Apollo 17 Lunar Surface Journal Banner


Geology Station 9 EVA-3 Close-out


EVA-3 Return to the LM

Corrected Transcript and Commentary Copyright © 1995 by Eric M. Jones.
All rights reserved.
Scan credits in the Image Library.
Video credits in the Video Library.
Audio clips by Dave Shaffer.
Last revised 4 August 2017.


[Jack's first photo of the drive back to the LM is AS17-143- 21859, which shows a distinctive boulder at the right side of the image. The same boulder can be seen in AS17-143- 21847, which is a frame from Jack's pan.]
MP3 Audio Clip starting at 168:48:49 ( 9 min 01 sec )

168:48:56 Schmitt: I wonder where we stand on time.

168:49:00 Cernan: (Looking at his watch) Well, we've been out about 5 hours and 20 minutes or so.

168:49:05 Schmitt: Where are we headed, now that we are moving?

168:49:08 Parker: That's affirm...

168:49:09 Cernan: Well, I'm trying to get out of the block field here, then I'll head back to the southwest. (Pause)

[Cuff checklist page LMP/CDR-24 shows the planned traverse to Station 10. For completeness, pages LMP/CDR-25, LMP/CDR-26, LMP/CDR-27, LMP/CDR-28, and CDR-29 cover the planned drive to Station 10, the planned activities at that station, and the drive back to the LM.]
168:49:21 Schmitt: We going to Sherlock (Station 10) at all, Bob?

168:49:26 Parker: No, we're going straight home...

168:49:27 Schmitt: (To Gene) That must be Gatsby (Crater) over there.

[AS17-143-21860 to 21863 cover the next portion of the traverse.]
168:49:27 Parker: ...you can follow the (garbled, but means the Nav system) home. (Pause) And a reminder, Jack. We can get lots of photos. We've got lots of film left right now.

168:49:43 Schmitt: Okay.

168:49:46 Parker: And, 17. Gene, I guess you're the one that took the SEP out. Do you remember the reading of the SEP temperature when you broke it down?

168:49:57 Cernan: Didn't even look, Bob.

168:49:59 Parker: Okay. Copy that.

168:50:00 Schmitt: It was 125 when we started the station.

168:50:04 Parker: Roger. Copy that. (Pause)

168:50:09 Cernan: That's Gatsby there, I guess, huh?

168:50:10 Schmitt: Yeah.

168:50:12 Cernan: It's not unlike Van Serg, though.

168:50:15 Schmitt: Hey, you know that looks like the mantling...Hopefully, we can get a...Watch your rock. There you go. (Hopefully), we can get a shot looking back to the northwest...

168:50:32 Cernan: Yeah, I'll get that when I...

168:50:33 Schmitt: ...into Gatsby, because it looks like the mantle streams over the side from the southwest. Can you swing to your right and get up a little closer to the rim, there?

[AS17-143- 21864 shows Gatsby from the east. Frame 21865 is taken after Gene turns to give them a better view into the crater.]
168:50:48 Cernan: Hey, there is a couple fragments in spots...

168:50:51 Schmitt: Look at that. See that?

168:50:52 Cernan: Yeah.

168:50:53 Schmitt: See that structure. See how the...

168:50:54 Cernan: Yeah.

168:50:55 Schmitt: ...see how the mantle streams over...

168:50:57 Cernan: Yeah; from the northwest. Can you get that?

168:50:59 Schmitt: Yeah.

168:51:00 Schmitt: And from the southwest.

168:51:02 Cernan: Got it?

168:51:03 Schmitt: Yeah. Go ahead. Keep going. (Pause) Good shape. Got it.

168:51:12 Cernan: We're 236/2.1. (Pause)

[AS17-143- 21866 and 21867 are additional pictures of Gatsby. AS17-143- 21868 to 21870 are taken as they drive south around Gatsby and then drive toward Sherlock.]
168:51:18 Schmitt: Bob, what I'm looking at is the northwest portion of Gatsby, where there's a very, very concentrated block field on the inner wall; (that is, we can see blocks) except where there are, on the southwest, three streams and, on the northwest and north, a continuous stream - if you will - or radial band of mantle that appears to be burying that field (or) overlying and mantling the field. We got some pretty good pictures of it, I think.

168:52:02 Parker: Okay. Copy that.

168:52:05 Schmitt: Bob, I'm more and more convinced there's a mantle. (Pause) One possibility, I guess, is that, if it's a pyroclastic mantle, that in the lunar vacuum environment and with whatever volatiles we're dealing with, the stuff becomes extremely fine upon vesiculation. We may have been on it all the time and not known it...(that is), as far as recognizing it.

168:52:41 Cernan: See, as soon as we come through this draw, how smooth or free of any debris or boulders it is on the other side of the upslope.

168:52:46 Schmitt: Yeah. (Pause) Watch it.

