came up with tested and workable solutions. I am sure they will have something for us in the morning.”

“I hope so. That short drive back from Trident and the SEP produced a lot of dust on the Rover.”

“Well, not much we can do until we hear their suggestions. …You are bearing the brunt of the dusting, so let me know if you need some relief.”

“Hello, Houston. This is CDR with a recharge of 93 percent.”

“Sounds good, Geno.”

“Here, let me put the recharge hose back in its place,” I said. “We will need it later to top off the PLSS oxygen.”

“Now, we get to doff the PLSS and OPS,” Cernan noted from the Checklist. “My OPS Actuator is off my RCU. Can you get yours?”


“ ‘Disconnect RCU from PGA,’ ” he continued, “and turn your PLSS PUMP and FAN – OFF.”

“They are OFF.”

“Go to MODE SELECT – O on the comm. switch…”

“We did that already, didn’t we?” I recalled.

“Oh yeah.”

“Now, ‘Disconnect RCU from PLSS’, …and ‘Stow in the LCG…’ That’s in the compartment over here on my side, I think,” Cernan said still with a tired voice, “and my RCU goes in first, …since you will suit up first in the morning.”

“Here’s my RCU.”

“Okay, ‘Disconnect PLSS O2 Hoses’…”

A minute or so later, Cernan said, “Turn towards me and I will release your front PLSS straps. …There, now your PLSS and OPS go on the floor… First you have to stow the OPS oxygen hose and Actuator line.”

As he lifted my PLSS off my back, I turned towards him so I could see the OPS and noted, “My OPS pressure is 6100 [psi]…and the hose…and the actuator line are stowed…”

“Okay. …Let’s see, this PLSS/OPS goes on the floor next to the hatch, [temporarily],” Cernan noted.

“Turn this way, Gene, and I will get your straps.” Cernan did so and then turned around so I could lift his PLSS and set it on the Midstep.

“My OPS pressure is 5900 and hose and line are stowed.”

“Okay, Houston, OPS pressures: LMP, 6100 (psi), and CDR, 5900,” I reported to Allen.

“Thank you, Jack.”

“What’s next?” asked Cernan, seeing I now had the Checklist in hand and had stowed the EVA Cue Card we had referred to up to this point.

“If you can reach in the Purse and get the plugs for our suit connections, we can put those in before any more dust gets in them… While you are in the Purse, get the ‘PLSS Electrical Dust Cap’ out, too.”

“Here you go.”

“Now, we need to replace the PLSS battery and LiOH cartridges,” I said. “Lets do your PLSS first as it is more accessible right now.” Changing out these two items required removing the tool harness and opening the fabric thermal cover on the back of the PLSS, held there by Velcro strips. The battery was then exposed in the lower left and the LiOH canister in the lower right corners. The replacement items I had removed from the EVA-1 Pallet now rested on the Ascent Engine cover.

“Okay,” agreed Cernan. “ ‘Remove the electrical connector and unlock the old battery.’ That was easy. Now hand me a new battery…”

“I don’t know why it makes any difference,” I informed Cernan, “but they want your number 1 LiOH cartridge should be replaced with number 3,” which I handed to him.

“Okay, new battery is in and locked and the electrical connector is re-attached. …Joe, we’re changing a [LiOH] cartridge out in my PLSS,” reported Cernan, as he unlocked and removed the cover of the cartridge container. “We’ve got the [PLSS] battery changed.

“Okay, Geno; thank you.”

“You don’t have a cold something or other, do you?” Cernan joked. A cold beer with some chips really would have tasted good, right then, and would have helped us go to sleep later. I actually discussed this possibility with Slayton back before Apollo 11, but it generated no interest, as you might expect.

“I’m sorry you even mentioned it,” responded Allen.

“We can think about it, can’t we?”

“Mercy, yes,” exclaimed Allen, with one of his most frequently used expressions.

“Okay, your cover is re-Velcroed,” I interrupted. Then, I put the used LiOH cartridge in the canister and it and the used battery in a Jettison Bag.

“Okay. …Hey,” Cernan suddenly asked, “Does Captain America know all about this?”

“Roger, Jack,” Allen answered, again showing how much our two voices sound alike over the communications system. “He does. He’s been fully advised, and his response is [that] he’s sound asleep, now.” Allen’s subtle humor shows through for the first time.

“Yeah. I forgot,” replied Cernan. “He was going to bed before we did today.”

I broke in and asked, “Did he have a good day up there?”

“He surely did. Fine day. And I want to make the observation as a casual bystander: it was a real pleasure to watch your EVA unfold down here.”

“Thank you, Joe,” I replied to my good friend. “I think you are more than a ‘casual bystander’ though.”

“Okay, let’s put your tool harness back on and take the OPS off. The PLSS goes into the recharge station behind you. …Don’t forget to disconnect the OPS antenna lead, there.”

With that, we repeated the battery and LiOH cartridge replacement procedure on my PLSS and placed it on the floor again.

“Hey, Joe,” Cernan called. “We’ve got [batteries] 1 and 3 – or, correction – 1’s replacing the 3’s and 2’s replacing the 4’s on the PLSS.” For some reason, probably because they knew we did the replacements, no one asked for this mistaken jumble to be clarified: 3 replaced 1 and 4 replaced 2.

“We copy,” was all Allen said.

“Joe, we’re in the right-hand column of page 3-3 now,” I reported.


“Boy, I could use some food right now,” I stated emphatically.

“So could I,” Cernan replied, “but I guess we better at least finish weighing and stowing these samples.”

“I can’t remember, but did you get the rock you picked up early on out of your suit pocket?”

“No, but here it is. Shall we put it in SCB-2,” he asked.

“Sure. I’ll get it (SCB-2) from the back [of the cabin]… Here’s a cover for the bag, and I have the scale over here,” I said as I reached into the ETB for a cover bag and got the scale from the stowage compartment under my communications panel.

“Joe, collection bag [SCB] 2 is 16 [pounds],” I reported.

“Thank you…”

“Okay, hand me the SRC,” Cernan requested. “…And the SRC is 32 pounds.”

“Copy; 32 pounds.” The scale is adjusted so that it reads lunar weight in Earth pounds. Without the containers, it would later be determined that we had collected 31 pounds (14 kg) of rocks and regolith.

“You need to CLOSE the Urine Line Heater circuit breaker,” I reminded Cernan, “and put the Urine Line Heater switch to Heater-1.” This switch lay next to the switches for Explosive Devices to the left of Cernan’s station.

“Okay, Joe,” Cernan said. “The Heater is ON for the [urine] dump [line].”

“Okay.” We would soon empty the urine bladders around our hips through a port in the suit and don’t want the line to freeze up before the urine entered its sump in the Descent Stage.

Back to the Checklist, I said, “I guess we are supposed to put the core tube bag on the floor in front of my PLSS.” My PLSS lay in front of the forward hatch. “Next, the SRC goes into the lower SRC compartment behind the Ascent Engine Cover and your OPS goes in the top compartment. Can you reach those? …Here’s SRB-2 – it goes aft of the Engine Cover…”

“Okay, Jack, that’s done. Now, once again verify your circuit breaker panel has the white dots, OUT.”

“Okay, Joe. The circuit breakers are verified. On both [panels] 11 and 16, with the exception of the [urine] line heater.”

“Okay, copy that. Thank you very much.”

“Now, Gene, you get to doff your suit, you lucky guy. But first, empty your UCTA (Urine Collection and Transfer Assembly) and then I’ll get mine so we can turn off the line heater…” Emptying urine from the bladders around our hips required unzipping the diagonal zipper on the front of the suit and connecting the preheated urine line to a port on the bladder. Because the line opened to a lower pressure holding tank in the Descent Stage, the urine flowed quickly through the line.

“Here you go Jack, your turn to dump.”

“Okay, I think that’s all of it,” I said after a minute or so. “You can turn off the heater and pull the Urine Line circuit breaker.”

“Okay, Houston,” I alerted the Flight Surgeon, “we’re going to turn the Biomed – OFF.”


“Checklist says: ‘SUIT ISOLATION [valve] – ACTIVATE OVERRIDE’, that is, I go to ‘SUIT DISCONNECT’. …Next, you open your Audio circuit breaker…and you can get out of the suit!… Let me unzip your front zipper, Gene… How does that feel to be out? …Now, disconnect and stow your Snoopy Cap. …‘Stow LM O2, H2O and Comm lines.’ …Here’s your suit Electrical Connector Cap. …Give me your Cuff Checklist, and I will put it in the Purse.”

“Can you believe that the first three missions had the guys staying in their suits the whole time, including sleeping?” Cernan proceeded to work his head through the neck ring and out the now open zipper. Then, with more contortions, his arms came out of the sleeves, followed by his legs as he sat on the Midstep.

“Okay, Gene, lets wipe down your neck and wrist bearings and all the connectors. Here’s a wipe. …You ready for some zipper lubricant?”

“Yep, let me have it. …You have a jett bag handy to put over my suit legs? …Good, now I can disconnect this LCG, Bio Belt and UCTA. …You have a plug for the LCG connector?”

“Yep. Its in the Purse,” I replied. “Now, ‘Close Inner and Outer Zippers.’ …‘Attach Neckring Cover’. …Let me get that for you. It is in the aft right-hand stowage compartment.”

“Now, let me lay this extra body of yours on the Engine Cover. …Hand me your O2 hoses, and we will see if it will dry the inside before morning. …Wait a minute, Gene, remember to reverse the LM hoses when you connect them to your suit – red to blue and blue to red – and you need to put one glove on. I never remember why the Checklist says to do that…” After all this had been completed, I said, pointing, “I need you to read me the Checklist items starting here.”




“It’s CABIN.”


“SUIT FLOW…What’s next?” I asked.

“I put on my Snoopy Cap and connect to LM communications, again. …First, ‘Connect CWG (Constant Ware Garment) Adapter’ and then I can connect to the LM comm. cable. …My Audio circuit breaker is going CLOSED.”

“Houston, Challenger,” I called. “We’ll both be off the air briefly here as we swing into getting our suits and LCGs off. The Commander presently has his suit off, and I’ll start on mine.”

