Apollo 12 Lunar Surface Journal


Sampling at Head Crater and Bench Crater Halo Crater


Sharp Crater

Corrected Transcript and Commentary Copyright © 1995 by Eric M. Jones.
All rights reserved.
MP3 audio clips by Ken Glover.
Scan credits in the Image Library
Last revised 7 April 2018.


RealAudio Clip ( 24 min 03 sec ) Note that there is a blank section starting at 132:55:14 and lasting for 5 min 50 seconds. This may represent a switch from one tape to another, perhaps during production of the cassette copies used for the ALSJ. When audio resumes, we are still at 132:55:14, so none of the transmissions are missed.

MP3 Audio Clip ( 11 min 09 sec )

[Brian McInall has created a Planimetric Map of activities at Bench and Sharp Craters]
132:49:41 Bean: Okay, Pete, what is your next pleasure?

132:49:44 Conrad: I don't know. What do you think, Houston? (Pause)

[In the background, we hear Jack Schmitt say "over to 'a'" meaning Sharp Crater, which is the stop marked 'a' on Traverse 4.]
132:49:51 Gibson: You're looking in good shape. You can press on along the traverse over to Sharp Crater.

132:50:00 Conrad: Okay.

[NASA photo S69-59538 shows the traverse route.]
132:50:02 Bean: Why don't you take your...Oh, you already got a snapshot of this, didn't you, Pete?

132:50:06 Conrad: (Calling, wanting to get the map before Al moves away with the HTC) Wait, wait, wait. Sharp Crater, that's funny; I can't seem to locate it.

132:50:11 Gibson: Pete, from your present position that's 400 feet southwest. (Pause)

132:50:19 Bean: Nice one 400 feet south...

132:50:21 Conrad: (Moving) Al, it's got to be over that hill right there.

132:50:23 Bean: About right there.

132:50:24 Conrad: Right here.

132:50:26 Bean: Okay. Let's try it. (Pause) 400 feet southwest.

132:50:39 Conrad: All right. Now we want to get the core tube and that gas sample and a bunch of good things, right, Houston?

132:50:46 Schmitt: That's affirmative, Pete. All those good things at Sharp Crater.

132:50:56 Conrad: Got to find it first.

132:50:59 Gibson: Al, you can go ahead and put that diverter valve to your choice. Your feedwater pressure is holding even. Looks as though it's working well. It's slightly lower than nominal.

132:51:10 Bean: Okay, Houston.

132:51:11 Conrad: Sharp Crater, where are you?

132:51:15 Bean: Got it pinpointed, Pete?

132:51:16 Conrad: No. I can't find it. (Pause) Well, we're going in about the right direction.

132:51:20 Bean: There's one right over here, kind of more to your right.

132:51:23 Conrad: Trouble is, I'm looking down zero phase, you know, and that's...(Pause) There it is. That's got to be it right there. I see it.

[The 'zero-phase' direction is directly down-Sun and, in that direction, not only is the reflected sunlight at its brightest but there are very few visible shadows to give definition to the scene. As with their problem recognizing Head Crater in the immediate post-landing period, they are having trouble seeing Sharp. Now, of course, they have the twin advantages of knowing more or less where they are, and of being able to move around.]

[The brightness of zero phase is due to a process called Coherent Backscatter.]

132:51:37 Bean: Boy, there's some big fragments out here.

132:51:41 Conrad: You can say that again. Have you got the shovel?

132:51:43 Bean: I sure do.

132:51:44 Conrad: Good boy. (Chuckles; Pause) No, that's not it (meaning Sharp Crater), either.

132:51:51 Bean: Why don't we stop here and look at the chart a little bit more closely? (Pause)

132:52:00 Conrad: Man, does that LM look small back there. I'll tell you what. I'd better get a tie anyhow. Look at the chart.

132:52:08 Bean: Okay.

[Conrad - "(By 'tie'), I mean 'figure out exactly where I am'."]
132:52:09 Conrad: Okay.

132:52:11 Bean: Okay.

132:52:13 Gibson: Roger. Are you going to give us a backside survey at that point, Pete?

[Conrad - "I think he wants us to take pictures looking back towards the LM."]
132:52:18 Conrad: Yeah. Make it a full pan. (We're so) darn far out, (so) I might as well.

132:52:27 Gibson: Okay. A full pan over when you get to Sharp. We show you are 1 plus 23 into the EVA and we're looking to leave Sharp Crater around 1 plus 51, so you got lots of time.

132:52:41 Conrad: We got to find Sharp Crater first.

132:52:42 Bean: (Responding to Gibson) Gee, I kind of agree with you. Where is it?

132:52:44 Conrad: I don't know. We should be right here. (Pause) I got it. How big is Sharp Crater?

132:52:55 Bean: Looks pretty small. It looks to me to be about 30 meters.

132:53:00 Conrad: Okay. I've got it. It's right here in front of me.

132:53:02 Bean: Okay. Yeah. I see it. That's it. (Long Pause)

132:53:22 Conrad: Okay. Got a rock. (Taking a pan) Five pic-a-tures. (f/)8. This has got to be Sharp Crater right here. We'll drive that double core tube in the...