168:52:53 Cernan: Yup. (Pause) Bob, do we have an extra EP (Explosive Package)?

168:53:04 Parker: No. We have two of them behind you. We're going to deploy one. I'll give you a reading soon on that.

168:53:12 Cernan: Okay. Well, one I deploy at the end, I know, (near the place where he will park the Rover at the end of the EVA). I thought we had an extra one here somewhere.

168:53:17 Parker: Okay. Yeah, that's the one we were planning on deploying all along, and it's there. We'll be deploying at a range of 0.1, which is just before you get to the SEP.

168:53:33 Cernan: (Responding to Bob) Okay. (To Jack) I guess Sherlock's going to be right over the top over here. I saw it when we were on that other ridge. (Pause) Hey, you know, there's a lot of bad landing places around here. That low Sun angle, I think, shows most of them up. (Pause)

168:53:57 Schmitt: Bob, I...

168:53:58 Parker: And, Geno, we were looking...

168:54:00 Schmitt: ...I don't under...

168:54:01 Parker: ...at the map here...

168:54:01 Schmitt: ...I don't unders(tand)...

168:54:02 Parker: ...and if you keep going straight to the LM, you're probably going to run into this crater area around San Luis Rey. You probably ought to head somewhat south of directly back to the LM, so we can at least tip the western edge of Sherlock and then pick it up and go from there back to the SEP. It looks like it might be rather rough there in that dotted-lined area, if you can look at the backside of your map, Jack.

[Bob is referring to the contour map on the back of the traverse map.]
168:55:29 Cernan: Bob, I've already been doing it. I'm at 244/1.7.

168:55:32 Parker: Copy that. Thank you.

168:55:34 Cernan: Already been doing that.

168:55:35 Parker: Okay.

168:55:36 Schmitt: And, Bob, about 200 meters back, we crossed back into our standard mantle surface of about one percent fragment cover...

168:55:44 Parker: Okay 200 meters back, you (garbled). Okay. Copy that.

168:55:46 Schmitt: ...(when we came) out of the block field, which...(Stops to listen; pause) (To Gene) I can see the LM.

168:55:55 Cernan: Yeah, I can see the LM. And there's Sherlock, where those blocks are.

[AS17-143-21871 to 21873 may be taken at about this time.]
168:56:00 Schmitt: Yeah, that's the block field, the Sherlock block field; that's right. That is a block field.

168:56:06 Cernan: Some big ones there.

168:56:07 Schmitt: Yeah. (Pause) Old Station 10. I might even call it "10 Alpha" in honor of the Apollo Program Office. The...

168:56:19 Parker: "10 Bravo", Apollo.

168:56:19 Schmitt: ...Apollo Spacecraft Program Office.

168:56:27 Schmitt: (Hearing Bob) Oh, that's right! "10 Bravo". I knew I'd never get that straight!

[Schmitt - "I think I was using 'alpha' or 'A' for 'Apollo', and Bob was using 'Bravo' in the sense of 'job well done'. It's possible that I had something going with those guys. It's possible, but I just don't remember."]
168:56:29 Parker: Do those blocks look like gabbros to you guys?

168:56:32 Cernan: How fast do you think we're going, Jack, without looking?

168:56:34 Schmitt: I think we're going about 18 clicks.

168:56:39 Cernan: Hey, you're just about right. (Pause) Seems like the first time we've been able to go downhill. (Laughs) Not really. (Pause)

[Schmitt - (Laughing very loudly) "That I remember!!"]

[Cernan - (Laughing) "The fastest we went was coming off of the Scarp and, for a short period of time, we did hit 17 clicks (kilometers per hour). But, here, I think we set this one up."]

[Schmitt - "Sometimes in my talk, I say that, in normal terrain you can push the Rover up to 10 to 12 clicks. But that, one time going downhill, we had it up to 18 kilometers per hour and regretted it. And we were bouncing."]

[Cernan - "But I do think that we set this one up; we wanted to go down in history. I was with Johnny Rutherford (an American race driver of Indianapolis or 'Indy'-type cars) one time. I'd asked him to give a talk about a year or two ago. Someone asked him a question and he was talking about being the fastest human or having the fastest time at Indy or something and I got up there and said that I didn't think that that was right. I said, 'I drove a little race car about 17 kilometers per hour on the surface of the Moon, and that makes me and Jack Schmitt the fastest race car drivers in the world. And he said, 'Well, what are you talking about?' And I said, 'When you add 17 kilometers per hour to the rate the Moon travels around the Earth..." (General laughter)]

[Journal Contributor Brian Lawrence notes, " Rutherford was born in 1938, drove in twenty four Indy 500s, his rookie year being 1963. He won in 1974, 76, and 80. I suspect that the occasion Gene mentions was soon after the 1973 event, because Johnny set a new one-lap record of 199.071 mph, and a 4-lap record of 198.413 mph driving a Gulf McLaren. Both records lasted until 1977 when they were beaten by Tom Sneva." Brian and I are both race fans, he of Formula 1, primarily, and me of Indy-cars, primarily.]

