Apollo 15 Lunar Surface Journal

The Green Boulder at Station 6a

Corrected Transcript and Commentary Copyright © 1996 by Eric M. Jones.
All rights reserved.
Scan credits in the Image Library
Last revised 29 August 2014


MP3 Audio Clip ( 2 min 07 sec ) by David Shaffer

145:01:13 Irwin: Okay; it looks like, from this position, I'd say that's probably Spur down there, the large one, Dave.

145:01:18 Scott: Oh, yeah. Definitely.

145:01:19 Irwin: Where you got blocks in...

145:01:21 Scott: Yeah.

145:01:22 Irwin: ...the north rim.

145:01:24 Allen: Beautiful, Jim. Try to get a lock on that beauty (meaning Spur Crater)...

145:01:25 Irwin: There's a real fresh one just down-Sun from here.

145:01:26 Allen: ...and maybe some other landmarks around it so we can drive down to it.

145:01:33 Scott: Oh, no problem there...

145:01:34 Irwin: No problem there.

145:01:35 Allen: Okay.

145:01:36 Scott: We'll get to Spur for you, no problem. (Pause) (To Jim) Get the readouts.

145:01:41 Irwin: Yeah.

145:01:44 Scott: Got to be careful you don't fall down getting out.

145:01:51 Irwin: Okay, the readings, Joe. 287 (heading), 347 (bearing to the LM), 06.9 (distance driven), 05.0 (range to the LM), 097 (Pause)

145:02:07 Scott: FM/TV.

145:02:09 Irwin: ...100, 80, 90 (battery numbers), and motor temps are lower limit.

145:02:15 Allen: Okay, Jim. Copied. And proceed carefully now.

[The bearing and range of 347/5.0 puts them near AX.9/77.8. They are actually at about AY.8/78.2.]

[Burst of static]

145:02:25 Scott: (Garbled) you ought to take that tool off of there. It's just hanging you up every time you turn around.

145:02:29 Irwin: I haven't had it on at all this morning, Dave.

145:02:31 Scott: Really? You haven't hung up on it?

145:02:34 Irwin: I haven't had it on.

145:02:35 Scott: No, the tool on the side of the Rover.

145:02:39 Irwin: Oh, I see.

145:02:40 Scott: Your feet keep hanging up.

145:02:42 Irwin: Man, is this a steep slope. (Pause)

145:02:51 Scott: It sure is, isn't it? (Pause) Joe, for lack of good antenna pointing, I'm going to bypass the TV this time.

MP3 Audio Clip ( 11 min 13 sec ) by David Shaffer

145:03:07 Allen: Okay, Dave. Whatever you say.

145:03:09 Scott: Going back (to) PM1/WB.

145:03:16 Allen: And, Dave, we're assuming that you can't get around to the right position...

145:03:19 Scott: The slope is...

145:03:20 Allen: ...beside the Rover to point that antenna adequately.

145:03:25 Scott: Yeah, that's right, Joe. And the slope is real steep. And, like I'd mentioned before, the sighting device doesn't transmit enough light to really make it very easy to find the Earth. I think it would take me a couple of minutes, there, just to find you, and I think you've seen the same thing. But if you would like, I'll give it a try.

145:03:45 Allen: Negative, Dave. We agree with you exactly. We're in good shape. Just proceed carefully on the soft powder.

145:03:56 Scott: Yeah, we're going to do that because it really is. (Pause) But you can't say that we didn't sample the Apennine Front.

145:04:07 Allen: Jim, did you turn the DAC off yet?

145:04:12 Irwin: Yes, I did, Joe.

145:04:14 Allen: Okay; good thinking.

145:04:15 Irwin: It's off, and I'm reading a half a Mag.

145:04:18 Allen: Okay.

145:04:19 Scott: (To Jim) Okay; let's attack that boulder. You got your hammer?

145:04:23 Irwin: (If you) put it back on (at Station 6), I do. Gonna be a bear (that is, it will be difficult) to get back up here, you know.

145:04:29 Allen: Hey, troops, I'm not sure you should go downslope very far, if at all, from the Rover.