“Roger, Jack.”

“Jack, while you work yourself out of that suit, I’m going to take off this LCG, Bio Belt, and UCTA and slip into a CWG. Maybe the sweat on those things will be dry by morning.”

“Okay, right behind you, except I guess I keep the Bio Belt on so they can watch my vitals during the rest period.”

“Don’t forget to put the Biomed switch to RIGHT.”

“Got it… Hand me my LCG bag – they should be in your storage compartment.”

I repeated what Cernan had just done and fairly quickly climbed out of my suit, cleaned the bearings, lubricated the zippers and set the whole thing drying with LM O2 flow. My second body now lay on top of his suit. It felt great to have even the suit’s 11 or 12 lunar pounds off my shoulders, although we now had the equivalent of two more people in the cabin with us.

“Hello, Joe; you there?” asked Cernan through LM communications.

“Waiting patiently.”

“Okay, if you’re keeping score, on the bottom of [page] 3-4, we’re both out of our suits. And does that feel good.”

“Roger, Gene. Thank you.”

A couple of minutes later, he reported to Allen, “Okay, I’m out of my LCG, if you want to turn the page (to 3-5).”

“Okay, Geno, and how are your hands doing?”

“Oh, they’re a little tired. On both sides [of the cabin], here.”

“Can imagine.”

“But I think they’ll pull through,” Cernan replied, again in a tired voice, but still not too tired to avoid saying how bad the chaffing was. The rule was: never tell a flight surgeon anything significant.

“Do I read this (Checklist right),” continued Cernan, changing the subject, “that the LMP sleeps on bio tonight? Is that right?”

“Stand by. …Rog; that’s affirm.”

“Okay, so I can take mine off, huh? [I mean, take off] my sensors?”

“That’s affirm, Gene.”

“Okay.” The small sensors and the electrolyte adhesive irritated the skin after several days of attachment. Cernan would have to replace the sensors in the morning, but a few hours of relief would be welcome. We had small, tattooed dots on our chest to show us where to place each sensor. I still have those tattoos, today. “Well, we’ll be up to the EVA debriefing time here very shortly.”


“Joe, do you know how much time has elapsed since we initially charged our PLSSs with O2?” Cernan had looked ahead to see that this could be done about an hour after the initial recharge. This gave the PLSS oxygen tank time to thermally stabilize before topping it off.

“Geno, it’s time to charge them again, if you want to.”

“Okay, I just might pick that [task] up.”

“All righty.”

“We’ll let you know where we are [in the Checklist], though.”


“Say, Joe, I guess the home front was probably listening in. Any one talked to ‘em?…”

Our boss, Deke Slayton, joined the conversation at this question from Cernan. “Haven’t talked to them today, Geno. I haven’t at least.”

“Hello, boss, how are you doing down there?” asked Cernan.

“Just fine,” Slayton replied. “Waiting for you guys to go to sleep so we can do the same…”

“Oh, you don’t have to wait for that (our sleep period)”

“Had a great day up there, guys,” Slayton added.

“It was super from here. It’s quite an experience, Deke, and quite a challenge.”

“Yeah, it looked beautiful from here.”

“I tell you, it makes you feel like you had a good day’s work behind you, though.”

“I can believe that,” Slayton said as he signed off.

“We’re about to give you the rest of the day off, Gene,” Allen said.

“Thank you, Joe. …Hey, it’s 3 o’clock in the…in the morning back there!”

“We know it,” answered Parker, now back for the debriefing.

“It’s 3 o’clock in the morning up there, too!” Slayton inserted.

“Yeah,” Cernan replies with a chuckle, “and we know that too.”

“What do you think they will come up with to fix the fender?” Cernan asked me after this interchange.

“I suspect they will gather everything we have access to, dump it all on a table, and then see what options we have. I would guess that they would want us to tape or clamp one of our cue cards or something like that onto the remaining part of the fender.”

“Yeah,” Cernan agreed. “You know, I can see some packing material we have left around outside that might work.’

“If they want to use tape,” I reminded him, “whatever they come up with can’t have dust on it, that’s for sure.”

“Troops,” Allen began, “while you’re in a listening mood up there, we’re going to be coming at you with a number of items here – not too many –, but the first will be some surface block data. Then we’re going to read up to you a LEVA (Lunar Extravehicular Visor Assembly) cleaning procedure which is fairly simple; a real short geology debrief; a one-line change in the Lunar Surface Checklist.

“And then,” he continued, “we’ve been doing some thinking down here about how to fix the fender. And it’s going to involve – we think, although we’ll work on it while you guys are getting some rest – it’s going to involve using utility [light] clamps, from inside your LM there, instead of tape, to fasten some sort of stiff material onto the Rover in place of the missing fender. And we’ll go with either with one of your cue cards, or possibly with part of insulation that was the flame blanket protecting the Rover during the landing. Or perhaps part of the packing material that was between the Rover wheels and is probably lying on the ground underneath the LM there.”

“Joe, you couldn’t be reading our mind more,” Cernan replied. “We were talking about that, and there is a piece of it (packing material) right outside my window. I saw it after we got in here. Either that (material) or back of a part of a data book or something. I hate like the devil to tear one of those other fenders off. And the reason tape won’t stick is that everything’s got a fine coating of dust, and the only way I could finally get it to stick was to put tape on it (and then) rip the tape off – or take the tape off – which took some of the dust off and then (another piece of) tape would tend to hold it. But it (dusty tape) just won’t hack it up here.”

“Roger, Gene,” Allen responded. “That’s exactly what we’re thinking. And what we’re going to do is run through the fix in a pressure suit a few hours from now. And if it looks like we can do it, and it won’t cost you many more than say 10 minutes, we’re going to have you go through with it. If it takes longer than that, we’re going to go back to the drawing board and see what else we can do here.”

“Well, you know John (Young) and Charlie (Duke) can tell you just how bad it is,” Cernan said. “I wouldn’t have believed it, and I guess I didn’t believe it, or I would have worked a little harder to make sure that fender was going to stay on. But, man, just that short trip back from where we lost it, and we were just covered. The whole…I couldn’t even read parts of the panel on the Rover, plus (there was a lot of dust on) all the battery covers and everything.”

From this interchange and later remarks, it appeared that Cernan worried more about the fender problem than I. I just knew that it would use up exploration time to implement any fix that came out of the forming Tiger Team. I had stayed out of the preceding discussion between Allen and Cernan for that reason and to get more of the Checklist items covered so we could get some food and rest. I remained confident that Mission Control would come up with a workable solution, having been involved in similar short duration Tiger Teams, focused on specific problems we had encountered on previous missions. Any number of ways to approach the fender problem existed. Those on the Tiger Team just had to evaluate the options and pick the best one to recommend when we woke up. There were more of them than us and they certainly were better rested. Our job, I felt, was to get our bodies prepared for EVA-2. It was inconceivable to me that Mission Control would not find a fix, so I decided not to worry about it. Cernan may have felt more responsibility to find a solution, having done the original damage and failed in an immediate fix. He probably even lost sleep over it, but we needed to have confidence in those in a better position to work the problem.

The actual solution[50] primarily came from a key member of our support crew, Terry Neal. Neal served as the Lunar Module Crew Systems Engineer and knew exactly what we had to work with in Challenger. He went to work as soon as Cernan reported the fender loss, and soon, with John Young looking over his shoulder, had a potential solution ready for a pressure suited test of the installation procedures. Unfortunately, rather than Neal, Young got all of the post-flight credit.

“Roger, Gene,” Allen concluded the discussion for now. “What we really need, I think, is some white mud flaps up there.”

This comment seemed to puzzle Chicagoan Cernan, so I said, “That’s a little too old fashioned, Joe.”

“I guess we’d know wouldn’t we?” Allen came back.

“I’m afraid so.” Allen and I both grew up in small towns when having white mud flaps on your well-used Chevy or Ford had been the rage.

“Here’s the oxygen recharge line, Gene.”

“Okay, Joe. Mark. I’m giving my PLSS a second (oxygen) charge right now.”

“We’re watching,” Allen confirmed.

“You should be getting LMP biomed.” I reported.

“And Joe, give me a hack after about 10 minutes in case I forget on that PLSS recharge,” Cernan requested. “Can I do…I can do both the water recharge and the O2 recharge at the same time, can’t I?”

“That’s affirm. …Gene, a caution not to tilt the PLSS while you’re doing that [water recharge].”

“Yeah, good idea,” Cernan agreed. “Mine’s (PLSS) in the station.”

“And, Gene, if you want to get the geology debrief out of the way anytime, just give us a whistle on that,” Allen added.

We were obviously jumping around in the Checklist at this point, depending on Mission Control to make sure nothing was missed.

I called Allen. “Joe, why don’t you give me the block data, and then we can go on that geology debrief?” This would be liftoff times in case we lost communications with Mission Control and needed to leave the Moon as soon as possible for some reason.

“Okay, are you ready to copy?”

“Go ahead…”

“Okay, Jack. Surface block data; lift-off times: T21, 128 plus 47 plus 12; T22, 130 plus 45 plus 44; T23, 132 plus 44 plus 18; T24, 134 plus 42 plus 50; T25, 136 plus 41 plus 28. Over.

“Okay, Joey. 21, reading in order 128:47:12; 130:45:44; 132:44:18; 134:42:50; 136:41:28. And what’s the present rev?”

“Present rev is two-zero, and readback’s correct.” Allen and I both read off the numbers very carefully to make sure of the accuracy of our list of liftoff times.

“Okay, Joe, you can go ahead and fire away at the LMP.”

“Okay, Jack; and, for the geology questions, I’m going to turn the console over to the well-known geologist of the Seyfert Galaxies.” Allen, typically, referred kiddingly to the fact that Bob Parker had started his scientific life as an astronomer.

“Can’t hack it, huh [Joe]?” joining in the kidding and alluding to the fact that Allen had begun as a theoretical physicist. “You’ve all forgotten everything I taught you.”

“I fall on my sword.”

“Okay, guys,” an apparently tired and congested Parker begins,” you want me to address first those to Jack, and then address them to Gene later on, or you guys both want to answer them at the same time?” As will become apparent, Parker probably had been fighting and losing on whether some of the questions were necessary or had already been answered.