168:56:53 Schmitt: Pull close to this big block, if you can over here.

168:56:54 Cernan: Oh, yeah.

[AS17-143-21874 to 21882 are Jack's pictures of their approach to the big block near Sherlock Crater.]
168:56:56 Schmitt: And I'll try to get a reading on what it is.

168:57:00 Cernan: Some pictures of it as we come up to it.

168:57:02 Schmitt: Yep.

168:57:04 Cernan: Boy that's a big one. (Pause)

168:57:10 Schmitt: Watch it!

168:57:11 Cernan: (Garbled) (Pause)

[I have marked a likely candidate for this boulder on a high-resolution scan ( 1.5 Mb ) made from a print of AS17-2309. The candidate boulder is marked '168:57:10'. The distances from the photo stop made on the east rim of Gatsby at 168:51:03 and from the sample stop just north of Sherlock at 168:59:46 are consistent with the travel times. See, also, Figure 7e ( 0.8 Mb ) in the Professional Paper.]
168:57:21 Schmitt: Looks like our old friend, the subfloor...

168:57:21 Cernan: The subfloor.

168:57:22 Schmitt: ...isn't it?

168:57:22 Cernan: Yup.

168:57:23 Schmitt: Yep. Vesicular subfloor. Vesicles are about a centimeter maximum size. They look like they're fairly evenly sorted. And the rock itself seemed to be massive.

[Schmitt - " 'Evenly sorted' is an oxymoron. 'Sorted' implies that there's a non-random organization. 'Evenly sorted' means it's random. It's not very good jargon. It's used; but it's not very good jargon. And by 'massive', I mean that there is no other organization - the material within the vesicles didn't seem to have phenocrysts or alignments or anything like that."]
168:57:37 Cernan: 250/1.4.

168:57:38 Parker: 250/1.4.

[Unlike the LM, Geophone Rock, Turning Point Rock, and Tracy's Rock, this boulder is not readily apparent in the high-resolution pan camera image of the landing site taken from the Command Module.]
168:57:41 Schmitt: Okay, we're back into about a five percent rock cover as we cross the edge of the Sherlock block field.

168:57:52 Cernan: That's Sherlock over that rim over there.

[AS17-143-21883 to 21885 are the next in Jack's sequence of traverse photos. 21883 may show the Sherlock rim.]
168:57:53 Schmitt: Yeah. Yeah. (Pause) Once again, all these subfloor blocks look as if they're buried. Not mantled, necessarily, except maybe that one. That... Can you swing right, just a tad?

168:58:08 Cernan: That one's got the mantle blowing up on it, in it...

168:58:10 Schmitt: Yeah.

168:58:11 Cernan: ...in it's fractures and everything.

168:58:13 Schmitt: That's the best example of that, I think.

168:58:14 Cernan: Take a picture of that?

168:58:15 Schmitt: I got it. I got it. Watch....

168:58:16 Cernan: Got it; got it.

[AS17-143- 21886 is Jack's photo of the large block on the Sherlock rim.]
168:58:17 Parker: Okay. Now, do those blocks look like the same subfloor gabbro?

168:58:20 Cernan: Yeah, that's just got the mantle...

MP3 Audio Clip ( 15 min 30 sec )

168:58:22 Schmitt: Watch it! (Garbled) another one.

168:58:24 Schmitt: (Answering Bob's question) Yes. Everything in here, so far, is the tan-gray subfloor gabbro that I've seen. I haven't...Oh, there's one over there that's the blue-gray. But blue-gray is not abundant.

168:58:35 Parker: Okay. Copy that. (Pause) And, 17, as you're getting closer, we're going to want an LRV sample at 1.1 (km) on the range.

168:58:53 Cernan: Okay.

168:58:54 Schmitt: What are we now? 1.2?

168:58:56 Cernan: 1.2.

168:58:58 Schmitt: (To Bob) Okay. We'll try to get block and soil.

168:59:00 Parker: That'd be good.

[AS17-143-21887 to 21890 are taken during the approach to the next Rover sample stop. Note the distinctive rock above the TV camera in 21890 and compare with Gene's photo AS17-134- 20455.]
168:59:02 Schmitt: There's a fresh little pit. (Pause) Bob, I am continually impressed by the lack of exotic fragments in here.
[Schmitt - "Two or three kilometers away on either side, we're surrounded by highlands - high mountains with entirely different kinds of rocks. Yet I don't think we ever recognized any fragments of the breccias from the mountains. You would have thought that some would have been thrown in there in 3.8 billion years; but we just didn't see any. The interpretation, now, is that, at about 3.5 (billion years ago), there was a mantling of the dark pyroclastics with a little bit of orange soil mixed in. And then, over time, that's just been reworked into the soil and it's so fine grained that it may have absorbed fragments into it."]

