Apollo 17 Mission
Surface Operations Overview
|Video Clip of Surface Operations (1.0MB in AVI format)|
Apollo 17 Traverse Map
First Extravehicular Activity
During the first EVA, the lunar rover and the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package were deployed. Lunar samples, including a deep core tube, were collected in the vicinity of the lunar module, and a brief, 3.5-kilometer geologic traverse was made. Some difficulties in deploying the experiments package were addressed by shortening the planned geologic traverse. The EVA lasted 7 hours and 12 minutes.
Activities at the Lunar Module Site
|Testing the Rover
Deployment of the lunar rover on this mission was accomplished with only minor difficulties. The lunar rover performed well throughout the mission; however, the right rear fender was accidentally knocked off during the first EVA and had to be repaired at the start of the second EVA.
|Deploying the TV camera
As with all of the missions using a rover, the TV camera for this mission was mounted on the rover itself. This enabled the camera to transmit live coverage of lunar surface activities wherever the astronauts went, not just in the immediate area of the landing site. The antenna mounted on the rover transmitted the coverage and also allowed the camera to be controlled from Earth.
Astronaut Eugene Cernan, Apollo 17 commander, salutes the deployed U.S. flag on the lunar surface during the first EVA.
|The Lunar Surface Cosmic Ray Experiment Deployment
The Lunar Surface Cosmic Ray Experiment was deployed on the lunar module during the first EVA. It was retrieved on the third EVA and returned to Earth.
Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package Deployment
The Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP) was deployed approximately 185 meters west-northwest of the lunar module. The experiments on this mission were the Lunar Seismic Profiling Experiment, the Heat Flow Experiment, the Lunar Surface Gravimeter Experiment, the Lunar Ejecta and Meteorites Experiment, and the Lunar Atmospheric Composition Experiment. A deep core sample and a Traverse Gravimeter Experiment measurement were also taken during the ALSEP deployment. Deployment went normally for the most part; however, extra time was required to level the central station and antenna and to retrieve the drill cores.
The Geologic Traverse
Other EVA Activities
Additional sampling and photography were performed between the rover deployment and the flag deployment. Five additional traverse gravimeter measurements were taken near the lunar module (three at the beginning of the EVA and two at the end). During the return from Station 1 to the lunar module, a second seismic explosive charge was deployed.
Second Extravehicular Activity
The second EVA was a 20.4-kilometer geologic traverse to regions south and west of the landing site. Four major sampling stops were made, along with eight minor sampling stops. At the end of the EVA, some time was spent trying to solve a problem with the Lunar Surface Gravimeter. The EVA lasted 7 hours and 37 minutes.
The Geologic Traverse
Surface Electrical Properties Site
This traverse started out with a stop to activate the Surface Electrical Properties Experiment. The crew also collected additional samples and performed additional panoramic photography while at this site.
Station 2 - Nansen Crater
Station 2 was located at the foot of South Massif near the southeast rim of Nansen Crater. South Massif is part of the rim of the Serenitatis impact basin and the massif was uplifted at the time of the basin-forming impact, so the rocks that form the massif must be older than this impact. A landslide in this region put boulders from high on the massif into reach of the astronauts. The primary purpose of this stop was to sample these boulders, which represent material formed very early in the Moon's history that possibly came from deep within the Moon's crust. In addition to collecting samples, the astronauts performed panoramic and documentary photography and made traverse gravimeter and electrical properties measurements.
Station 2A was located about 600 meters northeast of Nansen Crater. Originally planned as sample stop number LRV-4, it was decided to take an additional traverse gravimeter measurement to check the gravity gradient between the South Massif and the valley. While off the rover, the crew collected four samples.
Station 3 - Lara Crater
This station was located about 50 meters east of the rim of Lara Crater. Although time was limited, the crew took a traverse gravimeter measurement, gathered samples including a double-length core tube sample and a rake sample, and performed panoramic and 500-millimeter photography. This station is along the Lincoln-Lee Scarp, which is an example of a mare wrinkle ridge. Wrinkle ridges are common in the lunar maria, but this is the only such ridge studied at close range during the Apollo program.