145:04:37 Scott: (Responding to Joe) No, it's not far. Let me try it, Jim, you just stay there.

145:04:40 Irwin: I think we can sidestep back up.

145:04:43 Scott: It's not that hard.

145:04:44 Allen: Well, but make sure you check it now; just proceed carefully.

[Scott - "Can you image what's going on with the managers in the back row of the Control Center, the managers in the back row? They're NERVOUS. I've been there during other missions, and when they can't see...(As we've discussed) they're not familiar (with the field work) 'cause they haven't been out with us in the field. So the anxiety has to be really, really high in those positions. Especially since they saw us before, and now they can't see us. It's sort of amusing to think about what's probably going on back there."]

[Jones - "It looked pretty steep at Station 6, and you're talking about it being really steep here."]

[Scott - "Yeah. And, as we get to the next EVA at the rille, I know they were nervous and they didn't want us to go anywhere! They thought there was a cliff."]

145:04:50 Scott: Okay; I'm halfway, and I'll go back first. Why don't you stay there, Jim?

145:04:53 Irwin: Okay.

145:04:54 Scott: (I'll) come back up. (Pause) The Rover makes it feel so easy!

145:05:06 Irwin: I know it. (Pause) Should have parked right beside it.

145:05:13 Scott: Think I will.

145:05:15 Irwin: If you will, I'll walk down, Dave. Want me to carry some of those tools?

145:05:21 Scott: I can carry them easier.

145:05:24 Allen: Okay, Dave. How's the footing?

145:05:26 Scott: I think I'll...(Responding to Joe) Well, the footing is all right, except that you have to work pretty hard to get back up, so I think what I'm going to do...

145:05:40 Allen: Jim, are still up near the Rover?

145:05:41 Scott: ...as Jim walks down...Wait a minute until I get there, Jim.

145:05:45 Irwin: (Responding to Joe) Yes.

145:05:46 Allen: Jim, let's...

145:05:47 Scott: Hold on, Jim. Wait a minute, Jim. Don't go yet. Let me drive the Rover down there.

145:05:48 Allen: ...Ask you to walk around to the front there, and just take a general rough guess as to where the Earth is. You don't even have to use the sighting device. Point it about correctly, and we're going to give the TV a try.

[Scott - "What can they do, anyway?! Nothing!"]

[Jones - "They can't stand it, not being able to see what's going on."]

[Scott - "Right. They can't stand it. They can't do anything but worry; so it's better for them not to look! I can just see it now. 'Tell them to get the TV on! Get the TV on!'"]

145:06:02 Scott: (Quite calm) Oh, Joe. I can see where the Earth is in general. But we're going to make a change here. I'm going to drive down. If I get successfully down there, then Jim can walk down. So we don't have to expend all the energy.

145:06:18 Irwin: And there's a beautiful little rock track here! It went in a circular arc.

145:06:22 Scott: Really?

145:06:23 Irwin: Yeah! It rolled into the hill! It's amazing.

145:06:27 Scott: Well, photograph it.

145:06:29 Irwin: Yeah, I am. (Pause) Instead of going straight down the hill, it curved into the hill.

[If Jim did try to take a picture of the rock, it didn't expose properly. In both the collection at the Lunar and Planetary Institute and in the Apollo 15 Index of 70-mm Photographs the first frame on the magazine is AS15-90 - 12179, which is the down-Sun frame with which Jim started a pan shortly after 145:07:16.]
145:06:36 Scott: That right?

145:06:37 Irwin: Yeah. (Pause) A little angular fragment, Joe, about 2 inches long.

145:06:47 Allen: Roger, Jim.

145:06:48 Irwin: Came down slope...

145:06:49 Allen: Fantastic.

145:06:50 Irwin: ...curved into the hill and stopped.

[The static increases slightly, possibly as Dave climbs on the Rover.]
145:06:59 Allen: And, Dave, are you driving now?

145:07 04 Scott: No, Joe. I'll give you a call, Joe. Stand by.