“Well, we’re both listening. We can answer them.”

“Okay, the way you asked that, I wasn’t sure. …Okay. Question number 1 concerns the Rover mobility rates. The Rover mobility rates over the short span you drove, which is hardly representative, are slower than people had anticipated. Do you think this is due to visibility, terrain, or what? Do you think you can still hack a 7.3 or 8-kilometer [per hour] average to Station 2 tomorrow?”

“The answer to that is ‘yes’, Bob,” Cernan answered. “I think it’s partly fam[iliarization], but it’s also the fact that we did a lot of circling. We didn’t drive in many straight lines. Trying to find, for the most part, our bearings, and tried to pick some high spots so we could look around. So I think straight-line navigation out in the area we’re going [tomorrow] is going to be easily 8 kilometers [per hour].” Cernan also could have mentioned that tomorrow’s driving outbound would be with the Sun behind us. Although that presented its own challenges in terms of seeing shadows in craters and behind boulders, it should be easier than driving into the Sun with a dusty visor.

“Okay, great. …Another question here, Gene, that you should be able to answer with a simple yes or no. Was there any spillage of the material in the drill core while you were breaking it down?

“Simple ‘no’. …Spillage out of it?” Cernan asked in order to clarify the question.

“Yeah, you know, when you broke the sections,” Parker replied, “did you lose much material out of it?”

“No, sir; I didn’t lose any.”

“Okay, next simple question. When you were drilling the deep core where the neutron probe was, could you see the RTG over the rock?” (see Fig. 10.15 ↑­­).


“Okay. You have any feel for how high the rock is or how low…[rather,] how deep the thing (the top of the neutron probe) was with respect to the RTG? Were you (the probe top) down in a level that was below [the RTG], even without the rocks being there?” This question surprised me, as Cernan and I had discussed and clarified this very point before he began to drill the deep core.”

“Yeah, I think I… Yeah, I was in a slump (depression),” Cernan responded. “There was a ridge between us and the RTG, and I had the rock in a line-of-sight between it and where I put that core (hole). And I’d say the rock was certainly near the ridge and it was – what, Jack? – I don’t know, was it a meter…high for the most part? And it sloped off, and I’d say at least a half a meter high in the line-of-sight from where the neutron probe is to the RTG. Plus, there’s a lot of undulations. …I think it’ll be below the line-of-sight, anyway. (see Fig. 10.15 ↑­­, R1).

“Okay. And a somewhat more general question, here,” Parker went on. “It says, and I’ll read it, ‘We’re still puzzled as to whether there is a dark mantle. Could you say something more about the dark regolith surface?’ There’s a lot of discussion, today, about whether or not it could have been a regolith derived from the intermediate gabbro which you were sampling as boulders.”

“Bob,” I stepped into the discussion. “I think I don’t have too much to add to what I said near the end of the EVA. I do not have an intuitive feeling that the regolith has been derived from most of the boulders that we’re seeing. Because those boulders are fairly light-colored, they look like they’re probably 50 percent plagioclase. It could be that the regolith is derived from some other material that has blanketed the area. I don’t think we have that answer, yet.”

“Okay. I copy that.”

Cernan then began talking, somewhat disjointedly, about things other than the dark mantle. “Bob, the boulders we were sampling, …I think Jack and I both feel that it’s probably… We feel we sampled the subfloor because we saw, in the sides of the craters, where some of these boulders were exposed almost as if they were bedrock down there. In driving back from what we called Station 1, we could definitely see the light mantle out in the area where the potentials of a slide are.”

“Okay, very good,” Parker replied, also in a disjointed fashion. “Yeah, I think that the… At least, it’s a going bet around here that we’re sampling the subfloor when we’re sampling – at least the top of the subfloor – when we’re sampling the intermediate gabbro there, [that is,] the rocks and the boulders.”

Trying to get the discussion back on a more straightforward tack, I said, “It is sort of strange that we don’t see a good population of finer-grained rocks. These rocks [we sampled] look very much like igneous rocks, but they’re considerably coarser than comparable… Well, they’re about the grain size of some of the coarse-grain mare basalts [from other missions] that tend to differentiate [into] the crystallobalite and tridymite [varieties]; but we didn’t see any of the finer-grain versions. If it’s an intermediate crystalline rock, we have not seen any fine-grain equivalents yet. At least not in abundance.” To the geologists, I am suggesting that, so far, we have sampled portions of the Subfloor Material that cooled relatively slowly, and thus were relatively deep, versus what would be expected for the top of a lava flow. If the Subfloor Material were indeed a single cooling unit, the relatively thin, rapidly cooled, fine grained upper zone would have been pulverized into regolith over the billions of years since fluid magma partially filled the valley.

“Okay, I copy that,” acknowledged Parker. …We gather that there’s no color change in the dark-mantle material at depth. In other words, the footprints, wheel tracks, and the rake sample, et cetera, were sort of uniform in color.”

“No, there’s no major change,” I answered, “but looking out the window – and I think I commented on it – the disturbed regolith (near the LM) is darker, oh, I don’t know, maybe by 10 percent albedo, something like that, than the undisturbed surface.”

“Okay, I remember your commenting that when you were walking to the ALSEP, I think, Jack, in fact.”

“That’s right”.

“Okay, during drilling of the heat flow holes, Gene, …was there change in color of the cuttings as they piled up…as you went down in depth? Do you remember any of that?” This is a question I asked Cernan while he was drilling, and he answered in the negative. I began to wonder if anyone had been listening to our transmissions.

“Yeah, Bob,” Cernan said, “both in the core and the heat flow holes, it (the cuttings) really didn’t seem to pile it up like you’re accustomed to [in training] at the Cape, and I guess maybe that’s because I was kicking so much dust around there. But I looked specifically when I cleared flutes and what have you, and I didn’t see any difference in terms of color, texture, or anything else coming up.”

“Okay, copy that. …On the outcrops, you think you see in the North and South Massifs, do they appear to be linear, horizontal or sub-horizontal? Can you see layers, and do you have any feel for the thickness or the attitude or the continuity of them? Can you discuss these outcrops?”

“Bob, going over [the site] yesterday [in orbit],” I began, “I thought I could see a structure dipping off to the southeast, [an] apparent dip anyway, on the eastern side of the South Massif…or [rather the] northeastern side. We haven’t examined them in detail because we were in a rush to get out. We’ll put the binocular (monocular) on them and try to examine that question. There’s nothing very obvious, any more than you can see on the [overhead] photos, that the [rock] ledges were concentrated in the upper portion…in the upper portion of the Massif’s units.”

“Okay. Copy that,” Parker responded. “Here’s a short one that I’ll ask Jack since he did it. Again, I guess we’ll have to prove this [to somebody]. [With regard to] the shade portion of the cosmic ray experiment: the question is, and I repeat – I quote – ‘Are you sure that the detectors, not the decals, were facing out?’ “

“I am, Bob; because I said I was sure, and I called you on (about) it.”

“Roger. I was sure, too, but I had to ask the question.”

“I understand why it was asked, because I did it wrong at the Cape [once]. But that’s why I mentioned it [the orientation] when I deployed it.”

“Roger. …Okay, and we can go and recharge the other PLSS whenever you’re ready there, guys.”

“Okay,” I replied. Cernan disconnected his PLSS from the recharge station, moved it to the Ascent Engine Cover while I handed him my PLSS from the floor. We began the recharge of oxygen while Parker continued with his questions.

“Okay, the next question – which calls for a little bit of discussion – is: The layers of lineaments that you remarked on in the Sculptured Hills, can you say anything about them?”

“Yeah, Bob, I did,” Cernan said. “I think I said…and I commented [that] I’m not sure whether it was the Sun angle or not. …But see, I was not looking at the Sculptured Hills; I was looking back at Bear Mountain, I believe. And, to me it looked like there was some organization that was dipping back to the east, somewhere between, oh, 20 and 25 degrees maybe. And it was very obvious to me. But I’m a little hesitant because of some of this Sun-angle stuff.”

“Okay, I copy that. I gather we didn’t get any 500-millimeters of these lineations, today, right?” Parker asked.

“No, but I think we will,” Cernan replied. “They were on the western side of Bear Mountain back there, and I think I commented that I thought that Bear Mountain is probably what the Sculptured Hills look like.” This possibility will be discussed further Chapter 12 in connection with our visit to Station 8 at the base of the Sculptured Hills.

“Okay, I copy that. …Is there a scar above the Light Mantle material – in other words, [above] the slide? Is there a scar above that (Light Mantle) on the South Massif? Can you see anything up there to indicate that it might have come off of there?”

“Nothing obvious yet, Bob,” I said. The topographic map created from the laser altimeter of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), however, shows a hint of a depression in the slope above the light mantle that may constitute such a scar and some south-looking obliques from LROC on LRO show that the area upslope from light mantle is remarkably dark. This is in sharp contrast to what we could see and photograph with the lighting angles during the time we were in the valley. (see Fig. 10.33 ↑­­).

“Okay, copy that… On the way back to (from) Station 1, you described a small crater with light material on the bottom. Can you say anything more about that crater?”

“Do you remember saying anything like that, Gene?”


“Bob, I don’t remember saying that,” I finally answered. “Gene doesn’t either.”

“Okay. You talked about something that was ‘light’. I don’t remember; I thought it was a boulder, but the question’s about a crater.”

“You’re right. You’re right,” I said, finally figuring out what they were referring to. “There was a large zap pit in a boulder that was very white. It must have been – the crater for the zap [pit] – must have been 2 centimeters diameter anyway. And it had about that, oh, maybe 3 centimeters [more] worth of crushed minerals around it that gave it a white – very bright white – appearance.” (see Fig. 10.36 ↑­­, inset)

“Okay. Well that was indeed a small crater,” agreed Parker, “so I guess the question was right. …Let me change the mode [of questioning] here and ask you three or four simple ALSEP questions again, to verify for various people exactly what happened. Just to make sure that they’re clear on it. Jack, when you were laying out the geophone leads, you mentioned and asked me if it was all right if the geophone leads crossed one another, if there was EMI (electromagnetic interference) problems. And so that made people wonder whether or not it was possible the geophone positions were reversed; i.e., geophone 1 was laid out in geophone 2s’ direction, et cetera.”

