Lunar and Planetary Institute

Apollo 14 Mission

Science Experiments - Charged Particle Lunar Environment Experiment

The Suprathermal Ion Detector Experiment (large box) and the Cold Cathode Gauge (small box to left of Ion Detector).The Charged Particle Lunar Environment Experiment was deployed on Apollo 14. It measured electrons and both positively and negatively charged ions near the Moon's surface with energies between 50 and 50,000 electron volts. Less energetic ions were studied by the Suprathermal Ion Detector Experiment and more energetic particles were studied by the Cosmic Ray Detector experiment. One interesting result of this experiment is that it recorded the impact of the Apollo 14 lunar module ascent stage, which was crashed onto the Moon after the crew had returned to lunar orbit. The ascent stage impact occurred at a distance of about 66 kilometers from the Apollo 14 landing site and there were about 180 kilograms of unused rocket propellant on board. Two distinct clouds of material from this impact were recorded by the Charged Particle Experiment. The two clouds were about 14 and 7 kilometers across and had expanded away from the impact site at velocities of about 1 kilometer per second. This expansion velocity is similar to that measured by the Suprathermal Ion Detector for other impacts on the Moon.

Experiment Results (NSSDC)

Additional Activity Details (JSC)