[I asked about the depth of the regolith on the massifs, wondering if it was deep enough that you wouldn't get a lot of ejected fragments.]

[Schmitt - "It's deeper (than on the valley floor), but it should give you some instant rock - some regolith breccias. And those would survive if they were hard enough. They find stuff (from the Massifs) in the soil, but no coarse fragments."]

168:59:20 Cernan: Okay, Jack. How about picking out a place...

168:59:24 Schmitt: (Garbled) Okay. If you head into that little...Well, that's a crater there.

168:59:27 Cernan: Let me get around it. We can go a little bit further.

168:59:30 Schmitt: Yeah. Maybe...

168:59:31 Cernan: I'll go up on that flat area up there.

168:59:32 Schmitt: Yeah, yeah. (Pause) There are a lots of little fragments over there.

168:59:39 Cernan: "Flat area"; ha, ha. (Pause) (I can stop) any time.

168:59:46 Schmitt: Okay. Now swing a shallow turn. (Pause) Whoa. Well, I don't ...

168:59:51 Cernan: Can you get any of those?

[Jack's photos taken during the final approach to the sample site are AS17-143-21891 to 21893.]
168:59:53 Schmitt: Unfortunately, I can't see them (now, because they're in) the shadow (of the Rover).

168:59:56 Cernan: How about that one right in front of you, in front of the television camera shadow. See that little one up there? Right there.

169:00:04 Schmitt: With the...It's a little big, I think.

169:00:06 Cernan: Upper right...No, upper right. Straight up the line.

169:00:09 Schmitt: Oh, okay. Yeah. If you can get over there, I can get it.

169:00:12 Cernan: I can get there. (Pause)

169:00:19 Schmitt: Oh, I guess I had the wrong...I guess I wasn't looking at the right one. The (Rover) shadow is making it impossible to see down there. Now, see what you can get.

[During our review, Jack noted that, at this point, his voice quality changed dramatically as he looks down to see what he's doing, getting his chin as far down on his neck as possible.]
169:00:29 Cernan: Bob, we're at 253/1.1.

169:00:35 Parker: Copy that.

169:00:38 Schmitt: You're going to have to...If we do another sample, you're going to have to swing right so I can see. I can't see this way.

169:00:48 Cernan: Yeah. (Pause)

[That is, Jack wants Gene to turn toward the north so that there is no Rover shadow on Jack's side of the vehicle.]
169:00:53 Cernan: And 53 Yankee.

169:00:55 Parker: Copy that. Is that soil or rock?

169:00:59 Schmitt: That's soil. I can't see to get a rock.

169:01:03 Parker: Okay.

169:01:05 Schmitt: Go forward just a little bit, Gene.

169:01:06 Cernan: Okay.

169:01:09 Schmitt: Except you're going to get yourself in a box here.

169:01:12 Cernan: No, that's all right.

169:01:13 Schmitt: Whoa. (Pause) A little more, sorry. (Pause) (Head-down voice quality) Little more. Okay.

169:01:20 Cernan: Get it?

169:01:21 Schmitt: I will. (Pause) Got it.

169:01:30 Cernan: I can't see the LM anymore.

169:01:34 Schmitt: (Normal voice) Okay. The rock fragment...

169:01:36 Cernan: That's 54 Yankee. (Long Pause)

[They both take documentation photos. Jack's is AS17-143- 21894 and Gene's is AS17-134- 20455.]
169:01:50 Schmitt: Awgh! Okay. You got a rock right in front of you, don't you?

169:01:55 Cernan: I see it. (Pause)

169:02:07 Schmitt: Rolled over (the rock). Good old Rover.

[Cernan - "I think I was probably going pretty slow. As long as you don't hit those things hard and fast, you're okay. So I just went over it with the wheel."]
169:02:11 Schmitt: LMP frame for that sample (pause) looks like about six-zero.

169:02:19 Parker: Copy that.

169:02:24 Schmitt: Six-zero! Have I taken sixty pictures (since leaving Van Serg)? (Pause)

169:02:32 Cernan: Boy, these rock fields are something else again.

[AS17-143- 21895 to 21905 are Jack's photos taken during the next few minutes.]
169:02:35 Schmitt: Yeah, 60. Looks like some of our gray variety of subfloor up here, around the rim of that little crater. You know, I'm starting to think that maybe the gray, relatively-nonvesicular subfloor may be (the) deeper fraction, based on what we saw...Well, actually, though...Let's see, that could have been overturned. I don't know. (I'll) take that back. There just isn't much of it around here, although we saw a lot of it in the wall of Cochise.

169:03:23 Parker: Roger. We got that.