“No, that was just a Geophone 4 problem,” I assured him. “The geophones are in the right directions.”


“Geophone 4 fell out of the module and rolled under one of the other lines,” I continued, “or vice versa, I don’t know (remember) which, and it’s crossing one of the other lines. Geophone 1, I think.”

“Okay, no problem. …When you went to put the LSPE antenna in the heat flow socket, you weren’t able to do it at first; was it because of there was a lot of dust in there?”

“No,” I responded, “I think it was the same old problem of that piece of aluminum foil or whatever it is going down in the socket and jamming briefly.”

“Okay, I copy that. Did you clear out that foil when you did it, or did you just push it on through?”

“I forced it.” Clearing the foil would have been nearly impossible with EVA gloves on.

“Okay. …When you taped the SEP solar cells down, how much of them did you cover with tape?” Again, they had not listened or read the continuous transcript being produced in the Science Support Room.”

“We taped the back,” I reminded him.

“Ah, very good thinking. …And, Geno, a question for you on the Rover when you parked it. Do you have any feeling for the roll angle it was parked at the LM – The roll angle?”

“Yeh, let me look [out the window],” Cernan said. Bob, it’s pretty flat. If I had to guess, I’d say zero. And you can bias that by a degree or so, but basically zero.”

“Okay, is the pitch scale still on it, or did it fall off yet?” The pitch scale had fallen off on Apollo 16.

“No. I was going to comment on that. It’s still there.”

“Okay, very good. Okay, when you went to Station 1A – we’re calling the new Station 1 ‘Station 1A’ – were the blocks there as well-filleted as those near the LM and the ALSEP? Do they all look the same?”

“Bob, all the boulders had filleting to a slight degree,” I commented, “but not an extreme amount. I think it no more than what is being caused by the redistribution of the darker, fine-grained regolith [by micro-meteor impact].”

“Okay, I copy that.”

“Bob,” Cernan interjected, “if I had to answer that question, I’d say ‘yes’. ‘Yes’ that the boulders are filleted over there about like they are over here. That would be my impression.”

“All right. …Is there any indication that the fillets are directional, in other words, that the fillets are heavier on one side than the other?”

“Bob, [I] haven’t noticed that,” I said, “but that is a good reminder [to look].”

“Okay, I copy that. …Do you have the feeling that some boulders are more rounded…than others? Apparently this looked this way in some of the TV pictures.”

“Some of the big ones that are just barely exposed above the regolith looked quite well-rounded,” I remarked. “Most of those (boulders) around the craters are subangular. I got the impression that it’s just purely a function of how long the same [rock] material’s been exposed; but some of the big boulders, like the one out near the geophones, is (are) quite angular in part and quite rounded on other parts. It’s quite variable.”

“Okay, do you want to say any more about that boulder (Geophone Rock)? Did it seem to have more or less the same lithology, in addition to the variation in vesicle size that the other rocks in the vicinity of the ALSEP, and the other rocks out at Station 1 had?”

“No, it’s very comparable to the ones that we saw at Station 1, as a matter of fact.”

“Okay, I copy that.”

“Both types of rocks were there,” I added, “both variations [in vesicle size are present]…”

“Do you have a feeling for where the big blocks in the LM/ALSEP area came from? Do you think they were from Camelot, like [some have] been saying?”

“Don’t have an idea yet,” I replied. “I’m really not sure.”

“Okay, and as you drove along on the traverse from the SEP to Station 1, did the size of the small craters with blocky rims vary? In other words, what we are looking for here is the variation in the thickness of the dark mantle?” Parker’s question related to the using of the presence or non-presence of blocks on the rims of small, relatively young craters as a way to estimate the depth of local regolith. For example, if a 10 m-diameter crater had blocks only at its rim, the impacted regolith would be about 2 m deep.

“I can’t answer that one yet, Bob,” I deferred again. The short durations of the first Rover traverses and getting used to navigating in strange terrain made it difficult to do much systematic observation.

“Okay,” Parker said as he approached the end of his list of questions. “Let me sum up by saying that – I guess as I indicated before – our best guess is that the vesicular crystalline rock – probably gabbro, or I think you’ve been calling it intermediate basalt or gabbro – forms at least the upper part of the Subfloor. I don’t think we’ve been close enough to a large crater rim to say what [forms] the deep sections of the Subfloor…; but we think that this intermediate gabbro, vesicular rock – at least [the] medium-grained, perhaps coarse-grained rock – forms at least the upper layer of the Subfloor. Over.”

“Yeah, Bob,” I replied. “I think that’s pretty safe, right now. Once again, I’m surprised that it’s [the Subfloor basalt-gabbro] as coarse as it is, that being the upper portion of a plains (lava) unit.”


“Say, Bob, driving back from Station 1,” Cernan interjected in a tired voice, “where we did some of our circling and what have you, we didn’t have time to get off, but we did see down in – I don’t remember whether it was in the slopes of some craters, or down on the slope itself – but I’d say several meters down below the mantle where there was what we almost agreed to might be bedrock (on) at least a deeper portion of the subfloor.” This observation made a good point; but the local regolith would be less than the thickness of the combined regolith and ejecta above the apparent bedrock.

“Okay, well, I think we’ll get to it tomorrow,” added Parker. “I think I might just give you a clue to our thinking for tomorrow. But, I don’t think we’ve seen, or done, anything today that is going to make us change very much from the nominal station of…, [that is,] EVA-2 plans. The fact we didn’t get to [to] the [planned] Station [one] – to the EVA-1 [Station] at the large boulders at Emory – is probably going to mean that Station 5 might be shifted a little bit to the boulders on Camelot. But certainly Station 5 on the subfloor and also…Station 10 have assumed a higher priority than they originally had. Other than that, I don’t think we’ll see an awful lot of changes to EVA-2. Over.” Parker spoke as if he were very tired during this review.

“Okay, Bob. I think that’s safe,” I agreed. “I suppose somebody’s thinking about the possibility of going down to Emory – maybe you just said that – going down to Emory late in EVA-3.”

“I think at the moment they’re thinking primarily about going to Station 10,” countered Parker, “and not going to Station 1.”

“Going to Station 1 on either EVA-2 or EVA-3 would use up a lot of valuable time,” I told Cernan. “I hope they just forget that idea. We should be able to sample a lot more Subfloor before we finish, and we probably have a sample of Dark Mantle from near Steno.”

“Yeah,” replied a Commander obviously ready for some sleep.

“Okay, Jack,” Allen came back on. “I’ve wrested control [from the astronomers]”

“Some of your experts,” I said, following my line of conversation with Cernan, “might think about what they might expect to happen to…[that is,] what the regolith [developed] on a fine-grain pyroclastic would look like.” Now that we had seen and sampled the Dark Mantle unit mapped above the Subfloor, I wanted Muehlberger, Swann, and others of the Field Geology Team to think some more about what we should look for the next day that might be evidence of volcanic pyroclastic eruptions. I was trying to imagine what might be unique about new regolith developed on pyroclastic debris deposited on old regolith. Events at Shorty Crater superceded these thoughts, and I never received any follow-up on this suggestion.

[One aspect of a regolith containing significantly more fine-grained material than average would be to subdue new crater formation as more impact energy was adsorbed by fine-grained ash with a higher bulk surface area to volume ratio than normal regolith. I have referred to this as the “Dunkirk Effect” in reference to the added protection the sands of Dunkirk gave the British Expeditionary Force early in World War II, as they were being evacuated while under heavy aerial bombardment by the German Luftwaffe.]

“Okay,” Allen replied. Parker added, “We’ll tell them. I’ll see you tomorrow, guys.”

“Sleep well, Bob,” I told Parker.

“Okay, I’ve just got one question, Bob,” Cernan inserted, hurriedly, “before you run off. Did the TGE perform okay with the (TV) camera on?”

“As far as I could tell, Geno, it did. As a matter of fact, I didn’t see the gravimeter people afterwards to talk to them. But as far as I could tell, it did. We had one funny reading back at the LM very early when it was on the ground, which I’m at a loss to understand right off. But other than that, everything seems to have gone very well. The readings were quite uniform in fact, which is what makes me think they went well.”

“Okay, well, I’d like to leave it [on the Rover],” Cernan responded. “You know it’s a little change in my thinking, [but] I’d like to leave it on the Rover if we can; although it’s a piece of cake to take off. It’s very difficult to lean over that far without losing your balance and take your readings and what have you. So if we can leave it on [the Rover], it would be far better.”

“Roger. I was noticing that. And I also noticed the only three-ball (three-zero) reading we got was when it was on the ground.”


“Gene and Jack,” Allen said, changing the subject, “if you’ll get Lunar Surface Checklist to [page] 3-5, I’ve got an easy change to read up to you.”

“Go ahead,” I said, grabbing a pencil and the Checklist.

“Okay. After the line: ‘Empty ETB As Follows,’ change the first line which reads, ‘B&W Mag Golf In Forward RHSSC’ to read, ‘B&W Mag Hotel In LCG Compartment’. And then go into the next column, which begins, ‘Stow In ETB’. Change the second line, which reads: ‘LMP’s Camera With B&W Mag Hotel’ to ‘LMP’s Camera With B&W Mag Golf’. That’s Mag G, ETB. Over.”

“Got you. Hotel – stow it; and go out with Golf.” I had used most of Magazine Hotel and Golf was unused.

“That’s got it.”

“And I’ve got a LEVA-cleaning procedure which maybe you could pencil in there,” Allen continued. “It’s an easy three-step procedure. And I’ll go ahead and read it step-by-step here. …Step number 1 is: ‘Tap LEVA base to remove loose dust’. Step number 2 reads: ‘If excess dust still remains, use a towel from the LM tissue dispenser, which has been wetted with water, and gently wipe the visor from the top to the bottom; that is, in one direction. And fold this towel after each wipe to keep the contact surface clean’. There’s a note: ‘Take care not to wet the inside – that is, the concave surface – of the gold visor’. And the last step is: ‘Allow it to air-dry’. And that’s it on the LEVA cleaning…”

“You get all that, Jack?” Cernan asked.


