Lunar and Planetary Institute






Apollo 17 Mission


Science Experiments - Traverse Gravimeter

Apollo 17 astronaut working on the Traverse Gravimeter ExperimentThe Traverse Gravimeter Experiment was performed on Apollo 17 to accurately measure variations of the gravitational acceleration in the vicinity of the Taurus-Littrow landing site. The purpose of the experiment was to obtain information about the subsurface structure at the landing site. Gravity measurements were made at 12 of the traverse stops on the three EVAs, and the results were radioed by the crew back to Earth. Interpretation of these observations also requires knowledge of the topography of the landing site. Topography information was obtained from analysis of stereo photography taken in lunar orbit. The results of this experiment indicate that the mare basalt layer in the vicinity of the landing site has a thickness of 1 kilometer. This value is slightly lower than the 1.4 kilometers measured by the Lunar Seismic Profiling Experiment.