[Schmitt - "Obviously, I was just running something through my mind out loud and (when) it didn't make sense to me, I decided to forget about it."]
169:03:25 Schmitt: What do you think this is, San Luis Rey? We're at 252/0.9.

169:03:33 Cernan: I wouldn't doubt it at all.

169:03:35 Schmitt: I'll bet that's San Luis Rey.

169:03:36 Cernan: We're on the east side of it...Mariner and San Luis Rey. (Pause) They're shallow (and) filled with rocks.

[As shown in AS17-143- 21906, Gene takes a turn to the south, probably to get around a crater. Frames 21907 and 21908 are subsequent traverse photos.]
169:03:53 Parker: As close as we can tell, you're at one or the other of them.

169:03:55 Cernan: Boy, I tell you they're a lot...(To Bob) Okay. We're at 250/0.9.

169:04:00 Parker: Copy that.

169:04:01 Schmitt: Mariner should look pretty fresh. (Long Pause) Boy, I certainly don't see much variety other than the gray and the tan subfloor varieties. There's old Challenger.

169:04:29 Cernan: There she is. Pretty as a picture. (Pause)

[Schmitt - "I have an image of what the Challenger looked like coming back from Station 5 on the second EVA, but not from here."]

[Cernan - "Me, either."]

[They both take pictures. Jack's is AS17-143- 21909. The LM is just to the left of center, as indicated in a labeled version. Gene's photo is AS17-134- 20456. The LM is just under the angle of the high-gain.]

169:04:39 Cernan: Boy, I tell you, there's no getting out of this stuff (the boulder fields). You go from one to the other.

169:04:44 Parker: Okay, 17...

169:04:45 Schmitt: I don't know whether I said it or not...

169:04:46 Parker: Gene, at a range of 0.1. We're going to deploy the quarter-pound charge, and that'll be Jack's getting off to deploy it like we talked about last night.

[Bob's reference to "last night" may be an indication of how tired he is, as well. I haven't been able to find a discussion of this EP deployment during the closing stages of EVA-2 or during the subsequent discussions in the cabin. More likely, Bob is referring to the EVA-3 pre-brief conducted while Gene and Jack were eating breakfast. It is now about 10:30 in the evening in Houston and, like everyone else, Bob has had three long days.]
169:04:57 Cernan: Okay. (Pause) That's EP-2, Jack.

169:05:10 Schmitt: EP-2; right. (Pause) Bob, we're moving in and out of areas of, say, 1 percent to 5 -to-10 percent blockiness. And where it gets blocky, not only is it more blocky, but we seem to have more of the medium-sized craters in the range of 20- to 50-meter-diameter craters. (To Gene) That may be Mariner right there. (Pause)

[AS17-143- 21910 seems to be Jack's only traverse photo taken between the spot where they saw the LM and the fractured boulder at San Luis Rey mentioned at 169:07:24.]
169:06:03 Schmitt: How do you read, Bob?

169:06:04 Parker: Loud and clear. Loud and clear.

169:06:10 Schmitt: (To Bob) Hey...Van Serg, let me mention again, was an unusual experience in the plains geology here. (To Gene) That must be part of San Luis Rey or Mariner, one of them.

169:06:25 Cernan: Yeah That's pretty deep. Pretty deep.

169:06:30 Schmitt: Yeah, it is.

169:06:31 Cernan: It's really big.

169:06:34 Schmitt: Yep. (To Bob) We're at 252 and 0.6.

169:06:38 Parker: Copy that.

169:06:39 Schmitt: The crater on our left - that is, south of us - is a large crater. It's somewhat deeper than (other) craters of the same size (diameter) that we've seen. And it, too, though, has large blocks mainly in the walls, although there are blocks up here in the rim, occasionally up to 3 meters (in size). (Pause) Look at that string of blocks over there; that may be it (that is, San Luis Rey).

169:07:18 Cernan: Yeah.

169:07:19 Schmitt: That's an edge of a crater, I guess.

169:07:21 Cernan: Want a picture of that?

169:07:24 Schmitt: Got it. (Pause)

[AS17-143- 21911 may show the fractured rock at San Luis Rey. Frames 21912 and 21913 are taken during the remainder of the drive up to the point where Jack gets off west of the SEP transmitter array to deploy a seismic charge.]
169:07:30 Cernan: Look at the way that thing's fractured. Yeah, this is the San Luis Rey complex, because see how elongated it is?

169:07:37 Schmitt: Yeah. Yeah.

[Cuff checklist page LMP/CDR-28 shows a sketch of the complex. Compare with a detail from Apollo 17 Preliminary Science Report Figure 6-3.]
169:07:38 Cernan: Fact is, we're going to cut right through the western half here. (Pause) We're at 244/0.4.

169:07:51 Parker: Copy that.