“Let’s recharge the feed water in the PLSSs before we eat. …You want jump ahead and read the procedure, and I’ll start with mine?”

“Sure…but you need to close the URINE LINE HEATER circuit breaker and turn on the LINE HEATER for me? We need to drain the PLSS H2O to be sure of a full recharge.”

“Okay, Jack, there you go, but you need to wait five minutes until the line heats up…”

“Let’s go as far as we can while it heats. …If you are ready, …PLSS AUX H2O – OPEN.”


“ ‘Connect the WASTE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM line to the PLSS H20 DRAIN.’ ”

“Connected. …While we wait for the line to heat up, can you reach the food packets from the [EVA-1] Pallet?”

“Gene, I’m glad you are ready to have some chow,” I said. We had not eaten since just before starting to prepare for the first EVA.

“You bet! I could eat a horse.”

“No horses, …but here you go. …Let’s see,” I said, taking the food packets off the Ascent Engine Cover and reading off the labels of the packets identified by red and blue labels for Commander and LMP, respectively. “I guess you are going to have turkey and gravy and…spaghetti and meat sauce and…pork and potatoes for three main courses. …You get four brownies for desert, …and orange beverage along with tea to wash all that down. …I get to enjoy pork and potatoes and turkey and gravy as main courses, caramel candy for desert, and the old orange beverage and tea to drink.”

While we began our dinner, I asked Cernan, “Gene, do you get the impression that some of our comments during the EVA are not getting through?”

“Seems that way. Some of our questions…had not been answered in real time.”

“Yeah. Maybe there is just too much going on in the MOCR and Parker and Zedekar just get saturated. I hope that the air-to-ground is getting recorded.”

“Okay,” Cernan interrupted our dinner, “that’s a good five minutes on the heater. …WMS – OPEN.”


“LM DESCENT H2O – OPEN. …Here, I can get that valve over here. …Now, ‘Connect LM H2O. …Verify Condensate Flow through WMS sight Glass.’ “

“We have flow.”

“Okay, start your watch, and we fill for 5 minutes. …I’ll tell you, Gene, we made a lot of people happy, getting that deep core out of the ground. The core stem went in easily enough, but some rocks must have rotated and bound up on the flutes as you started to jack it out. The regolith is so tightly packed that they (rocks) probably had no place to move, easily.”

“Yeah, but it cost a lot of skin off my hands and tired my arms out.”

“Hopefully, some rest will make you feel like new,” I said, optimistically, while thinking of my own forearm fatigue. “Say these dinners taste pretty good, but then anything would taste ‘pretty good’ right now.” We ate quietly for several minutes, while gazing out of Challenger’s windows at the remarkable valley and mountain scene around us.

“There, that’s five minutes. …What’s next?”

“ ‘Connect WHS to PLSS PRIMARY VENT for 10 seconds…’ ”

“Okay. …That’s ten.”

“ ‘Connect WHS to PLSS AUX VENT for 10 seconds.’ ”

“…Ten seconds.”

“WHS VALVE – CLOSE, …and stow the WHS hose.”

“CLOSED, …and stowed.”



“ ‘Disconnect LM H2O Hose.’ ”


“ ‘Verify HIGH PLSS O2 FILL – CLOSED.’ ”


“ ‘Disconnect and Stow LM O2 Supply Hose and Stow PLSS Connector Covers.’”

“Done. …So, my PLSS is charged with water, so let’s connect yours, now.”

“Here it is,”

I said as I moved my PLSS up to the MidStep for easier access and we repeated the feed water recharge procedure.

“Okay, Joe, we got that [LEVA procedure],” Cernan reported. “The Commander’s PLSS has had its final [feed water] charge, and we’re in the process of working on the LMP’s PLSS [recharge] now. I guess there’s no way to verify how much water you’ve got in there except to go through the procedure.”

“That’s right, Geno. And we think you fellows have earned a good meal now, and maybe you can take the rest of the day off.”

“Okay, Joe. Thank you.”

With the recharge of my feed water, I had Cernan turn the URINE LINE HEATER – OFF and pull the URINE LINE circuit breaker. Before doing so, we both took advantage of the opportunity to use the urine line and funnel for their designated purposes.

I next emptied the ETB, now stowing the used B&W Mag H in the LGC compartment and putting Mag G on my Hasselblad. The used color Mag A went into the Aft, right hand side stowage compartment and the EVA-1 maps were removed and stowed. Then, I made sure that the ETB contained items we would need for EVA-2: Cernan’s Hasselbald with color Mag C, my Hasselblad with B&W Mag G, three additional B&W Mags (I, J, and K), one more color Mag (D), the EVA-2 maps, and, finally, a polarizing filter.

Okay, Joe,” I called, as I continued to eat, “just to bring you up to date on [film] magazines. Mag Bravo has seven-seven frames [exposed].”


“Mag Hotel has eight-three frames [exposed].”

“Roger. …Jack, on your mag Hotel, we’d showed you all the way up to a hundred and eighty three at one time on that. Did you miss the “one”, this time?”

“I may have clipped it out, Joe. One-eight-three, yes.”

“Okay, yeah, you did clip it out, clipped it out cleanly,” Allen added, getting in a dig as I clearly had not clipped the transmission. “So thanks for verifying that.”

After finishing off the major portion of my dinner, I said to Cernan who also was feeling much better, “I’m going to try to get some 500 mm photos of the Massifs.”

My voice sounded increasingly congested, apparently a reaction to inhaling lunar dust for the first time. “Joe, Mag Romeo has two-one frames. And I took a few, random, and probably not very good 500-millimeter (pictures) of the North and South Massifs.

“Okay, Jack. Thank you.” For some reason, maybe because of having to work around Cernan to shoot out his window, the pictures of the South Massif are blurred and not useful. The North Massif photos, taken out my window with the long lens barrel resting on its crossbar, turned out much better. The tracks show the typical irregular pattern caused by the bouncing and wobbling motion of the boulders as they careened done the massif slope. The images also show a very strong pattern of cross slope lineaments with an apparent dip of ~30° to the east that may be the consequence of differences in internal structure due to flow structures or times of deposition in the massif. (see Fig. 10.43)

Fig. 10.43. Boulders, boulder tracks, and strong, cross slope lineament patterns on the south-facing, lower slopes of the North Massif. I took the photograph with the 500 mm lens on a Hasselblad camera. The track on the left (black arrows) leads to Turning Point Rock (Chapter 12 – Traverse to Station 6) at bottom right. (NASA Photo AS17-144-21991).

“And, Joe, verify that you want Mag Charlie substituted for Mag Bravo on the CDR’s camera.”

“Stand by.”

“Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s a good idea, Joe. Don’t let everybody work all night on that one.”

“Jack, I think the answer to that is ‘yes’ – per the checklist, by the way. That’s the way we show it in our checklist here.”

“Roger. We probably have about 100 frames left on Bravo, so we’ll just keep track of that.”

“Jack, it’ll go out later on, Bravo will. Apparently, it’s kind of your backup magazine there.”


“The reason being, we want to start that EVA-2 with a fresh mag.”

“I wonder how Ron’s SIM-Bay experiments are working out?” Cernan said between bites on a brownie.

“Parker said something earlier about the Lunar Sounder working out,” I answered, “but he never got back to us on any results.”

“Hey, Joe,” Cernan called, “Bob told us earlier [that] the Sounder looked like it was working…”

“Gene and Jack, just a general comment on that,” Allen replied. “SIM-Bay’s cooking along beautifully. We are getting Lunar Sounder data. It looks quite interesting. We’ve only got one or two annoying problems with it, but nothing major, …that is, [problems] with the SIM bay, not with the sounder. One of them (the problems) being that we have our usual mapping camera extend problem. And we’ve just decided to leave it extended, and it will serve it right if it gets a little contaminated with an occasional (water/urine) dump. And I guess there’s a minor problem with one of the big antennas. It didn’t pass its retract check properly, so I guess it may have to be jettisoned when we do a plane change. Otherwise, things are working beautifully. Over…”

“That sounds great; I’m glad to hear that.”

“I’m not sure I want all this candy,” I told Cernan. “Want to trade one or two for one of your brownies? …I sure wish we had some hot water here like in America.

“Any of that food that you want to save? He replied. “If not, I will put all this debris in the Jettison Bag for tomorrow.”

“Let’s see now, we’ve finished eating, more or less, so, according to the Checklist, I have to remove the ‘Forward End of ISS’ (Interim Stowage Assembly (netting)… That’s done. Now, we can fill the Drink Bags… Want to hand me two Drink Bags from the Food Compartment? …Thanks… The filled bags go into the Boot Compartment until we suit up, tomorrow… What’s next on the Checklist?”

“Well, we have already done the oxygen and feed water recharge, so, I guess the next thing is the PRESLEEP items.”

“That’s good to hear.”

“Houston, Challenger,” I called.

“Go ahead.”

“We’re sort of around [1:]27:30 in the checklist, more or less,” I said, “and you want the Power Amp and TM (Telemetry) to HIGH?”

“Ready when you are,” replied Allen. “…And, troops, are you raiding the pantry up there yet?

“Yes, sir. We’ve been hitting it as hard as we can,” I answered. “…Okay, Power Amp is going to PRIMARY and PCM (Pulse Code Modulator) to HIGH.”

“Okay, I have the POWER AMPLIFIER to PRIMARY and the TELEMETRY PCM to HIGH. …You need to PROCEED on the DISKEY, ENTER VERB 96 so they can uplink the current state vector for America.

“And, while we’re waiting for Gene to look at his computer, shall I do the battery management?”

“Jack, stand by – until we get the high bit rate – on that battery management. And, a reminder, are you still recharging that PLSS number 2 there, or have you taken that off the line?”

“No,” I responded, “we’re through with that. We caught it with 10 minutes [recharge].”

“We’ve got high bit rate now,” Allen called a few moments later. “Go ahead with battery management.”