Pete's Sharp Traverse Pan (frames AS12-49- 7244 to 7262)

[Pete and Al are not at Sharp but may have it in view. If so, Sharp isn't obvious in the pan pictures.]
132:53:40 Bean: All right. Yeah. This has a nice white rim on it. In fact, the rim of this looks pretty much like the area we kicked over on the previous craters.
[In this case, the very light color of the regolith may be due, primarily, to the fact that Sharp Crater is very fresh and that the regolith broken up and lightened by the Sharp impact is still exposed.]
132:53:47 Conrad: I'm not sure this is Sharp Crater, but it's ...

132:53:49 Bean: Let's use it anyway, because it's the only one out here.

132:53:55 Conrad: I know. There is nothing out here. Darnedest thing I ever saw.

132:54:01 Gibson: We're estimating a diameter of Sharp Crater, Pete, for about 40 feet (12 meters).

132:54:08 Bean: 40 feet, huh?...

132:54:09 Conrad: Al, this may be it!

132:54:10 Bean: This is it.

132:54:11 Conrad: It's got to be it.

[Bean - "You never knew if you really had picked the right one."]

[Conrad - "I'm not saying whether I could look back at Bench Crater, either; but I must have been trying to find Sharp by looking at something I knew where it was. It must have been Bench."]

[Bean - "How did you know when you finally got there? How did you know that was Sharp Crater, as opposed to just another crater?"]

[Conrad - "Because it does have all the white. We knew that."]

[Bean - "You could see the light color when you got there? You seemed to have confidence. 'I've got it, there it is.'"]

[Conrad - "Well, I think the other thing is, I've got it mapped. Remember, I'm still looking at a map. So I think if I can look at the LM and look at this and I'm kind of..."]

[Bean - "VR-ing (vector ranging) backwards. Okay. Because you seemed real confident and, sure enough that was it."]

132:54:12 Bean: It's got a nice raised rim on it.

132:54:13 Conrad: Yeah. Look at that!

132:54:14 Bean: It's raised up about, what'd you say, 2 feet?

132:54:17 Conrad: Yeah. The trouble is that I'm running zero phase. It's like (garbled)...Ooh, yeah! Look at - Oh-hoo-hoo-hoo!

132:54:22 Bean: Hey, this is the same color as all that subsurface material.

132:54:27 Conrad: It's awful soft in here; watch it.

132:54:29 Bean: Okay.

[They have arrived at Sharp.]
132:54:30 Conrad: Holy Christmas! Look at the bottom of that.

132:54:31 Bean: Say, you know something, Houston?

132:54:33 Conrad: Hey, Houston.

132:54:35 Gibson: Go ahead, Pete.

132:54:36 Conrad: It looks like blast effect coming out of it. Looks like it's got blast effects radial all around. This has got to be fairly fresh to the...Hey, look at that, Al. Isn't that neat? Wait 'til I get some pictures of that.

132:54:52 Bean: Okay.

132:54:53 Conrad: I don't know what to set it on. 74(-foot focus), I guess. I'm not that far away.

132:54:56 Bean: Boy, the rim is soft here, isn't it?

132:54:59 Conrad: Sure is.

132:55:00 Bean: Quite a bit softer than the others we...

132:55:01 Conrad: But look at the radial spray pattern.

132:55:04 Bean: Beautiful.

132:55:05 Conrad: Look at that.

132:55:06 Bean: I guess I'm supposed to drive the, what, double core tube here or something?

132:55:09 Conrad: Yeah. Set that baby up.

132:55:10 Bean: (Throwing something) Look at that skip.

132:55:12 Conrad: We got to dig a trench...

132:55:14 Gibson: Al, we'd like to get the trench site sample there, and you can hold off on that double core tube until you get over to Halo Crater.

132:55:23 Bean: Okay; good. (Pause) Aren't we supposed to look west for Copernican rays here, too.

132:55:40 Conrad: Houston, there's no way to tell a difference contact-wise. You agree, Al?

132:55:45 Bean: There's no way. Now this one is fresh enough so that you can see - like you say - some of the rays (produced by Sharp itself). But (with) any crater older than this, there doesn't appear to be any way to tell the materials from inside the crater from that (material) that was right on the surface before the crater was formed. There's no differentiation at all. (Pause) Let's see. Which sample do you want now?

[Generally, the ejecta thrown out of a crater from nearest the point of impact comes out first and travels the farthest and fastest. Material thrown out from places farther from the point of impact - either from near the rim or from very deep in the crater - comes out late and not very fast at all. Of the ejecta that comes out late, the material from deepest in the crater generally falls on top of the material derived from near the rim. Consequently, the structure of a typical ejecta blanket is sometimes described as an overturned flap. As you walk away from a crater, the ejecta blanket gets thinner and thinner and, eventually, the ejecta cover on the original surface should become spotty. However, because of the subtle nature of color variations on the lunar surface and the relentless mixing caused by the gardening process, seeing an edge to an ejecta blanket - at least from ground level - is impossible for any craters other than the very youngest.]
132:56:13 Gibson: Al, we're looking for the trench site sample. That includes your environmental sample of trench and the gas analyses you can put in there, too.
[These are the two small vacuum cans that they loaded on the HTC at the start of the EVA: the Gas Analysis Sample Container and the Lunar Environmental Sample Container, known on later missions at the Special Environmental Sample Container.]
132:56:23 Bean: Okay. We'll do the whole smash here for you.