169:07:53 Schmitt: Bob, I may have said early on - up there at Van Serg - that I saw subfloor, but we never did sample any that I know of. And the dust was thick enough that I'm just not sure. The breccias were the most obvious thing there.

169:08:12 Parker: Okay. Most interesting.

169:08:18 Schmitt: It might have been a window in the plains here, of some kind. But it's strange to see it there, with so much subfloor all around it that we saw. (Long Pause)

169:08:46 Parker: And, Jack, you're going to get a feedwater tone pretty soon.

169:08:51 Schmitt: Got it. (Pause as he switches to the Aux supply) Okay, I should be in Aux(illary) now.

169:09:06 Cernan: 252 and 0.2.

169:09:10 Parker: Copy that.

169:09:11 Cernan: There she (Challenger) is.

169:09:13 Parker: And as soon as we get to the 0.1 (range), let's stop and deploy the charge.

169:09:19 Cernan: All right. (Pause)

169:09:22 Schmitt: Okay. And then, I guess...(Pause)

169:09:28 Cernan: Then we'll head back to the LM.

169:09:30 Schmitt: Yeah.

169:09:31 Schmitt: I don't go to the...

169:09:32 Cernan: Unless you want to go to the ALSEP.

169:09:34 Schmitt: (Chuckles) I think I'm going to. When do I go to the...Oh, you go to SEP. That's right.

[After they unload the Rover at the LM, Gene will drive the Rover out to its final parking place near the SEP transmitter, a spot far enough east of the spacecraft that the TV audience on Earth can watch the launch. This final parking place is called the VIP site, recalling the close-in viewing stands at the Cape reserved for Very Important Persons.]
169:09:43 Cernan: Yeah, I go to SEP when I...Take the Rover around here.

169:09:44 Parker: We're going to let you play the Return-to-the-ALSEP game there, Jack. We've got a few things for you to do out there, when the time comes.

169:09:51 Schmitt: (To Bob) Okay. (To Gene) (Has the indicator cycled to) 0.1? No.

169:09:55 Schmitt: We're almost to SEP. We're about...

169:09:58 Parker: Rog. It'll be just short of SEP.

169:09:58 Schmitt: ...50 meters from SEP (transmitter).

169:10:01 Parker: Is it short of the antenna?

169:10:05 Schmitt: Well...

169:10:06 Parker: ...We'd like to have this...

169:10:07 Schmitt: ...You see, we can get to the end of the antenna...

169:10:09 Parker: No, no. Let's have it east of the antenna. If we are there, let's deploy it right where you are.

169:10:15 Schmitt: Okay. We're about 30 meters east of the antenna. How's that?

169:10:19 Parker: That sounds great.

169:10:25 Cernan: Okay. And we're measuring 221 and 0.2; 221 and 0.2.

169:10:34 Parker: Copy that. (Pause)

[The range reading of 0.2 indicates that the Rover navigation system thinks they are 150 to 250 meters from the SEP transmitter, an error of about 100 to 200 meters, depending on whether or not the indicator is about to click down to 0.1. This close to the SEP, the difference between the bearing readout of 221 degrees - about SW - at the true bearing of about 270 is almost meaningless. Further information of the cumulative range error becomes available when Gene gets back to the LM at 169:18:00.]

[Cernan - "It worked great. They knew where we were, even when we didn't."]

169:10:42 Schmitt: There's a rock (that) I stood up down there, and I want to get...

169:10:44 Parker: And it's EP number 2 that we're after, Jack, in case you didn't follow us.

169:10:46 Schmitt: ...It's the only dense (that is, fine grained) rock (I've seen)...(Stops to listen to Bob) Okay.

[Schmitt - "I'd probably noticed this rock during the first EVA when we were laying out the SEP. It was non-vesicular and fine grained, which was what attracted my eye."]

[This rock is sample 70215, an 8.11 kilogram piece of fine-grained basalt. It is the biggest rock that they brought back. Jack will collect it at 169:15:01.]

169:10:53 Schmitt: (To Gene) Hey, our gate's open.

169:10:54 Cernan: It's open!?

169:10:55 Schmitt: Yeah. (Pause) But it looks like everything's here.

[What Jack doesn't realize is that the rake, the scoop, and both of the extension handles have fallen off the Rover, somewhere between here and Station 9.]
169:10:59 Cernan: How about the big bag?

169:11:00 Schmitt: Big bag's there.

169:11:03 Parker: Is that the gate or the pallet?

[The geopallet is attached to the Rover chassis behind the seats. There is a latch behind Gene's seat and, behind Jack's seat, the pallet is attached to the geopost. If the latch on Gene's side was unlocked, then the pallet could pivot. The "gate", in turn, is attached to the pallet and is also hinged behind Jack's seat. The gate latch has been giving them trouble throughout the EVA and it seems most likely that it is the gate that is swinging open.]
169:11:04 Schmitt: It wouldn't dare run away.