145:07:16 Irwin: Meantime, I'll be taking a pan from here, Dave.

145:07:18 Scott: Yeah, good idea.

145:07:20 Allen: Good idea, Jim.

[In the background in Houston, we hear a snippet of Deke Slayton's voice.]
145:07:23 Irwin: Looks like it's going to be our high point.

145:07:25 Allen: Beautiful.

145:07:26 Irwin: It's the high point. (Long Pause)

[Jim's pan consists of frames AS15-90- 12179 to 12193. Assembly by Mick Hyde.]

[David Harland has assembled portions of the pan showing the view to the west and the green boulder.]

[Part of the Rover can be seen at the upper left in frame 12179.]

[Frames 12180 shows Hill 305 and Hadley Rille, and 12183 shows Pluton Crater in the North Complex.]

[Frame 12186 is centered on Mt. Hadley and 12187 shows the Swann Range with the Station 6a boulder at the lower right.]

[Frame 12188 is a superb view over the Station 6a boulder into the Swann Range. As indicated in figure 5-96 in the Apollo 15 Preliminary Science Report, the mare craters are members of the South Cluster.]

[The remaining frames of this first part of Jim's pan 12189 to 12193 show the inbound Rover tracks. As mentioned previously, in 12192 and the others, we see tracks made by all four wheels because of the slope.]

[There is no overlap between 12193 and 12194 which suggests that Jim stopped taking the pan while he watched Dave maneuver.]

145:08:22 Scott: Hey, Jim. Could you watch me as I back up here?

145:08:24 Irwin: Sure can. (Pause)

145:08:33 Scott: Got your eye on me?

145:08:35 Irwin: I have my eye on you.

145:08:37 Scott: Okay. I'm going to back up gently here.

145:08:43 Irwin: I think I'm going to move downslope a little bit.

145:08:46 Scott: (Under increasing static) You're watching me?

145:08:47 Irwin: Yeah.

145:08:48 Scott: How am I doing?.

145:08:50 Irwin: You're doing okay. (Pause)

145:08:58 Irwin: (Garbled) (Pause)

145:09:03 Scott: (Garbled)

145:09:05 Irwin: Is that right?

145:09:06 Scott: Yeah!

145:09:07 Irwin: I wouldn't know, but I would think you'd be better off with that weight uphill.

145:09:11 Scott: Yeah, I am. That's why I'm backing up. (Pause)

[Jim and Dave seem to be saying that the Rover will be more stable with Dave's weight on the uphill side. With the Rover pointed west, Dave's seat is on the uphill side and, by backing up a few tens of meters eastward, he can then go back into forward drive and make his way to a parking place below the boulder without having to put himself on the downslope side.]
145:09:18 Irwin: (Static diminishes) I'm going to finish my pan.
[The second part of Jim's Station 6a pan consists of frames AS15-90- 12194 to 12198.]

[Frame 12194 shows the multiple Rover tracks Dave made while he was backing the Rover.]

145:09:21 Allen: (Sounding exceptionally attentive) Roger, Jim and Dave. Proceed very carefully now, please.

145:09:26 Scott: Oh, we are. We're doing it really cool.

145:09:31 Allen: Super cool.

145:09:35 Scott: Super cool. (Long Pause)

[Figure 5-95 from the Apollo 15 Preliminary Science Report shows the two parking places Dave used at this stop. Note that the S-curve in the figure is not the path that Dave actually followed. As mentioned above, the dialog and the evidence in photos AS15-90- 12194 to 12198 indicate that Dave backed up until he was east of Jim and then started downhill.]

[Using the available evidence, I have sketched the manuevers Dave is more likely to have made.]

[Firstly, photos AS15-86- 11658 and 11659, which Dave takes at 145:15:16, shows the Rover at the second parking place with Jim standing beside it, holding it steady. Each of the frames is about 30 degrees wide and the approximate field-of-view in 11659 is indicated by the two blue lines extending northeastward. The solid red line within that field-of-view approximates the Rover tracks that can be seen behind the Rover in both photos.]