132:56:26 Conrad: You want it right in the crater rim?

132:56:27 Bean: That's what it says.

[Each of them has two checklist pages describing general traverse requirements and the specific requirements for the cores, the trench sample, and the gas analysis sample. There are minor differences in the details between Pete's pages and Al's pages. Note that neither checklist says anything about working on a crater rim.]
132:56:28 Gibson: That's affirmative. That would be perhaps the easiest and best place to do it, and you can get that one core tube down in the bottom of the trench.

132:56:37 Conrad: Yup, yup, yup.

132:56:39 Bean: Okay, Pete. Before you do that, you're going to have to lift this up so that I can take the sample out.

[Al may be trying to get the gas sample container, and wants Pete to hold the HTC while he rummages around in the tote bag.]
132:56:44 Conrad: Wait one. I'll be right with you.

132:56:47 Bean: Okay.

[Pete is probably taking a right-to-left partial pan consisting of frames AS12-49- 7263 to 7269. Pan assembled by David Harland.]
132:56:48 Conrad: You going to do it right there?

132:56:50 Bean: Okay; lift it up and I'll reach in there and grab the...Get the...This (large can) will be the one for the soil here. (Pause) Hey, one thing I've noticed, Houston, carrying the tools. Although your gloves...(Re-starting the thought) You don't feel any of the temperature here. Sun's out nice and bright, but it's nice and cool in here (in the suit); except when you're carrying something metal, like the Hand Tool Carrier, or the shovel, or something. Then your hand starts to get warm.

132:57:20 Conrad: Could you get out of the...

132:57:21 Bean: Yeah.

132:57:22 Conrad: Could you just slide a little bit?

132:57:23 Bean: Okay. Let me slide right over here. (Pause) That's a new one.

132:57:33 Conrad: Oh, wait a minute. I've got to do it over here. Got it.

[As he did at Bench Crater, Pete steps to one side - to his left, here - and takes a second partial pan in the reverse direction. These frames are AS12-49- 7270 to 7275.]

[Frame 7271 is an example showing the south wall and Pete's shadow.]

132:57:37 Bean: Say, Houston?

132:57:39 Gibson: (Making a mis-identification) Pete, go ahead.

132:57:41 Conrad: Did you take a picture before, Al?

[That is, take a "before" picture of the trench site.]
132:57:43 Bean: No. (To Gibson) Nothing, Houston. We're okay. (To Conrad) I'll take one right now, Pete. (Pause) That'd be a good spot right there, I believe. (Pause) Okay. Go ahead, Pete. (Pause)
[Al has just taken a stereopair of "befores", AS12-48- 7065 and 7066.]
132:58:06 Conrad: Dig in that stuff. Wow! You could drive three core tubes down there.

132:58:12 Bean: Sure could. It's soft!

132:58:13 Conrad: Yeah. Got down about 8 inches.

132:58:15 Bean: Yeah. Pete's digging a nice clean trench.

132:58:18 Conrad: Wait, wait, wait, wait. Let me get the trench pictures.

132:58:21 Bean: Okay.

[Al takes down-Sun photo AS12-48- 7067 and Pete takes cross-Sun photos AS12-49- 7276 and 7277. As can be seen from the pictures, they don't notice that Al's shadow is covering the trench.]

[Bean - "We're working on the up-Sun side of the crater, while over at Bench we'd been working on the cross-Sun or down-Sun side. Here, you can't get out of the way because, there's the crater preventing you from getting down-Sun or really cross-Sun. We never thought about..."]

[Conrad - "We should have set up on either the south or north side, instead of the east side."]

[Bean - "We never thought of that pre-flight, I'm sure. Because we just didn't have the big shadows around. Once we set up, then we were going to have shadow problems. I'm sure we never figured it out there, 'cause I just thought of it here."]

132:58:22 Conrad: And I'm in the wrong setting, too...

132:58:23 Gibson: Okay, Al. Could we have some numbers along with those pictures?

132:58:28 Bean: Okay. We'll have to give them to you, Houston. We've been delinquent there. (Pause) Fine gray...Very fine soil here.

132:58:41 Conrad: Okay. Al?

132:58:43 Bean: Okay. I'm ready to...

132:58:44 Conrad: Take a look at my...What's the (frame count) numbers?

132:58:46 Bean: Okay. You're on number 105 (out of about 180 frames on the magazine).

132:58:52 Conrad: Wow.

132:58:53 Bean: That's okay. I'll trade cameras with you because you've been (garbled under Pete).

132:58:55 Conrad: (Garbled)

132:58:56 Bean: Okay.

[Al has been carrying the Hand Tool Carrier and, so, hasn't taken many pictures. They will make a camera switch at Halo Crater.]
132:58:58 Conrad: All right. Now what do we want to do? Fill that with dirt and rocks?

132:59:02 Bean: We sure do.

132:59:03 Conrad: Huh?