Station 4 - Shorty Crater
At Station 4, on the south rim crest of Shorty Crater, the astronauts made traverse gravimeter and electrical properties measurements; gathered samples, including a trench sample and a double-length core tube sample; and performed documentary and panoramic photography. This stop was made to investigate the possibility that this crater was actually a volcanic structure. The famous "orange soil" was discovered at this site. Shorty is actually an impact crater and the orange soil is an older volcanic deposit.
Station 5 - Camelot Crater
Station 5 was located within a block field on the southwest rim of Camelot Crater. Activities at this site included a traverse gravimeter measurement, sample gathering, and documentary and panoramic photography.
In addition to the activities noted, the crew deployed three explosive packages for the Lunar Seismic Profiling Experiment, one at station LRV-7 and two at unnumbered sites west of the lunar module. Two additional traverse gravimeter measurements were made near the lunar module. At the end of the EVA, the astronauts also releveled the Lunar Surface Gravimeter.
Third Extravehicular Activity
The primary goal of the third EVA was a 12.1-kilometer geologic traverse to regions north and east of the landing site. Four major sampling stops were made, along with four minor sampling stops. Results from several experiments were also recovered for return to Earth. The EVA lasted 7 hours and 15 minutes.
The third extravehicular activity (EVA) began at 5:25 p.m. EST on December 13. Again the emphasis was on sampling. The major objective was to sample several large boulders near the base of the North Massif. Tracks along the massif showed that these boulders had rolled down from high on the massif, allowing the crew to sample massif material that would otherwise have been inaccessible. As with South Massif on EVA 2, material in the North Massif was sampled in the expectation that it would contain material that formed very early in the Moon's history and deep in the crust. Four major sampling stops and four minor sampling stops were made on the traverse. One additional stop, Station 10, had been planned but was eliminated to allow more time for some unfinished mission tasks. The EVA lasted 7 hours and 15 minutes, ending at 12:40 a.m. on December 14. The traverse covered a distance of about 12.1 kilometers.The Geologic Traverse
Surface Electrical Properties Site
As with EVA 2, the third EVA began with a stop at the Surface Electrical Properties Experiment site. The crew activated the experiment, but attempts to make additional measurements with this equipment during EVA 3 were unsuccessful.
Station 6 - North Massif
Station 6 was on the south slope of the North Massif, approximately 250 meters north of the break in slope between the valley floor and the massif. Here the crew made a traverse gravimeter measurement, gathered samples, including a single-length core tube sample and a rake sample, and performed documentary, panoramic, and 500-millimeter photography.
Station 7 - North Massif
This station was located at the base of the North Massif, just above the break in slope between the valley floor and the massif. The crew gathered samples and performed documentary and panoramic photography at this location.
Station 8 - Sculptured Hills
Station 8 was near the base of the Sculptured Hills, south of Wessex Cleft and about 4 kilometers northeast of the lunar module. Activities at this site included two traverse gravimeter measurements; sampling, including rake and trench samples; and documentary and panoramic photography.
Station 9 - Van Serg Crater
A number of activities were performed at this last station on the geological traverse. An explosive charge for the Lunar Seismic Profiling Experiment was deployed. Two more traverse gravimeter measurements were taken. Samples, including a trench sample and a double-length core tube sample, were collected. The astronauts also performed documentary, panoramic, and 500-millimeter photography. Finally, they removed the data storage electronic assembly from the Surface Electrical Properties Experiment receiver.
Four additional sampling stops, denoted as stations LRV-9 to LRV-12 on the traverse map, were made to obtain additional samples between the main traverse stops. Two of these were made between the Surface Electrical Properties site and Station 6, one was made between Stations 7 and 8, and one was made between Station 9 and the lunar module.
Other EVA Activities
The astronauts also performed several additional tasks during this EVA. Early in the EVA, they recovered the Lunar Surface Cosmic Ray Experiment plates. They also made three additional traverse gravimeter measurements at the lunar module. More photographs were taken and the last two explosive charges for the Lunar Seismic Profiling Experiment were deployed near the lunar module. At the end of the EVA, the Lunar Neutron Probe Experiment was retrieved and the lunar rover parked at Cochise Crater. As part of the final close-out, rock samples for distribution to other nations were collected and a plaque commemorating the Apollo landings was unveiled.