[Next, we note the position of the right front Rover wheel in 12179 and find the same location in 12193. This position is indicated by the lefthand upslope blue line in the revised plan view. The angular distance from the starting point of the right-front wheel to the left edge of 12194 where the Rover tracks Dave left while reversing leave the image is about 115 degrees. This direction is indicated by the righthand blue line. The solid red line within this multi-frame field-of-view approximates the part of the reverse track that we can see.]

[As mentioned above, the dialog suggests that Dave planned to drive in reverse far enough east so that he would be able to drive cross-slope to the new parking spot. This part of the drive is entirely conjectural. After reviewing a draft of the revised plan view in June 2003, Dave wrote, "It sure fits what I recall."]

145:10:10 Scott: How am I doing, Jim?

145:10:12 Irwin: Doing okay. Want me to come over there and get on?

145:10:13 Scott: Oh, no. Stay there.

145:10:20 Irwin: That pan's complete, Joe.

145:10:26 Allen: Roger, Jim. Copy that. And, understand you're proceeding down towards that large block now. (Pause)

145:10:40 Scott: Very gently. And I'll even put the old girl downhill (of the rock) here, Jim. (Pause) Sure is a big rock.

145:10:57 Irwin: Oh, I wish I had the sequence camera to take a picture of the Rover moving along there.

[Jones - "How would you characterize the drive down there?"]

[Scott - "Carefully. That's what you're hearing here. I'd have to think about it for a while, to recall exactly what we were doing. I can't give you a real time response."]

[Jones - "But you're moving as slow as you can?"]

[Scott - "Yeah. Very slowly. Very slowly. 'Cause it's steep, and it's hard to maneuver. I don't remember exactly which direction I went. The photos'll tell you that. One event among many. At the time, it wasn't all that significant (in comparison to the amount of time that Dave and I spent on it during the review or in comparison to the level of concern in Houston). In fact, I can see now why, perhaps, when we got to the rille (on EVA-3), they were worried and didn't want us to go down slope to the rille. They were spooked. We spooked them with all this. As you hear all this, it sounds terrible. It really isn't terrible, it's just that we're being careful. They're amplifying the hazard, because we are being careful; but we're not going to get in a box that we can't get out of. And, since we're there, we have a sense of the difficulty, and we're being very, very conservative on this. But I can just sense the energy in the control room (chuckling) about these two fighter pilots out there, swinging along, and they're going to lose the Rover or fall down and crash. Right? I just know that's what's going through the minds of all these guys that have never been in these situations. But the wording here, as you contemplate what's going on, is probably a little over-hazardous sounding. It was sporty, but that's why we're being real careful!"]

[Jones - "And it's the first time anybody's played with a slope this steep."]

[Scott - "And we're not sure of the Rover. How's it going to work? So we're just going very, very carefully. But poor, old Joe, I'm sure he's getting hammered. He's getting all kind of instructions."]

[Jones - "And they're imagining the Rover running off, down toward the mare, and you guys chasing after it."]

[Scott - "Absolutely. I'm sure they are. Well, maybe not that extreme...But it wasn't as bad as you might think it might be by listening to this. But it was very sporty, and that's why we were going very carefully."]

[Jones - "And the fact of the matter is that Jack and Gene worked on a steeper slope at their Station 6 on the North Massif with almost no comment. I mean, they got off the Rover and said, 'Gee, this is a steep slope!' And, in the comm from Houston, there isn't the level of tension that there is here...level of caution - that's the right word. And I think the difference comes from the experience of having watched you guys do this and then John and Charlie working on slopes on Stone Mountain."]

[Scott - "But was the material (at the Apollo 16 and 17 slopes) as soft and lacking cohesiveness?"]

[Jones - "It was pretty soft, but perhaps not as soft as here."]

[Scott - "The problem here is the slope and the softness, the lack of cohesiveness of the material. It's very loose. Very fine grained and very loose material. And that's what makes it really hard to move around. And that's why the Rover slides. Check 16 and 17. When they got off the Rover, did it start sliding down the hill? Ours started sliding down the hill, which says the material is loose. The Rover's very light, but it's heavy relative to the loose material and, therefore, the loose material starts losing its cohesiveness and the Rover starts sliding."]