132:59:04 Bean: Fill the big container with dirt. (Pause)

[The bigger of the two vacuum containers is the Lunar Environmental Sample Container or, as it was known on later missions, the Special Environmental Sample container or SESC. Frame AS12-49- 7278 is a superb photo of Al holding the can. The RCU comm switch is on the bottom of the unit on the right side from our perspective. Journal Contributor Harald Kucharek shows that, in the latter, we see that Al's cuff checklist is open to pages 12/13. Kucharek also notes that the f-stop decal on Al's Hasselblad magazine is also visible. The large lettering reads 'Remove Darkslide Before Installing Magazine'. A rectified detail by Markus Mehring allows us to read much of the smaller lettering. Karl Dodenhoff has provided a drawing based on material at the National Air&Space Museum. Other than some details related to Surveyor photography, this A12 decal is similar to the Apollo 14 magazine decals.]

[Bean - "That's me. I'm holding it (meaning the SESC) and he's (visible) in the visor and he's putting it (meaning the sample) in with the shovel."]

[Jones - "It's a nice picture of that sample can. Not to mention a great picture of Al."]

[Bean - "How true!"]

[In 1999, Al painted a version of the photo, calling the painting "A New Frontier".]

132:59:10 Gibson: Pete, we copy you're on 105.

132:59:12 Bean: Be careful now.

132:59:14 Conrad: Wait a minute, wait. (Pause) Ohhhh!

132:59:20 Bean: (Garbled) it didn't go in.

132:59:22 Conrad: That's okay. That stuff is really funny. Now I can't see the trench.

132:59:25 Bean: I know you can't.

[Conrad - "We're having trouble with the shovel, pouring the stuff in the sample tube. I think that's what it is."]

[Bean - "So you got to go get another load and you're talking about the trench. 'Where is it? I got to go find it.' 'Cause you had to go get it in the bottom of the trench."]

132:59:27 Conrad: That a boy. Yeah. Let's get organized.

132:59:29 Bean: Okay. And when you get it in there, try to tap it (that is, tap the scoop on the top of the can). Maybe it will come out by itself.

132:59:35 Conrad: You got to come this way.

132:59:36 Bean: Okay. (Pause)

132:59:38 Conrad: See, what's happening is my arm is being turned by the cable. There, there. Hah, hah, boy.

[Because the suits are pressurized, they tend to assume a certain shape and any attempt to bend the suit to another configuration means working against the internal pressure. The suits have convolute at the major joints to give increased flexibility and, in the case of major arm motions, there are cables to help. The cable for each arm is attached to the front of the suit at the middle of the chest and then runs laterally over to the entrance to a rigid tube which is bent across the upper arm. At the back, the cable exits the tube in a similar fashion and runs over to an anchor at the middle of the back. When the astronaut moves his arm toward the front or back, the cable slides through the tube and, once he stops the motion, friction between the cable and the tube tends to keep the arm from returning to its rest position. The shoulder tubes can be seen in a photo (scan by Ed Hengeveld) from a suit fit session which shows a subject - probably Gene Cernan - seated on a minimalist Rover mock-up.]

[Conrad - "I'm trying to get my arm up and turn the shovel and can't because of the shoulder cable."]

[Jones - (After watching Pete demonstrate) "You can't lift your elbow and turn your wrist at the same time?"]

[Conrad - "Right. You could do this."]

[Jones - "That is, lift your hands up in front of you towards your head."]

[Conrad - "What I'm trying to do is do this, but I can't."]

[Jones - "You can't get rotation up along the side."]

[Conrad - "If I did do that, it's going to be jerky (because of friction in the tube) and the next thing you know, there goes the load out of the shovel."]

[Bean - "You can't get smooth rotation. I think you can probably do it (in steps). But all the cables in there want to hold things in position but, also, allow you to move to a variety of rest positions. Let's say you had your hands at your waist and you wanted to put your hand up at shoulder height. It took a lot of force, but when you got it up there, the cables and things let you leave it there without a lot of effort. And it would only allow certain motions. And that's why Al Shepard couldn't hit the golf ball right, because the arm doesn't swing nice and smooth."]

[Jones - "You're restricted to certain planes of motion."]

[Conrad - "That's right."]

[Bean - "It's not that you're restricted. It's these cables make it easy for you to move certain ways and real hard to move other ways."]

[Al then demonstrated a diagonal motion of the arm which is very difficult in the suit, and then a pair of sequential up and across movements that accomplished the same end result.]

132:59:44 Bean: Maybe you could grab the handles closer to the thingamajig (that is, the head of the tool) there...

132:59:49 Conrad: Yeah.

132:59:50 Bean: ...when you lift it up.

[By holding the scoop close to its head, Pete can turn it with a wrist motion. Jack Schmitt used this technique to good effect during the third Apollo 17 EVA.]
132:59:52 Bean: Okay. We need some more. There you go.

132:59:54 Conrad: Wait a minute.

132:59:55 Bean: There; that's the game.

132:59:56 Conrad: Wait a minute.

132:59:57 Bean: That's the game. (Pause)

[Bean - "I kind of remember that I reached out and grabbed the end of your shovel. Because I could hold both the shovel and the can together. Also, you're trying to make precise movements in the suit on the end of a rod, and you can't do that. Because you can't make smooth movements. Anyhow, we got it in there, (it) just took a little time to do it. Don't forget, when we trained in the suits, they had these same characteristics, but when you get up on the Moon and you weigh one sixth, the cables are doing the same but you're doing different. So it's kind of like a re-learning. If we'd done this two or three days in a row, we'd have kind of caught on to all the differences."]

[The J-mission crews showed significant improvements in efficiency from EVA to EVA.]