“Okay, we’ll play it [in parallel]. …Gene’ll work the computer, and I’ll work the batteries…” With the POWER/TEMP MONITOR switch in the ED/OFF position, I reported, “And the ED (Explosive Devices) volts are 37.2, both batteries.”

“Thank you.” The voltages were unchanged since landing, always good news. If there were a trend downward, we would be thinking about leaving Taurus-Littrow early. The two ED batteries provided redundant power to the explosive devices that would sever connections between the Ascent and Descent Stages at the same time the Ascent Engine ignited to take us back into lunar orbit.

“Okay, you got P00 (‘pooh’) and DATA, Joe,” declared Cernan, as he brought the PINGS back to life, temporarily, so that Mission Control could evaluate the health of the computer and load new state vector data for America.

“Thank you…”

Before putting up my hammock, and with the ED battery voltages already checked and reported, I ran through battery switch positions on panel 14 to my right so that the LM Controllers and I could make sure that all the batteries on which we depended were performing as expected. These consisted of Descent Batteries 1-4 and a fifth battery designated “LUNAR.” Ascent Batteries had been checked soon after touchdown (Chapter 9).

I first went to Descent BAT 1 on the POWER/TEMP MONITOR switch, turned BAT 1 to ON and verified that its Talkback was gray, that is, the battery connection was good.[51] Moving the POWER/TEMP MONITOR switch to BAT 2, I verified that the LUNAR BAT’s feed to the LMP bus gave the expected barberpole on its Talkback when its switch was placed in OFF/RESET and then that BAT 2 gave a gray barberpole in its ON position. BAT 3 went to OFF/RESET and its Talkback was verified as barberpole. LUNAR BAT’s feed to the CDR bus was verified by going to its ON position with its Talkback as gray. Next, BAT 4 went to OFF/RESET, giving a barberpole Talkback. Finally, using the POWER/TEMP switch, I checked that the volts on the CDR, LMP and AC electrical buses, reading off the gauge in the upper left of panel 14, were about 30 as expected. While I went through this full sequence, Thorson at the LM CONTROL Console in the MOCR watched the telemetry readouts on the batteries and the buses. Everything checked out as normal.

“Okay, Joe, the battery management’s complete. How does the rest of the spacecraft look, what you can see of it [by telemetry]?”

“Okay, Jackie. Copy the battery management complete, and the Challenger’s looking beautiful from down here.”

“I guess you don’t have telemetry on dust yet, huh?” I asked facetiously, as I was getting increasingly congested. As soon as I took my helmet off, the little bit of very fine dust – certainly less that a micron in diameter – began to affect the turbinates inside my nose. Most of the discomfort disappeared by the next day and was totally gone by the time we left the Moon.

[It turned out that I may have been the only lunar astronaut that noticed some respiratory reaction to the dust; however, a flight surgeon assigned to retrieve our dusty suits from the Command Module after splashdown had such a severe such reaction that he had to be relieved of that duty.]

“Negative on the dust,” responded Allen. “And the computer’s yours. Sounds like you’ve got hay fever sensors, as far as that dust goes.”

“It’s come on pretty fast just since I came back [in the cabin]. I think as soon as the cabin (LiOH canister) filters most of this out that is in the air, I’ll be all right. But I didn’t know I had lunar dust hay fever.”

“It’s funny they don’t check for that,” joked Allen, since that would have been impossible. “Maybe that’s the trouble with the cheap noses, Jack.” He is referring to noses that came with the astronauts instead of being built to strict NASA specifications.

“Could be. I don’t know why we couldn’t have gone and smelled some dust in the LRL (Lunar Receiving Laboratory) just to find out.” This actually would not have worked as the nasal reaction was to the activated dust. This characteristic gradually would disappear with exposure to cabin gases.

“Goodness knows we’ve tried,” said Allen, harking back to the dust spills during the quarantine of the Apollo 11 crew.

“Okay, I’ll wait for your cue on the rest of it (referring to ending the telemetry dump)…”

“Okay, Jack,” Allen called. “Telemetry – PCM Low, and your POWER AMP – OFF, please.”


“Challenger, this is Houston requesting [S-Band] Down-Voice Backup, and then configure your ECS for sleep at your convenience.”

“Okay, we’re working in that direction,” I replied. “Down-voice Backup, NOW.” Placing the S-BAND VOICE to DOWN VOICE BACKUP to provide two modes of voice communications with Mission Control through the rest period. Cernan had already put the PNGS computer in idle by hitting PROCEED after entering VERB 37 and NOUN 06.

“Okay, Jack and Gene. And, unless you’ve got questions, or we can help you out in some way, we’ll say good night to you.”

“[Maybe its] good morning. …The reason I say that, Joe, it’s going to be another 30 minutes or so anyway – probably more like an hour – before we actually close our eyes…”

“Roger, Gene. You think you’ll be able to use about 30 more minutes of sleep tomorrow morning? What’s your wish on that?”

“Yeah, I’d like to try to get the full amount (of sleep),” Cernan replied. “As I recall, tomorrow’s a little bit flexible. If we get out 30 minutes late, it doesn’t really hurt us.”

“Sounds like a good way to proceed,” Allen agreed. “We’ll give you the full 8 hours tonight, Geno. And you do have a time pad in there, so it shouldn’t hurt a thing.”

“Yeah, the big object tomorrow is to get out, and get back in, and the same thing with the next day. I don’t think we’re really that time critical either day that we can’t go an hour either way. And I think we’d prefer to have the full 8 (hours of rest) tonight.” Cernan may have felt more tired than I. I hated to spend any more time sleeping on the Moon than necessary.

“Roger. We couldn’t agree with you more. And if there’s any way we can be helping you now, just speak up,” Allen offered.

“No, you’ve been doing fine. We just got a little housecleaning we got to do that’s going to take us… I expect we’ll be an hour late, Joe.”

“Okay,” Cernan said to me after looking at the Checklist, “we get to start ‘configuring’ for sleep.”

“That’s sounds like a good idea,” I replied, getting more anxious to rest by the minute. “What do you need over here with the ECS valves?”

“Well, we reverse the LM O2 hoses on the suits – red to red and blue to blue. Hope that really works to dry these suits out.” As Challenger’s oxygen supply was very dry, the suits should be the same, tomorrow.


“SUIT FLOW,” I said.

“Verify that CABIN GAS RETURN is AUTO.”


“Also, verify that the SUIT GAS DIVERTER is PUSH to CABIN.”


“Now, we need to put the other glove on each suit so it will dry, too,” Cernan concluded, “and we need to clean the dust off the LEVA visors before we put the hammocks in place.”

“Hey, Joe,” I called.

“Go ahead.”

“[There was] some ambiguity in your statement. You want us to use a tissue or a towel on that visor cleaning?”

“Jack, they call it [in the note they gave me]…they call it a ‘towel’, but it comes from the LM tissue dispenser, so I would interpret that to mean ‘tissue’.”

“Well, you and I are thinking alike. But could you ask back there and find out?” I did not want to scratch the visors, if possible.

“Asking right now. …Jack, our guess was right on the cleaning of the visors there. We’re to use a tissue from the LM tissue dispenser. And I’ve got an unrelated question for you. We’re chasing [the cause of some apparent excess] water usage down here. Could you tell us, please, if you refilled the drink dispensers in the suit, already? Over.”

“That’s affirm. We have.”

“Okay. Thank you.”

“We have been drinking quite a bit of water, Joe,” I added.

“Okay. Thank you.”

“Gene, let’s take a look at that chunk of basalt we brought in in the SRC. I’ll get the hand lens out.”

“Okay. …Good idea to do that before we put the hammocks up. …Here you go.”

A few minutes later, I asked, “Houston, Challenger. How do you read?”

“You’re loud and clear. Go ahead.”

“Joe, I just took a quick look with the hand lens at that large rock I brought in, and I don’t think there’s much more than 30 percent plagioclase. I’ll go back to it being more of a standard basalt or gabbro. It has a fair proportion of ilmenite in it, I believe. There’re some bright (shiny black) platelets – in the vugs or vesicles – of ilmenite. Now it could be that, if the soil is very glassy, that it’s developed the darker color from the contribution of the mafic minerals (magnesium- and iron-rich) to the glass, particularly the iron and the titanium.” This was another alternative hypothesis to consider for origin of the dark mantle. More mafic minerals in the subfloor rocks would create darker impact glasses. These darker glasses might have produced a darker local regolith than elsewhere on the Moon. These thoughts about a darker glass inched closer to an explanation for the nature of the dark mantle.

“Roger, Jack. Copy that. Sounds interesting.”

“All it means is that we don’t yet know the origin of the dark mantle.”


“That rock [also] looks like I may have, by accident, sampled one side of one of the parting planes that I mentioned. [The rock sample is] very, very sharply bounded on one side by a planar surface.”

“Roger, Jack. Say again. You may have sampled by accident the side of what?” Joe may have not been listening to that part of the EVA transmissions on this subject.

“No, I mentioned [this] when I sampled it. It (the sample) had one very planar surface, and looking at it more closely, it looks like one of those parting planes that I talked about even earlier in the EVA.”

“Ah, Rog. Copy. ‘Parting planes’, thank you.”

“That’s like a parting shot [for the night].” I put the rock sample away in its bag and began to get the hammocks out of storage. Allen, however, began one of our nerdy back-and-forths.

“Of which you’ve been known to have an overabundance, by the way.”

“Oh, I didn’t know that,” I answered.

“All us fast finishers do.”

“That’s right. You got to figure out what race you’re in though, first, Joe.”

“I’m sure that Sherlock Holmes would have a suitable quotation to answer that, Jack. I just can’t come up with it right now… Something like ‘therein, Watson, lies the problem’…”

“That, in itself, is a ‘singular event’,” I countered. “ ‘But the dog did nothing in the nighttime’, Joe.”

“ ‘And when you’ve examined all possibilities and eliminated all but the very improbable one, then the improbable one must mean the truth.’ “

“I told you he (Holmes) was a good geologist,” I reminded Allen, “one of the experts on the soils of London …Not to mention their relationship to all kinds of brands of tobacco.”