169:11:05 Parker: The gate or the pallet?

169:11:08 Schmitt: (Probably mis-speaking) The pallet. I'm sorry.

169:11:12 Parker: Well, that's worse. (Pause)

169:11:17 Schmitt: Seems to ride all right that way. (Pause) Boy, that dust is getting into everything. (Pause) Dum-te-dum-dum. (Pause) Okay, I'm going to leave the gate like it is. Seems to be all right.

169:11:47 Cernan: Okay.

169:11:48 Schmitt: Okay; EP-2. (Pause) Where is that? There it is.

[The rack containing the explosive packages is mounted behind Gene's seat. In the picture Gene took at Station 9 of Jack mounting the Rover - AS17-134- 20453 - it is visible below the rake.]
169:11:57 Cernan: Hey, Jack. You're just going to walk back from here, aren't you?

169:12:00 Schmitt: I can, yeah.

169:12:02 Cernan: Well, why don't you just go turn the SEP receiver off? Oh, we did that. The receiver's all done.

169:12:07 Schmitt: Sure, the transmitter...But you've got to come out here anyway.

169:12:09 Cernan: Yeah, I've got to come out here. Forget it.

169:12:11 Schmitt: I can do it.

169:12:12 Cernan: No, I was just reading ahead, but no sense (in changing). Forget it.

169:12:15 Schmitt: One thing I want you... Okay. Pin 1. Pulled and safe. Pin 2. Pulled and safe. Pin 3 is pulled and safe.

169:12:27 Parker: Copied all those.

169:12:28 Schmitt: (To himself) And I'll try to put it in a depression. (To Bob) I'm going to put it in a depression, if you want. (Pause) Okay. (Looking at LMP-29) And then I've got to take a pan, huh? (To Bob) Will a "locator"...Yeah. How about a "locator" to the LM?

169:12:57 Parker: Be fine. (Pause)

[AS17-143- 21924 is Jack's "locator" from behind the Rover. Note that the rake and scoop are missing, having fallen off at some time since they left Station 9. The Big Bag is mounted on the pallet. Gene's comparable photo, taken from his Rover seat, is AS17-134- 20457. The SEP transmitter is to the right of the high-gain mast.]

[For future reference in determining the distance of the final Rover parking place from the LM, EP-2 is about 190 meters from the spacecraft.]

[Schmitt - (Comparing the EP-2 "locator" with the VIP site "locator", AS17-143- 21932) "It looks like Gene parked the Rover about a third closer (actually about twenty percent) and, when that thing went off, the back of the Rover must have gotten splattered a little bit. This business of the explosives packages brings up the question of long duration activities on the Moon away from a radiation shelter and what you would do in the event of a solar particle event. We didn't worry about them because we figured that the probability was low enough that we'd just deal with whatever happened."]

[Cernan - "And we couldn't have dealt with big ones."]

[Schmitt - "But if you're going to have a lunar base, you're going to have some kind of emergency capability. You'll have maybe a half hour - possibly as much as an hour - warning, although nobody's quite worked that out yet. But one way to deal with it is to excavate a trench with a linear charge, drive the Rover over it (to form a roof), get into the trench and, with an umbilical, attach yourself to Rover consumables. You have the walls protecting you and you can even think about putting low molecular weight material (e.g. water) in the floor of the Rover to give you additional protection. It's a neat idea; and it actually comes from Jim Blacic up at Los Alamos. And the reason I brought it up here is that people say, 'Explosives on the Moon!?' And you've got to remind them that we've already done that."]

[Cernan - "I was just thinking that it would be neat to be able to take a little tour back to the valley of Taurus-Littrow and see what things look like. See where the Ascent Stage hit (on the South Massif); see where the Rover is splattered with material from that bomb; see the remnants of the Descent Stage. Even if you had to do it remotely, I would really like to see what that area looks like."]

169:13:04 Cernan: You going to get on, Jack, or walk back? Dealer's choice.

169:13:07 Schmitt: I'll get on.

169:13:08 Cernan: Okay.

169:13:10 Schmitt: Okay. "Locator" to the LM. I'll give you a frame count, if I can read it: (Pause) 90. (Correcting himself) 92.

169:13:19 Parker: Copy; 92. (Pause)

169:13:29 Schmitt: (To Gene) You're going to have to go left a little, I guess.

169:13:33 Cernan: Go left?

169:13:35 Schmitt: To avoid the (SEP transmitter) antenna.

169:13:36 Cernan: Oh...

169:13:37 Schmitt: Yeah, we don't have to worry about it.

169:13:38 Cernan: ...we don't have to worry about it, but I will anyway.

[Because Gene removed the data storage unit at Station 9, the SEP experiment is now non-functional.]
169:13:41 Schmitt: (Now on the Rover, probably without his seatbelt on) Go ahead.
[Schmitt - "I think that I didn't bother with the seatbelt because I was going to get off in just a little ways to pick up the big rock."]
169:13:45 Cernan: Okay. I'll take it easy.