132:59:59 Bean: (Garbled)

132:59:59 Conrad: (Garbled) get half of it that way. (Pause)

133:00:05 Bean: (Chuckling) Well, you still need some more, although one more scoop ought to do it though. Ah, that's soft. (Conrad laughs)

MP3 Audio Clip ( 9 min 50 sec )

133:00:13 Bean: Watch yourself. You're getting close to the crater. (Both laughing) You get about 10 percent in there.

133:00:19 Conrad: That enough?

133:00:20 Bean: You want to do one more? And that's it.

133:00:21 Conrad: (Laughing) Okay.

133:00:22 Bean: One more and you'll make it. That soil just doesn't...There isn't anything holding it together.

133:00:26 Conrad: (Still laughing) It takes me back in my childhood when, you know, you wanted to fling things in every direction (out of frustration).

133:00:34 Bean: Okay, that's it. Nice and full. (Pause; Pete's laughter subsides) Okay; now let me put the lid on. (Pause)

133:00:46 Conrad: (Starts laughing again; trying to control himself) I'm sorry, but I just (garbled) put dirt in the tube.

133:00:51 Bean: Okay.

[Pete takes AS12-49- 7278 somewhere in here.]
133:00:52 Conrad: Can I help you with that? Wait, wait, wait, wait.

133:00:53 Bean: Yeah. Why don't you? I'll hold this and you get the lid.

[The lid is attached to the can with a wire so that it doesn't get lost. In addition, there is a Teflon seal protector/spacer that needs to be removed and, finally, Pete is holding the scoop. From the dialog it is evident that getting the can closed is a two-man job. One interpretation of the following dialog is that Al takes the scoop while Pete gets the spacer off; and then Pete takes the scoop back, still holding the can, while Al gets the lid on.]
133:01:00 Conrad: Thank you.

133:01:01 Bean: Okay.

133:01:04 Conrad: Wait, wait. Here. Yeah. Let go. I got it. Okay, you put the lid on.

133:01:07 Bean: All right. Here's the lid.

133:01:10 Conrad: Boy.

133:01:12 Bean: Right on the top.

133:01:14 Conrad: Houston, this dirt came from about 8 inches down. Wait a minute, (garbled).

133:01:20 Gibson: Copy. Eight inches down, and what's the sample bag number on that?

133:01:26 Conrad: No, this is the deep trench sample in the...(To Al) What's the matter?

133:01:34 Bean: It doesn't fit right there. (Garbled; Pause; Garbled) Okay, on this.

133:01:44 Conrad: Now, lower it.

133:01:45 Bean: Isn't that ridiculous?

133:01:46 Conrad: We've done this a zillion times. Something's jamming on it. It's not sliding.

[Conrad, from the 1969 Technical Debrief - "The environmental and gas samples went as advertised. I did notice on both of them a tendency for the threads to be a little bit sticky, as if there were a vacuum welding or maybe a slight expansion that was causing some drag. It wasn't bad, but it did not need to be much worse before causing difficulty in closing both the gas sample and the environmental sample. But, they worked okay."]

[From this description and the dialog, it sounds as though they were able to get the threads to engage but, for a while, weren't able to turn the closure mechanism to fully seal the top. There is no discussion of either container in the mission report, and the SESC was flown on all of the remaining landing missions.]

133:01:54 Bean: I just made it slide.

133:01:55 Conrad: There you go.

133:01:56 Bean: Now you hold it nice and tight.

133:01:57 Conrad: I'll tell you what's the matter; you're getting friction. Wait, wait.

133:02:04 Bean: Hold her tight and I'll get it.

133:02:06 Conrad: Okey-doke.

133:02:09 Bean: You got it.

133:02:10 Conrad: (Garbled, possibly "Needs some") oil. Suppose you're getting some vacuum welding?

133:02:17 Bean: Nah; that's okay. That's it.

133:02:19 Conrad: Put her down tight.

133:02:20 Bean: A little bit more.

133:02:21 Conrad: Go ahead. That a boy.

133:02:23 Bean: Will you snap the top off?

133:02:24 Conrad: Okay. (Pause)

[One possible explanation for Al's request that Pete 'snap the top off' is that he is asking Pete to remove the 'turning handle' on the top. A Union Crabide drawing shows an SESC with the top secured and the turning handle seated in open-top grooves. LRL photo S71-44784 shows a flown Apollo 15 SESC with the top secure but the turning handle not present. Because the turning handle was seated in open-top groves, it is possible that, after sealing the SESC, the astronauts were able to apply upward force on the handle so that it would pop - or 'snap' - out of the grooves. This could have been done to eliminate the possibility that the top could come off if, for example, the handle was in place but jammed against an inner surface of the SRC and a sudden motion during, say, splashdown, might loosen the seal. We are looking for post-flight images of SESCs at the LRL but still in the rockboxes just after opening.]
133:02:28 Bean: That's a good top in that one. Hold on. Don't let go. There. (Pause)
[During the 1991 mission review, Pete, Al, and I were unable to translate Al's transmission. Ken Glover suggests that Al may be saying that they've got a good, tight seal on the can and that they then put the can in the HTC, which Pete might have picked up.]

[The SESC sample is 12023.]

133:02:40 Conrad: Okay. Now, you need a core tube in the bottom of that trench. Is that right, Houston?