“Jack, maybe we better get off onto another vein. Surgeon’s giving me a puzzled look over here. We may be getting in trouble.”

“You want to talk about ‘veins’? Now that’s something an old ore geologist could talk about all night.”

“Ore geologists and cardiologists alike.”

“Thou strikest for the jugular.”

“Jack, we running a contest down here to come up with a reply to that.”

“We’re getting a request, many requests, for a weather report. We’ve been missing your weather reports and wonder what the weather is on the Moon right now.”

“Well, the Moon’s weather is clear and sunny. It’s only scattered clouds, and all of those seem to be attached to the Earth.”

“Except for a cloud of dust around the right rear wheel of the Rover, we’ve noticed.”

“Yeah, but that (could) dissipates in the morning warmth… Believe it or not, Joe, I’m going to be off the air, briefly.”

“So far, I don’t believe that.”

“Well, if you don’t get any heartbeat for a little while, don’t worry.”


Fig. 10.40. Positions of the hammocks in the LM interior as described in text (No helmets. We were in our CWGs). Mine at bottom slopes slightly feet downwards over my PLSS towards the port side, which I face. The instrument panels and windows are above me at right. Cernan is above me, feet forward. (NASA Publ.[52]).

“Here’s your hammock,” I said to Cernan as I took both hammocks out of storage. “I’ll put mine up first.” The four corner straps of my hammock attached to the stowage compartments to the left and right of our normal standing positions in the cabin so that it stretched through those positions and in front of the instrument panels and over my PLSS on the floor. An inboard center support strap went under our communication cables and attached to the vertical handhold on Cernan’s instrument panel and to a curved rod protecting the ECS controls. The outboard center support strap attached to the ISA fittings on the left and right of the cabin.

After I lay down, Cernan worked over me to attach his forward corner straps to the front instrument panel and his head corner straps to the aft bulkhead. His right hand center support strap attached to the horizontal handhold on the ECS panel. After sitting down on the hammock, he attached his left hand center support strap to the PLSS donning station.

Finally, Cernan called Allen, saying, “Joe, we’re asleep. There’s no need to answer. See you in the morning.” Cernan took off his Snoopy Cap, leaving me on watch, as my head was right next to the communications panel.

The last 21 hours had been productive, instructive and tiring. I went to sleep almost immediately, listening to the re-assuring hum of needed fans and pumps that kept alive both Challenger and the last men to visit the Moon in the 20th Century.

(to be continued)



    1. In the quoted dialog and annotations directly related to the Apollo 17 Mission, black = normal mission activity and commentary with quotes from the NASA transcript of air to ground communications; red = spacecraft anomaly discussions; blue = Earth observations; brown = Lunar Module Challenger discussions; green = Public Affairs Office transcripts or news updates from Mission Control; and purple = lunar observations. Other than their use in the names of spacecraft, italics = onboard recorder transcripts (Data Storage Equipment or Command Module DSE and Data Storage Electronics Assembly or Lunar Module DSEA), and turquoise = probable dialog derived from the author’s memory.

      In addition, parentheses (-) in the text are used to clarify the meaning of a preceding word or phrase. The use of text inside brackets [-] provides completion of an unspoken transcript thought. Brackets [-] enclosing letters or words quoted from a checklist complete abbreviated words to clarify what the word in question means. They are also used for parenthetical emphasis of explanatory paragraphs set off from regular text by double indents.

      The CMC (Command Module Computer) commands are referred to occasionally in text as Pxx (Program i.d. number), Nounxx (data specification), or Verbxx (action number) to be carried out by the CMC when entered by hand.

    2. One purpose of this book lies in the integration of field observations with post-mission examination and analysis of the returned samples. In this effort, the author has drawn heavily on the extraordinary compilation work of the Lunar Field Geological Experiment team (Wolfe, E. W., et al., 1981, The Geologic Investigation of the Taurus-Littrow Valley: Apollo 17 Landing Site, Geological Survey Professional Paper 1080, US Government Printing Office, 279 p.) as well as that of the Lunar Receiving Laboratory (Meyer, C., 2008, Lunar Sample Compendium, and the Lunar Sourcebook (Heiken, G. H., et al., 1991, Lunar Sourcebook: A users guide to the moon, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 736 p). Specifically for Apollo 17 regolith samples, the work of Korotev and Kremser (Korotev, R. L., and D. Kremser, 1992, Compositional variations in Apollo 17 soils and their relationships to the geology of the Taurus-Littrow site, Lunar Planetary Science Conference 22, p.275-301) also has been used extensively. For the reader interested in details about specific samples, these references key information to the official sample numbers given in the text of this book. Some sample data may not have been included in these four compilations. In that case, specific references to the relevant literature are given. Also, Original Rb-Sr age determinations made prior to 1985 have been reduced by factor of 0.979 due to a subsequent change in accepted time constant for 87Rb decay (See Heiken, et al., 1991, Lunar Sourcebook, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, Table 6.9, p. 229). Similarly, 39-40Ar ages determined prior to 2008 have been increased by a factor of 1.0065 (See Kuper, K. F., et al., 2008, Synchronizing rock clocks and Earth history, Science, 320, p. 500-504). It should be noted that, before the advent of laser microprobe enhanced targeting of very small portions of samples, isotopic ages of impact melt-breccias risked including isotopic contributions from clasts of significantly older ages than the crystallized melt. (See Mercer, C. M., K. E. Young, J. R. Weirich, et al., 2015, Refining lunar impact chronology through high spatial resolution 40Ar/39Ar dating of impact melts, Sciences Advances, 1, DOI 10.1126/sciadv.1400050.) Earlier, less precise age determinations, therefore, probably are biased, toward older ages.

    3. Recent geological summaries can be found in Schmitt, H. H., N.E. Petro, R.A. Wells, M.S. Robinson, B.P. Weiss, C.M. Mercer, Revisiting the field geology of Taurus-Littrow, Icarus, 298, p. 2-33 (2017); and Schmitt, H. H., N.E. Petro, R.A. Wells, M.S. Robinson, B.P. Weiss, C.M. Mercer, Apollo 17 Exploration of Taurus-Littrow: Summary of major findings, LPSC 49, Abstract 2961. Chapter 13 of this book goes into detail about the geology of the valley of Taurus-Littrow and its implications for broader issues of lunar history.

    4. Unlike other Apollo missions, the official name of the Apollo 17 assembly of experiments was “Extended Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package”; however, we continued to call it the “ALSEP”, or “Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package”. The official name change took into account that some hardware changes had extended the “design life” of the package.

    5. Taylor, L. E, et al., 2001, Lunar mare soils: Space weathering and the major effects of surface-correlated nanophase Fe, Journal of Geophysical Research, 106, E11, p. 27,985-27,999.

    6. Peters, C.M., L.A. Taylor, S.K. Noble, L.P. Keller, B. Hapke, R.V. Morris, C.C. Allen, D.S. Mckay, and S. Wentworth, 2000, Space weathering on airless bodies: Resolving a mystery with lunar samples, Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 35, p. 1101-1107.

    7. Schmitt, H. H., G. Lofgren, G. A. Swann, and G. Simmons, 1970, Introduction, Proceedings of the Apollo 11 Lunar Science Conference, p. 11-13.

    8. Lunar Roving Vehicle Operations Handbook, 1971, April 19, LS006-002-2H, NASA Contract NASB-25145.

    9. Field, Paul, via Eric Jones, 2014, Personal communication.

    10. Shoemaker, E.M., E. C. Morris, R. M. Batson, H. E. Holt, K. B. Larson, D. R. Montgomery, J. J. Rennilson, and E. A. Whitaker, 1968, Television observations from Surveyor, in Surveyor Project Final Report, Part II, JPL Technical Report 32-1265, NASA SP-146, p. 21-136; Heiken, G. H., D. T. Vaniman, and B. M. French, 1991, Lunar Sourcebook, Cambridge University Press, pp 285-356; Taylor, L. A., D. S. McKay, W. D. Carrier III, J. L. Carter, and P. Weiblen, 2004, The nature of lunar soil, Abstract, Space Resources Roundtable VI, Golden, November 1-3, p. 46.

    11. Lunar Roving Vehicle Operations Handbook, 1971, April 19, LS006-002-2H, NASA Contract NASB-25145, Figs. 1-32, 1-33, pp. 1-56, 1-57.

    12. McKay, D. S., et al., 1991, The lunar regolith, in G. H. Heiken, et al., editors, Lunar Sourcebook, Cambridge University Press, p. 318.

    13. Schmitt, H. H., et al., 1970, Introduction, Proceedings of the Apollo 11 Lunar Science Conference, p. 5-20.

    14. Schmitt, H. H. and B. L. Sutton, 1971, Stratigraphic sequence for samples returned by Apollo Missions 11 and 12, Abstracts for the 2nd Lunar Science Conference, 2, pp. 197.

    15. Talwani, M., G. Thomposon, B. Dent, H-G Kahle, and S. Buck, 1973, Traverse Gravimeter Experiment, Apollo 17 Preliminary Science Report, NASA SP-330, p. 13-1 to 13-13.

    16. Jones, E. M., editor of the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal, (click here to read at time mark 118:01:49), reports that “Journal Contributor Brian Lawrence adds, ‘I love Jack’s pun. I started thinking about where the original saying ‘No man is an island’ and guessed maybe Shakespeare, and then discovered it was John Donne. It was published in 1624 and is from ‘Meditation 17’, in Donne’s Devotions upon Emergent Occasions and Seuerall Steps in My Sickness: ‘No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were. Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.’ ” The fact that this quote came from “Meditation 17” is pure coincidence.

    17. In the mid-1960s, Gene Shoemaker, Gordon Swann, many others, and I had wanted lunar film cameras to record the camera orientation, pointing direction, and distance to the image center automatically, but this proved to be beyond the capabilities of the company that NASA chose to build what was called the “USGS Surveying Staff”.

    18. Wells, R. A., L. F. DeChant, B. P. Weiss and H. H. Schmitt, 2018, Photodocumenting sample sites by close-range photogrammetry on a new crewed mission to the Moon, LPSC 49, Abstract 1085.

