Apollo 14 Mission

Overview | Landing Site | Surface Operations | Photography | Experiments | Samples

Surface Operations Overview

Video Clip of Surface ActivitiesApollo 14 liftoff from lunar surface video clip (3 MB in AVI Format)

During their 33.5 hours on the Moon, the Apollo 14 crew performed two extravehicular activities (EVAs) totaling over 9 hours on the lunar surface. These EVAs covered a total traverse distance of 3.5 kilometers and involved collecting lunar samples at 13 locations, deploying or performing 10 experiments, and examining and photographing the lunar surface. The following map of the landing area shows where these activities took place.

Apollo 14 Traverse Map

Apollo 14 Traverse Map

First Extravehicular Activity | Second Extravehicular Activity

First Extravehicular Activity

First Extravehicular Activity The first EVA began at 9:42 a.m. EST, February 5, 1971, 5 hours and 23 minutes after landing. This was 40 minutes later than planned because of a problem configuring the communications system. A color television camera mounted on the LM descent stage provided live coverage of the descent of both astronauts to the lunar surface. This EVA lasted until 2:30 p.m. EST, a total of 4 hours and 48 minutes, which was 30 minutes longer than planned. The total distance covered by the astronauts was about 550 meters.
The Apollo 14 Lunar Module
Apollo 14 Lunar Module An excellent view of the Apollo 14 lunar module (LM) on the Moon, as photographed during the first Apollo 14 extravehicular activity (EVA) on the lunar surface. The astronauts have already deployed the U.S. flag. Note the Laser Ranging Retroreflector at the foot of the LM ladder.

Collecting the Contingency Sample

The contingency sample was taken 8-10 meters from the lunar module near a small crater. The sample was scooped into a bag and transferred to the LM. The contingency sample was collected to ensure that some material from this landing site would be returned to Earth in the event that an emergency required a rapid, unplanned end to the EVA.

Activities at the Lunar Module Site

Traverse Map

S-Band Antenna Deployment

Deployment of the S-Band AntennaThe S-band antenna was easily unloaded from the LM and presented no problems in deployment, except that the netting that formed the dish caught on the feed horn and had to be released manually.


The Television Camera Setup

Deployment of the Televison CameraThe TV camera was removed from the LM for deployment on the surface. However, during the transfer, the camera was accidentally pointed at the Sun or the Sun's reflection on the descent stage and the vision tube apparently burned out. This ended the TV coverage of the lunar surface activities.


Placing the Solar Wind Composition Experiment

Placing the Solar Wind Composition ExperimentThe astronauts reported no difficulties in deploying the Solar Wind Composition Experiment. The only difficulty occurred during the retrieval of the apparatus. The foil would only roll up about halfway and had to be manually rolled the rest of the way.


Placing the Flag on the Lunar Surface

Placing the Flag on the Lunar SurfaceAstronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr., Apollo 14 commander, stands by the deployed U.S. flag on the lunar surface during the early moments of the first EVA of the mission.


Deployment of the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package

The Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP) was deployed about 180 meters west of the LM. There was some difficulty locating a level site. After the site was selected, the lunar dust presented some problems for the remainder of the ALSEP deployment. Experiments in this ALSEP were the Passive Seismic Experiment, Active Seismic Experiment, Suprathermal Ion Detector Experiment, Cold Cathode Gauge Experiment, Charged-Particle Lunar Environment Experiment, and the Lunar Dust Detector.

The ALSEP Deployed The ALSEP Deployed
Several components of the ALSEP are shown in this photograph taken during the first Apollo 14 extravehicular activity. The larger object with the antenna is the ALSEP central station. The Active Seismic Experiment mortar assembly is to the left rear of the central station. The Charged Particle Lunar Environmental Experiment is to the right rear of the central station. A portion of the Modular Equipment Transporter can be seen in the left foreground.
The Active Seismic Experiment Thumper The Active Seismic Experiment Thumper
Astronaut Alan L. Bean, lunar module pilot, carries the two subpackages of the ALSEP. The subpackages have been left in their collapsed form for easier handling.
The Apollo Simple Penetrometer The Apollo Simple Penetrometer
Commander Charles Conrad Jr. aligns the antenna on the central station for the ALSEP. The ALSEP's Lunar Surface Magnetometer is in the foreground. In the center background near Conrad are other ALSEP components.
Deployment of the Laser Ranging Retroreflector Deployment of the Laser Ranging Retroreflector
The Laser Ranging Retroreflector was deployed at a distance of approximately 30 meters west of the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package central station. Leveling and alignment were accomplished with no difficulty.

Additional Sampling

On the return to the LM from the ALSEP, a number of samples were taken at a site designated station EVA-1. Part of the sampling during this EVA was the comprehensive sample that was taken about 100-125 meters west of the LM. The samples consisted of rock fragments and soil. There was also the bulk sample consisting of scooped soil, taken near the LM, and two football-sized rocks. Some additional panoramic photography was also taken at the LM before the astronauts ended the first EVA.