133:02:43 Gibson: That's affirmative. And, Al, when you get a chance can we get your photo numbers?

133:02:50 Bean: That's right...

133:02:51 LM Crew: 50...

133:02:52 Conrad: And this is core tube number 2.

133:02:54 Bean: Core tube 2 and I'll need the (extension handle to attach to the top of the core tube)...

[Recall that the extension handle has been serving as the handle for Pete's shovel. Pete is probably removing the scoop head. Later crews will have two extension handles and won't have to remove tool heads quite so often.]
133:02:56 Bean: There you go. Ought to be a good place, Pete. (Pause) In relatively fresh stuff here.

133:03:03 Conrad: Yeah; you'd better believe it. We're good.

133:03:08 Bean: Okay. In this kind of pack you could almost drive it without a hammer; but, if you'll hand it (the hammer) to me, I'll...

133:03:11 Conrad: Yeah, just a second.

133:03:14 Bean: I want to take a couple more shots (that is, photos) of this before we leave. (Pause) There. (Pause) Okay.

133:03:28 Conrad: Get it all the way in (and) I'll get the pictures.

133:03:30 Bean: All right. (The sound of hammering is audible) It's driving in real easy, Houston.

[Bean - "I didn't know that (they could hear the hammering in Houston)!"]

[Conrad - "That's neat!"]

[Bean - "Coming through my hand, I guess..."]

[Conrad - "Yeah, it's coming through your hand and getting into the air in the suit and it's transmitting all the way (to the microphones)."]

[Bean - "Isn't that something."]

[Jones - "Now, you had the Snoopy helmets on over your ears."]

[Conrad - "Yeah, but the microphones are out here (in front of their lips). I never heard that before, either. You can hear you hammering just loud and clear."]

[Bean - "I would have said it wasn't possible."]

[Conrad - "The other guy can't hear it. Did you hear yourself hammering?"]

[Bean - "I don't remember. I was so concentrated...The problem with hammering is that...Well, I'm a good carpenter, but you can't come straight down (with your arm in the suit). That's why they made the hammer bigger and everybody used the side. You can't do a nice smooth swing. You get it going (straight down) and then the cable cuts in and moves it over. So you try to adjust your swing and then you miss. Lot of missing."]

[Jones - "From watching the TV of the J-missions, what was possible was kind of a diagonal stroke across the front of your suit. But if you're driving a core tube vertically, I can't imagine that's very efficient."]

[Conrad - "It's the same thing as with the shovel. As soon as you raise your hand above the horizontal - or your arm or the hand - above the horizontal - you run into the cable and you've got to go over-center. As a matter of fact, remember guys used to have to put their arm out and go up and come back. That's how you got over the cable, which ran like a U over the top of the shoulder. (There is a good example of this motion in the Apollo 15 TV when Dave Scott goes through the motions Pete describes to reach his cooling control.) And if you want to get your arm up over your head, you didn't go straight up in front, because you'd run right smack into the cable. You went out to the side, got it over the cable, then twisted it..."]

[Bean - "You could feel the cable snap up. It was like going into an 'up' mode, and then you could lift it."]

[Conrad - "It had a definite over-center."]

133:03:34 Conrad: Going...

133:03:35 Gibson: Roger.

133:03:35 Conrad: ...(garbled) all the way.

133:03:36 Bean: I can't lean down too far now. And we're driving it all the way in pretty easy.

133:03:42 Conrad: That a boy. Wait one. Stop. That's it.

133:03:46 Bean: Okay. Just a second. Let's put this up (that is, put the hammer back on the HTC). Let me take a picture of it, Pete. Make sure we got it documented.

[Al's down-Sun stereopair is AS12-48- 7068 and 7069. Ulli Lotzmann has created anaglyphs from 7068 and 7069.]

[Pete's cross-Sun stereopair from the north is AS12-49- 7279 and 7280.]

133:03:53 Conrad: Two. There's a stereo picture. Okay.

133:04:00 Bean: Boy, this dirt's gotten on my camera and I can't see the settings anymore. I'm going to have to do something about that. (Long Pause)

133:04:21 Bean: Okay. You ready to put the top on this core tube?

133:04:25 Conrad: You'd better believe it.

133:04:26 Bean: Okay. (Pulling it slowly out of the ground) Here we come. (Pause) I hope that soil stays in there.

133:04:36 Conrad: Believe it did.

133:04:37 Bean: Probably did because it stayed in your scoop so well.

133:04:40 Conrad: You'd better believe it. It's full.

133:04:41 Bean: Okay.

133:04:42 Conrad: Come over here with it.

133:04:43 Bean: All right. There you go. (Pause) (Garbled) (Pause)

[Al is probably removing the bit so that he can cap the tube. This scene is the subject of Al's 1985 painting "Helping Hands"]

[In looking at pictures in Judy Allton's Catalog of Apollo Lunar Surface Geological Sampling Tools and Containers, Pete noticed a picture (S69-31845) of the core cap dispenser and, in particular, the chisel bit.]

[Conrad - "I don't ever remember us having that part of the core tube sampler - the chisel."]

[A core cap dispenser is visible in AS12-49- 7281, which Pete will take at 133:15:32. However, we can only see the back of the dispenser and it is impossible to tell if there is a chisel bit on it. Al's later photo, AS12-49-7315 shows the front of the dispenser. Thomas Schagmeier has highlighted the chisel in a detail.]