[Jones - "You're not near the angle of repose, are you?"]

[Scott - "Well, we're not near that, 'cause that's something like 25 or 30 degrees. Pretty steep. But, for this soil with that load...Both things contributed to the problem. But, even driving the Rover, you can see the tracks were sliding, with just me on the Rover. So the problem is sliding in the soft material on the slope."]

[See photo AS15-90- 12194.]

[Scott - "And, had we had a firm base under us, it wouldn't have been near the problem. It's like being on snow on the side of a mountain. If the snow is firmly packed, the slopes don't effect you much. But, if it's powder, boy, it's hard to move in powder on a steep slope. And this is the same problem. In fact, that's a good analogy. Packed powder is not a big deal on a steep slope; soft powder is a big deal on a steep slope."]

145:11:06 Allen: And, Dave and Jim. When you stop, we'd like for you to just take a rough guess with that antenna. Give us the right switch setting, and we're going to give it a try with our big dish down here.

145:11:19 Scott: Okay. Stand by. (Not) too far from the rock. Okay; that's as good as we can do. (Pause)

[During the mission review, Dave was puzzled by his apparent statement that he was "too far from the rock" and then decided that he had actually said "Not too far" and that the VOX hadn't picked up the word "not".]

[Jones - "Is 'not' too short for the VOX to pick up?"]

[Scott - "With 'Too', you pop the VOX pretty easy. But 'not'..."]

[Jones - "Has a soft starting sound. I don't know if I've asked you this before, but I've wondered if the reason that the word 'okay' is used so much in Apollo is that it's something you use - consciously or otherwise - to trigger the VOX."]

[Scott - "No. 'Okay' is 'okay'. We never consciously tried to find a word to trigger the VOX. It's up to the VOX to get our words. That's the way it is. The people who designed the VOX designed it as best they could, to pick up the words. I don't ever remember any discussion about picking words to activate the VOX. Because, if the VOX only worked with certain words, you'd tell 'em to go fix it. And, actually, it worked pretty well. A lot better than it did in the early days of the program."]

145:11:31 Scott: Okay, Jim, you can come on down now.

145:11:33 Irwin: Yeah. (Pause) I'd estimate a, what, 20-degree slope?

145:11:42 Scott: I don't know.

145:11:44 Irwin: 15 or 20?

145:11:45 Scott: Closer to 15, probably. (Pause)

145:11:53 Irwin: Don't...

145:11:54 Scott: Yeah. Rover wheels slide...

145:11:58 Irwin: Although...See, the back wheel's off the ground.

145:12:02 Scott: Yeah. I think I'll get back on. (Pause) Tell you what, Jim. We'd better abandon this one.

145:12:14 Irwin: Afraid we might...

145:12:15 Scott: Here, come on down.

145:12:16 Irwin: ...lose the Rover?

[Scott - "(Laughing) Can you imagine the guys sitting in the back row, hearing to this conversation? Afraid we're going to lose the Rover."]

["And I guess there's no comment in here (that is, in the transcript) about the thing sliding down. Is there? It would be in the tech debrief. Probably a good thing we didn't say that."]

[In fact, there is no discussion in the Tech Debrief of the Rover sliding.]

145:12:17 Scott: Here, you come down and get on.

145:12:18 Irwin: Okay. (Pause)

[Scott, from a 1996 letter - "Because of the local changes in slope, this particular area was probably significantly steeper than the average slope of the Front at this elevation. And, when we tried to move up or down, the soil would give way and we would not go very far - that and the difficulty of bending the suit at the knee. It was also a situation in which, at the time, it was not clear just how we were going to extract ourselves, especially getting back on the Rover. At one point, I thought we might just need to walk the LRV down to a more shallow or firmer location. 'Tenuous' might be a good word for all of this!"]
145:12:20 Irwin: Well, let me take a picture here anyway.