169:13:46 Schmitt: Oh, that's all right. (Pause) I want to point out a rock to you I set up on end (that) we need to get in a bag. You can let me off there and I'll carry it.

169:13:59 Cernan: Okay.

169:14:00 Schmitt: But drive close enough so I can reach down and use the Rover for support.

169:14:04 Cernan: Where is it?

169:14:05 Schmitt: It's out over here. Between the...

169:14:09 Cernan: On which side of that antenna?

169:14:11 Schmitt: It's...

169:14:14 Cernan: Oh, there it is. Right there?

169:14:15 Schmitt: No. No, it's out...It's near the LM.

169:14:18 Cernan: Oh, okay. (Pause) I can go across this thing (a SEP antenna wire). I already did. (Noticing a sample bag lying on the surface ahead of them) That bag is empty, isn't it?

169:14:24 Schmitt: Yeah, that's one I lost. I mean, (one) I dropped. (Pause)

[Schmitt - "I think I tried to do some solo sampling on the first EVA, and I think I'd dropped a sample bag."]
169:14:31 Schmitt: (Voice quality altered because he's got his chin down) Look's like you got over (the antenna wire).

169:14:32 Cernan: Yep.

169:14:33 Schmitt: Yeah. (Pause) I think it's that one there that's sort of dark.

[AS17-143- 21925 is taken at about this point and shows the dark rock. Note the Rover tracks and, beyond the LM, the ALSEP.]
169:14:50 Cernan: Up there, straight ahead?

169:14:51 Schmitt: Yeah.

169:14:55 Cernan: Bootprints are by it. That must be it.

169:14:56 Schmitt: That's it, yeah. Can you swing over so I can lean on the Rover when I pick it up?

169:15:00 Cernan: Oh. (Laughs)

169:15:01 Schmitt: That's good. No, that's good. That's perfect.

[ The sample is 70215, an 8.1 kg fine-grained basalt, the largest rock Apollo 17 brought back to Earth. AS17-143- 21926 is Jack's documentation photo of the sample location. AS17-134- 20458 is Gene's "locator". Note that the Rover tracks in the foreground are not particularly dark. Frames 20459 and 20460 are two subsequent photos Gene takes as he drives closer to the LM, and these show dark tracks.]
169:15:05 Cernan: Okay. You off?

169:15:07 Schmitt: Okay. I am now...I'd hate to get run over this late in the game. (Pause) Well, now, what did I do that for?

169:15:18 Cernan: (Laughing) What did you do? Kick it under?

169:15:20 Schmitt: Yeah. (Pause)

[Schmitt - "It's a classic, old comedy routine. You start to pick something up and you kick it out ahead of you."]
169:15:29 Schmitt: (Kneeling beside the Rover) Need your oil changed?

169:15:31 Cernan: Yeah. While you're under there, (laughing) would you check my transmission, please?

169:15:35 Schmitt: (Laughing)

169:15:37 Cernan: (Laughing) Any bubbles on the inside of the tires?

169:15:40 Schmitt: (Hearty laugh)

169:15:43 Cernan: Okay. Have you got it?

169:15:45 Schmitt: Yeah, I got it. Hey, Bob. I got my rock! It's halfway between the SEP and the LM. (To Gene, who has started to drive away) Wait, wait! Let me put it in the big bag. (Pause) It's in the big bag (garbled)...

[As described at 169:46:26, pieces of this rock were later put on public display and are the only pieces of the Moon that the public has ever been allowed to touch.]
169:15:58 Parker: Is this that brown one you saw out here before, Jack?
[This is a reference to Gene's discovery of a piece of brown packing material near here during the SEP deployment. The details are given at 123:03:34 and 123:28:18.]
169:16:00 Schmitt: (To Gene) Okay. Go ahead. (Answering Bob) No, it's a gray one.

169:16:05 Parker: Okay.

169:16:06 Schmitt: Oops

169:16:07 Cernan: Okay?

169:16:08 Schmitt: Yeah, I just lost a sample. (Pause) It's in my pocket, I guess.

[Jack is thinking about the sample he collected at Van Serg with the LRV Sampler and, just for a second, forgot that he had put it in his shin pocket at 168:25:35.]
169:16:11 Schmitt: Let me get some tongs.

169:16:13 Cernan: Okay. (Pause)

[Gene is wearing one pair of tongs on his yo-yo. Jack is getting a second pair off of the gate, rather than getting Gene's as he did at the end of EVA-2. See the discussion at 147:06:38 and following, and at 147:48:55 and following.]
169:16:22 Schmitt: Gene, you can go ahead. I'll walk back. (Garbled)
[Comm Break]


Geology Station 9 Apollo 17 Journal EVA-3 Close-out