[Bean - "Well, we never did use it; but it might have been there. There was a rack of about six things, you know, caps for core tubes and stuff. And, on the later missions, the tongs were different from ours."]

[Jones - "In fact, you complained that the tongs were a little small and they made them bigger for later flights."]

[Bean - "Yes. And they made the hammers bigger."]

[The Apollo 11/12 hammer is shown in NASA photo S69-31847 and the heavier hammer introduced on Apollo 14 is shown in S71-22471. The latter has a thicker head and weighs 1.3 kilograms compared with 0.86 kilograms for the Apollo 11/12 hammer. The Apollo 11/12 tongs were 67 cm long and the tongs used on later missions were 80 cm long with a bigger handle and, probably, a bigger opening.]

133:04:59 Conrad: Good sample.

133:05:01 Bean: Yeah; it is. A good sample.

133:05:03 Conrad: There you go. Ah!

133:05:04 Bean: Got the cap on.

133:05:06 Conrad: That a boy!

133:05:07 Bean: Okay. Just a minute. (Garbled)

133:05:12 Conrad: There.

133:05:13 Bean: Okay.

133:05:14 Conrad: Get the scoop back on (the extension handle).

133:05:15 Bean: All right?

133:05:15 Conrad: And I'll stow it. Okay, Houston. What else do you want here?

133:05:19 Gibson: Okay. We show you should have gotten in the trench site sample, the core tube samples from the bottom and also the gas analysis sample.

133:05:31 Bean: Okay. We need some little rock fragments for that (gas analysis sample), Pete. (Garbled)...

133:05:35 Gibson: Roger. That's surface rock fragments.

133:05:38 Conrad: Okay. Just a second. (To Gibson) Yeah. We're going to get it; hold the phone.

133:05:41 Bean: Got to find it first. (Pause) (Garbled) in there anywhere?

[The Special Environmental Sample container - which they filled with dirt prior to driving the core tube - is 21 cm long and has a 6.1 cm outer diameter. The Gas Analysis Sample Container is much smaller - 9.5 cm long and 3.8 cm across. Both have a knife-edge seal. It is shown in Figure 86 in Judy Allton's Tool Book.]

[Jones - "You're looking for that can (meaning the GASC) in the HTC?"]

[Conrad - "In the bag."]

[Bean - "It's hard to find in there."]

[Conrad - "It came out of a rock box, and it's in the bag. And there's now a bunch of rocks in the bag. And we're digging around trying to find it."]

[Bean - "I suspect you're holding the HTC up and I'm reaching in the bag."]

[Conrad - "That's exactly right, because we did that again when we looked for our illegal thing (meaning the photo timer for their planned dual portrait."]

[Bean - "On Earth, when we practiced, even in dirt or volcanic areas or something, when you looked in the bag, there were these shiny chrome things and you found them. Once we got on the Moon with all this dust that was so adhesive and small, when you looked in there, all you saw was grey things. So you had to reach in there and move bags around and pretty soon you'd see a shape - not a shiny shape, although maybe you'd see shine around on it - and then you had it. And that's why it was so hard to find things. On Earth, you never had to hold the bag. I could just look in there and see it and reach in and grab it. So dirt was causing problems in locating these two little things (the gas sample analysis can and, later, the secret photo-timer). Dirt just doesn't grab onto things on Earth the same way."]

133:05:49 Conrad: Wait. (Pause) Oh-oh. (Garbled, possibly as he strains forward to see into the bag)

133:06:02 Bean: I'll move it around; see if you see it.

133:06:05 Conrad: Yup. Yup. Stick your hand straight down. Towards your knee. That a boy; you ought to have it.

133:06:11 Bean: Got it; almost got it. (We need to put) some little rocks in here (in the gas sample)...

133:06:15 Conrad: Okay.

133:06:15 Bean: ...(garbled) just little rocks.

133:06:17 Conrad: Coming up

133:06:19 Gibson: Roger. Copy. You got some rocks in the gas analysis (sample); and would you also confirm that you have gotten the environmental sample?

[During the 1991 Apollo 12 review, it took the three of us a considerable amount of time to decide that, here at Sharp, they did both the SESC (the environmental sample) and the Gas Sample, in that order. At the end of our discussion, Pete said "I sort of vaguely remember we had two cans, but I sure don't remember taking the second sample." Al also didn't remember having two cans. Obviously, Houston, too, has been having difficulty following along during the Sharp Crater activities and doesn't realize that Pete and Al have done the Environmental Sample but haven't yet done the Gas Sample.]
133:06:27 Bean: (Garbled under Pete)...

133:06:28 Conrad: We got the environmental sample, we got...

133:06:30 Bean: (Garbled)

133:06:30 Conrad: ...the core tube. (Pause) And I'm trying to find a little rock. There.

133:06:44 Bean: Little rock. There's a lot of 'em.

133:06:46 Conrad: There's a neat one. There it is right there. Ho-ho, just right for that little can.

133:06:52 Bean: Give me a few.

133:06:54 Conrad: I think it (the can) shrunk.

133:06:58 Gibson: Al, your PLSS feedwater is back up to nominal and all looks good.

133:07:04 Bean: Okay. Thank you very much, Houston. (To Pete) See those bright shiny ones there?