Second Extravehicular Activity

Second Extravehicular Activity The second extravehicular activity (EVA) was a planned geological traverse to Cone Crater, with the objective of sampling material from the rim of this crater. At the crew's request, the EVA was begun 2 hours, 27 minutes earlier than scheduled. All equipment was transported using a small cart, the Modular Equipment Transporter. Due to the difficulty in walking over the rugged terrain, the crew fell behind schedule during the traverse. As a result, several of the planned geology stops were cancelled and the traverse stopped short of Cone Crater's rim. Post-mission analysis of landmarks in photographs indicated that the crew may have been just 20 meters from the crater rim when Mission Control ordered them to return to the lunar module (LM). The crew did not know this during the EVA because of the difficulty in determining their precise location in the rugged terrain. The stops that were made on the traverse are listed below. This EVA lasted 4 hours and 34 minutes, from 3:11 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. EST on February 6. During this time the astronauts traveled approximately 3 kilometers.

The Geologic Traverse

Traverse Map

    Station A
    This station was about 150 meters northeast of the lunar module and 90 meters north of Triplet Crater. The crew collected a double-length core tube and two bags of samples and photographed panoramic sequence 6. They also took the first Lunar Portable Magnetometer measurement.

    Station B
    Station B was about 330 meters northeast of the LM and 65 meters north-northwest of the rim of Weird Crater. The astronauts collected one bag of samples and photographed panoramic sequence 7.

    Station Bg
    This was an intermediate stop just east of Station B where one bag of samples, a "grab sample," was collected.

    Station B1
    Station B1 was a stop for photography, panoramic sequence 8. No samples were collected.

    Station B2
    This was another photography-only stop, for panoramic sequence 9.

    Station B3
    This was the location for panoramic photography sequence 10. No samples were collected.

    Station C
    This station was located 1.28-1.29 kilometers east-northeast of the lunar module and approximately 95-100 meters southeast of the rim of Cone Crater. Three bags of samples were collected. Panoramic photography for panoramic sequence 11 was taken along with the second portable magnetometer measurement.

    Station C1
    Station C1 was about 1.24-1.25 kilometers east-northeast of the LM and 17-30 meters southeast of the Cone Crater rim. Sampling consisted of two bags and a "football-sized rock." Additional photography was also performed.

    Station C2
    At this location, 1.21 kilometers east-northeast of the lunar module and approximately 130 meters south of the rim of Cone Crater, the crew collected one bag of samples and took photographs.

    Station Dg
    This was an intermediate stop near Flank Crater to collect samples.

    Station E
    One bag of samples was collected at Station E.

    Station F
    At Station F, one bag of samples was collected and the astronauts photographed panoramic sequence 12.

    Station G
    Station G was about 230 meters east-southeast of the LM and 50 meters east of the North Triplet Crater rim crest. Sampling included two core tubes, soil, rocks, and a special environmental sample. The astronauts also dug a trench as part of the soil mechanics investigation, and photographed panoramic sequence 13.

    Station G1
    This station was 150 meters east of the LM on the north rim crest of North Triplet Crater. One bag of samples was collected and additional photography was performed.

    Station H
    This location was about 70-80 meters northwest of the LM, where additional samples were collected and panoramic sequence 14 was photographed.

Other EVA Activities

Before beginning the traverse, the crew performed some additional panoramic photography near the LM. In addition, a number of close-up stereoscopic photographs were taken on the traverse. There was a side trip to the ALSEP experiment site to realign the central station antenna, and, while there, the astronauts also collected a few samples. Finally, the Solar Wind Collector foil was recovered for return to Earth.

Near the end of the EVA, following completion of the geology traverse and just prior to loading the collected samples into the LM, Alan Shepard attached a 6-iron golf club to the end of a sample collecting tool and took one-handed swings at two golf balls. He joked that the second ball traveled "miles and miles," although it actually traveled only a few hundred meters.

The Apollo Lunar Surface Close-up Camera The Apollo Lunar Surface Close-up Camera
All stereoscopic photographs were taken by Astronaut Shepard during the second traverse. Photographs were taken midway between the LM and Station A, at Station A, again at Station B2, and at the LM just before the film was removed from the camera. Although photographs at other locations had been planned, no additional shots could be taken because of a shortage of time.
Close-up view of The Lunar Portable Magnetometer The Lunar Portable Magnetometer
Close-up view of the Lunar Portable Magnetometer, which was used to measure the magnetic field at two locations along the EVA 2 traverse. The device operated normally but there was some difficulty in rewinding the cable after deployment.
A close-up view of the plaque that the Apollo 14 crew left behind on the  Moon End of the Apollo 14 Mission
A close-up view of the plaque that the Apollo 14 crew left behind on the Moon during their lunar landing mission. The 7" × 9" stainless-steel plaque was attached to the ladder on the landing-gear strut on the lunar module descent stage.

Apollo Lunar Surface Journal - Apollo 14 Mission
This link connects to transcripts of the radio transmissions of the Apollo 14 astronauts during their time on the lunar surface. Located at NASA headquarters, these transcripts are the work of Eric Jones, who has added explanatory notes and comments from the astronauts.

Details on Modular Equipment Transporter (JSC)

Details on Lunar Sample Collection Procedures (JSC)

EVA 2 Voice Transcript (Apollo Lunar Surface Journal)