    19. Simmons, G., et al., 1973, Surface Electrical Properties Experiment, Apollo 17 Preliminary Science Report, NASA SP-330, p. 15-1 to 15-14.

    20. Walker, R. M., et al., 1973, Cosmic Ray Experiment, Apollo 17 Preliminary Science Report, NASA SP-330, p. 19-1 to 19-19.

    21. Apollo 17 Mission Report, 1973, §15.4.4, p. 15-31 “The [center] socket on the removal tool can engage the nut on the dome before the pins on the tool lock into the recess[es] in the dome. The LMP did not verify that the pins were locked. In this configuration, rotating the tool clockwise will rotate the nut on the dome. A 90-degree rotation of the nut releases the dome retaining straps, as noted by the crew. This release allows the dome to rotate when the tool is rotated another 60 degrees, thus disengaging the threaded dome/cask interface. However, with the pins not locked into the dome recess, the dome could be cocked but not withdrawn. The dome was easily wedged off the cask with the hammer. The sequence can be duplicated with either broken pins or by incomplete insertion and locking of the pins.”

    22. SNAP = Systems for Auxiliary Nuclear Power.

    23. Woolum, D. S., et al., 1973, Lunar Neutron Probe Experiment, Apollo 17 Preliminary Science Report, NASA SP-330, p. 18-1 to 18-12; Burnett, D. E., and D. S. Woolum, 1974, Lunar neutron capture as a tracer for regolith dynamics, Proceedings of the Fifth Lunar Conference, 2, p. 2061-2074.

    24. Berg, O. E., et al., 1973, Lunar Ejecta and Meteorites Experiment, Apollo 17 Preliminary Science Report, NASA SP-330, p. 16-1 to 16-9; Berg, O. E., et al., 1974, Preliminary results of a cosmic dust experiment on the Moon, Geophysical Research Letters, 7, p. 289-320; Berg, O. E., et al., 1976, Lunar soil movement registered by the Apollo 17 cosmic dust experiment, in H. Elsässer and H. Fechtig, editors, in Interplanetary Dust and Zodiacal Light, Springer-Verlag, NY, p. 233-237.

    25. Giganti, J. J., et al., 1973, Lunar Surface Gravimeter Experiment, Apollo 17 Preliminary Science Report, NASA SP-330, p. 12-1 to 12-4; Giganti, J. J., et al., 1977, Lunar surface gravimeter experiment, Final Report, University of Maryland, Department of Physics and Astronomy, NASA Technical Report N-77-18981, NASA-CR-151203, 25p.

    26. Langseth, M. G., Jr., et al., 1973, Heat Flow Experiment, Apollo 17 Preliminary Science Report, NASA SP-330, p. 9-1 to 9-24; Langseth, M. G., et al., 1973, Surface brightness temperatures at the Apollo 17 heat flow site: Thermal conductivity of the upper 15cm of regolith, Proceedings of the Fourth Lunar Science Conference, 3, p. 2503-2513; Langseth, M. G., et al., 1976, Revised lunar heat-flow values, Proceedings Lunar Science Conferences 7th, 3, p. 3143-3171.

    27. Langseth, M. G., Jr., S. J. Keihm, and Chute, J. L., Jr., 1973, Heat Flow Experiment, Apollo 17 Preliminary Science Report, NASA SP-330, p. 9-1 to 9-24.

    28. Berg, O. E, F. F. Richardson, and H. Burton, 1973, Lunar Ejecta and Meteorites Experiment, Apollo 17 Preliminary Science Report, NASA SP-330, p. 16-1 to 16-9.

    29. Kovach, R. L., et al., 1973, Lunar Seismic Profiling Experiment, Apollo 17 Preliminary Science Report, NASA SP-330, p. 10-1 to 10-12; Kovach, R. L., and J. S. Watkins, 1973, The structure of the lunar crust at the Apollo 17 site, Proceedings of the Fourth Lunar Science Conference, 3, p. 2549-3560; Kovach, R. L., and J. S. Watkins, 1973, Apollo 17 seismic profiling: Probing the lunar crust, Science, 180, p. 1063-1064; Cooper, M. R., et al., 1974, Lunar near-surface structure, Reviews in Geophysics and Space Physics, 12, p. 291-308; Talwani, P., et al., 1974, Implications of elastic wave velocities for Apollo 17 rock powders, Proceedings of the Fifth Lunar Science Conference, 3, p. 2919-2926; Cooper, M. R., and R. L. Kovach, Energy, frequency and distance of moonquakes at the Apollo 17 site, 1975, Proceedings Lunar Science Conference 6th, p. 2863-2879.

    30. Hoffman, J. H., et al., 1973, Lunar Atmospheric Composition Experiment, Apollo 17 Preliminary Science Report, NASA SP-330, p. 17-1 to 17-9; Hodges Jr., R. R., et al., 1974, The lunar atmosphere, Icarus, 21, p. 415-426.

    31. “In like Flynn.” See Jones, E., Apollo Lunar Surface Journal, Apollo 17, First EVA, 119:43:13 (click here).

    32. NASA, Brown, D., 2013, Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE), Press Kit.

    33. Berg, O. E., et al, 1976, Interplanetary Dust and Zodiacal Light, 233-237; Stubbs, T. J., et al., 2005, A dynamic fountain model for lunar dust, Abstract 1899, Lunar and Planetary Science Conference 37, Houston.

    34. Farrell, W. M., et al., 2007, Complex electric fields near the lunar terminator: The near-surface wake and accelerated dust, Geophysical Research Letters, 34, L14201, doi:10.1029/2007GL029312; O’Brien, B. J., 2011, Review of measurements of dust movements on the Moon during Apollo, Planetary and Space Science, 59, 14, p. 1708-1826.

    35. Siegler, M. A., J-P. Williams, J. L. Molaro, and D.A. Paige, 2018, Temperatures At The Taurus-Littrow Valley: Legacy Of The Apollo 17 Heat Flow Experiment And LRO Diviner, LPSC 49, Abstract 2491.

    36. Siegler, M. A., J-P. Williams, J. L. Molaro, and D.A. Paige, 2018, Temperatures At The Taurus-Littrow Valley: Legacy Of The Apollo 17 Heat Flow Experiment And LRO Diviner, 49th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, Abstract 2491.

    37. Jones, E. M., 2012, Apollo 17, The First EVA, Apollo Lunar Surface Journal, read here at time mark 120:27:11.

    38. Schmitt, H. H., Petro, N., Wells, R.A., Robinson, M.S., Weiss, B.P., Mercer, C.M., 2018. Apollo 17 exploration of Taurus-Littrow: Summary of major findings, LPSC 49, Abstract 2961.

    39. Is/FeO maturity indexes are a measure of the ratio of nanophase free iron to the FeO content of a lunar regolith sample (Moris, R. V., 1978, The surface exposure (maturity) of lunar soils: Some concepts and Is/FeO compilation, Lunar Science Conference 9, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Supplement 10, p. 2287-2297). Maturity indexes can be found at Meyer, C., 2012, The Lunar Sample Compendium at this URL and in Heiken, G. H., et al., 1991, Lunar Sourcebook: A users guide to the moon, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p. 320. For generalized comparison of different soils, the author has defined the following breakdown in maturity indexes:

      Relative Maturity                                                                 Is/FeO Maturity Index

      Low 0-20
      Low-intermediate 21-40
      Intermediate 41-60
      Intermediate-high 61-80
      High 81-100
    40. Gutzmann, W. H., 1959, Army Exploration of the American West, Yale University Press, 509 pp.

    41. See, for example, reports in the Proceedings of LPSC 3-8, Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston.

    42. Kawamura T., et al., 2008, The Lunar Surface Gravimeter as a Lunar Seismograph, Abstract 2054, LPSC 39, Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston.; Kawamura, T., et al., 2009, Re-determination of deep moonquake sources using the Apollo 17 lunar surface gravimeter, Abstract 1653, LPSC 40, Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston.

    43. Heffels, A., M. Knapmeyer, J. Oberst, and I. Haase, 2017, Re-evaluation of Apollo 17 Lunar Seismic Profiling Experiment data, Planetary and Space Science, 135, p. 43-54.

    44. Urbancic, N, R. Ghent, C. I. Johnson, et al., 2017, Subsurface density structure of the Taurus-Littrow Valley using Apollo 17 gravity data, Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 122, pp. 1-14, 10.1002/2017JE005.296

    45. Haley, E., 1884, While Strolling through the Park One Day Willis Woodward & Co., NY. A video clip posted by NASA of the singing on the Moon is given here. The brief addition of the Apollo 16 crew at the end, of course, is anachronistic.

    46. Kovach, R. L., et al., 1973, Lunar Seismic Profiling Experiment, Apollo 17 Preliminary Science Report, NASA SP-330, p. 10-4 to 10-6.

    47. Wells, R., 2018, Apollo on the Moon in Perspective: 3D Anaglyph Composites, Vol. 1, Apogee Books, Burlington, Ont., 156 pp. (see also the large collection of 3D photos on the included DVD).

    48. Speyerer, E. J, R. Z. Povilaitis, M. S. Robinson, P. C. Thomas, and R. V. Wagner, 2016, Quantifying crater production and regolith overturn on the Moon with temporal imaging, Nature, 538, 215-218.

    49. O’Brien, B. J., 2011, Review of measurements of dust movements on the Moon during Apollo, Planetary and Space Science, 59, 1709-1726, doi.10.1016/pss2011.04016.

    50. Jones, E. M., 2012, Apollo 17, The First EVA, Apollo Lunar Surface Journal, read here at time mark 126:18:08.

    51. Talkbacks are small, square visual indicators that show either barber pole and gray depending on the status of certain critical mechanisms, e.g., valves and latches. Position sensors on the mechanisms are tied to the talkbacks by independent electrical circuits. If the window shows yellow diagonal stripes (barber pole), then the condition indicates an abnormal or temporary status. If the window shows a solid gray appearance, then the condition of the mechanism is normal or as commanded.

    52. Apollo Operations Handbook Spacecraft, LMA790-3-LM, Fig. 1.6, p. 1-7 (1970).


Copyright © by Harrison H. Schmitt, 2018. All rights reserved.