133:07:07 Conrad: Yup, yup; yup, yup, yup, yup.

133:07:09 Bean: Wait. Let's get a shot of them. Just a second, Pete.

133:07:11 Conrad: Okay.

[Al's before photo of the small rocks is AS12-48- 7070.]
133:07:13 Bean: Okay. Got a picture of them. (Pause) Careful. (Pause) Steady. There. How about those right there?

133:07:24 Conrad: Where?

133:07:26 Bean: Right there. See them shine?

133:07:29 Conrad: The little ones?

133:07:30 Bean: No, no. Move over this way. This way. Up. You're near...Right there.

[Bean - "It's hard to know what rock the other guy's talking about. Because you can't see where he's looking. Never are we able to say 'that rock over there' and the other guy says 'oh, yeah, that one'. It's always 'That one?' 'No, over here.' We never came up with a way to point and say 'that is the rock'. 'Cause I guess we didn't want to touch anything."]

[Conrad - "That's right, because we worked very hard not to get within our initial photos and all that stuff to keep the area clean. They had a real protocol spelled out for us."]

133:07:36 Conrad: Hey, that's a neat ...Ooh, that's glass! Look at that.

133:07:40 Bean: Right next to it.

133:07:41 Conrad: Yeah. Here, one at a time.

[Pete may be picking the rocks up with the shovel, rather than with his tongs.]
133:07:43 Bean: Make a good sample for them. (Pause) And that piece right next to it, there.

133:07:47 Conrad: Okay. Houston, how far are we from the LM?

133:07:52 Gibson: Stand by.

133:07:53 Conrad: (Laughing)

133:07:55 Bean: (Laughing) (Garbled) tricky. I wish we had...

133:07:56 Conrad: (Laughing)

133:07:57 Bean: Hey, we need some more, Pete. Give me a bigger rock. There's not enough in there to do anything with.

133:08:00 Conrad: (Chuckling) Hey, come on, I'm getting tired of picking up those little things!

133:08:02 Bean: There's nothing in there.

133:08:04 Conrad: I can't - Where is my stupid tool (the tongs?)? There it is.

133:08:06 Bean: Get a big one! There's one right there.

133:08:08 Conrad: Get a big what? Here, this one?

133:08:10 Bean: Yeah.

133:08:12 Conrad: I don't think that will fit.

133:08:14 Bean: Let's try it. No, that won't...

133:08:16 Conrad: No, it won't fit!

133:08:17 Gibson: Pete and Al, we show you 1200 feet from the LM.

[A labeled detail from LROC image M120005333R indicates they are about 1420 feet (432 meters) from the center of the LM.]
133:08:22 Conrad: Okay. (Pause) Come on, Al, we're wasting time. (Pause)

133:08:31 Bean: There you go.

133:08:34 Gibson: Pete, as soon as you finish up there, you can head on back toward the east, towards Halo Crater. No need to go any further west.

[Had Pete and Al seen any clear indication of Copernican Ray material farther to the west, Houston might have considered having them go a little farther. However, with time running short and with the possibility that they've already sampled Copernican ejecta at Head Crater, Houston wants them to head toward Halo Crater and the Surveyor.]
133:08:43 Bean: Got it, Pete?

133:08:44 Conrad: Yeah. Wait. Let go a minute. (Pause) I'm with you, Houston. (Pause)

133:09:00 Bean: Hey, good show, Pete; good turning. (Pause)

[They are probably closing the Gas Sample and, if so, are having much less trouble then they had with the SESC. The gas sample is 12024 and, in the Lunar Sample Compendium, is described in the same report as the Environmental Sample, 12023]
133:09:10 Conrad: There you go!

133:09:11 Bean: Is the front of my lens clean?

133:09:12 Conrad: Relatively speaking. Nothing else is.

[Bean, from the 1969 Technical Debrief - "I would like to say something about the camera. We got a lot of dust on ourselves and also on the outside of the camera. We kept looking at the lens to see if there was any dust on it and to see if it was going to degrade the pictures. Neither Pete nor I could see it on each other's camera (lens), although the other parts of our cameras were covered with dust. We'll have to take a look at the pictures that we returned (which look okay). If it does turn out to be a problem, we're going to have to come up with some sort of brush we can use to dust off the lens, because I don't see any other way (to clean them). We were trying our best to keep the equipment clean; but just moving around, trenching, leaning over, and all the other things tend to get dust on the equipment."]

[Later crews tended to be even more active than Pete and Al and, consequently, fell more often and otherwise covered themselves and the cameras with dust. They carried a small, soft-bristle brush for lens cleaning and regularly put it to use on the Hasselblads and on the Rover TV.]

133:09:15 Bean: Okay. Let me put that up.

133:09:17 Conrad: And up.

133:09:18 Bean: Okay. We got it.

[Al could be talking about removing the turning handle on the GASC. The design of the top is similar to the SESC that they closed at 133:01:26. Alternatively, he simply could be putting the container in the HTC.]
133:09:20 Conrad: Okay. Give me one gnomon and my shovel.
[Pete is hand-carrying the gnomon.]
133:09:22 Bean: Here's your shovel.

133:09:24 Conrad: Head for Halo Crater.


Sampling at Head Crater and Bench Crater Apollo 12 Journal Halo Crater