145:12:22 Scott: Yeah take a picture. (Long Pause)

[Jim takes a stereopair, AS15-90- 12199 and 12200, and is careful to keep his shadow off the rock in these down-Suns.]
145:12:42 Irwin: Oh, you really...Let me hold that Rover and you come up and look at this, because this rock has got green in it, a light green...

145:12:48 Scott: Okay...

145:12:49 Irwin: ...color. Come on.

145:12:50 Scott: Okay; I'll just stand here until you're through...

145:12:51 Irwin: Yeah.

145:12:52 Scott: ...and then I'll go up and take a look at it.

145:12:58 Irwin: The first green rock I've seen. Light green.

145:13:01 Allen: Roger. We're copying all of it.

145:13:04 Irwin: Okay. Where do you want me to hold it?

145:13:07 Scott: Well, just...Come down and stand on your side.

145:13:08 Irwin: On my side?

145:13:09 Scott: Yeah.

145:13:10 Irwin: Okay.

[Scott, from a 1996 letter - "Jim's side is downslope, and he can keep it from sliding."]
145:13:11 Scott: You stand there and take a break.

145:13:12 Irwin: I'm taking one.

145:13:13 Scott: Okay. (Long Pause while Jim gets positioned)

145:13:26 Irwin: Okay.

145:13:28 Scott: Okay. Are you firmly situated there?

145:13:29 Irwin: Yeah.

145:13:32 Scott: Okay.

145:13:34 Allen: Dave and Jim, use your best judgment here, the block's not all that important, and we'd like you to spend most of the remaining time at Spur Crater. The remaining Front time, that is.

MP3 Audio Clip ( 10 min 48 sec ) by David Shaffer

145:13:48 Scott: Rog, Joe. We sure will.

145:13:52 Allen: And talk to us if we can give you any help here.

145:13:58 Scott: No, we're okay! It's just that this slope's pretty steep, and I'd just as soon not spend too much time here.

145:14:07 Allen: Yes, sir. We're hearing you.

145:14:09 Scott: It's a big breccia. That's all it is. (Pause) I don't see any green, Jim.

145:14:22 Irwin: About halfway up. Maybe you have to look down-Sun to see it. It looks like a light green layer. A fairly thick layer. Light green.

145:14:34 Scott: You mean on the surface?

145:14:36 Irwin: Yeah, on the surface.

145:14:38 Scott: Hey, you're right!

145:14:43 Allen: Can you photograph it, Jim?

145:14:48 Irwin: (Responding to Joe) I took a couple. (To Dave) Easy, Dave.

145:14:52 Scott: Yeah. Okay. (Pause)

145:15:03 Scott: Did you take it down-Sun?

145:15:04 Irwin: Yeah, I took two down-Sun at 7 feet.

145:15:16 Scott: Okay. (Pause) (I'll) take a couple of(pictures) cross-Sun here.

[Dave takes a stereopair, AS15-86- 11658 and 11659. He places his tongs on top of the boulder while he takes the pictures across the top. Note that the left-rear wheel of the Rover is off the ground. In June 2014, while helping Alan Bean research a new painting, Ulli Lotzmann realized that Jim is kneeling - not standing - at his side of the vehicle, holding on to it. It is a shame that he wasn't able to take a picture of Dave working at the rock.]

[Scott, from a 1996 letter - "It would have been quite difficult for Jim to pivot and bend back to point upslope for such a photo!"]

[The following is taken from a discussion Dave and I had at the start of our first mission review session.]

[Scott - "At one point, Jim and I almost had Al Bean do a painting of this scene. I researched pictures we took at the boulder because, if Al Bean were to do something that Jim and I thought was unique about our mission, what would it be?' So, we talked about it, Jim and I. And we came up with the operation on the side of the hill and the footprints and whatever. And we focused in on one photograph (AS15-86- 11659) I'd taken of the boulder in which I tried to get some scaling by putting my tongs on the boulder and, in the background, you can see the Rover with the wheel off the ground. And that's where Jim was holding it."]

[Jones - "I know the picture."]

[Scott - "And, in my mind, that's one of the better pictures of the mission, because it tells so much. (A) there's some great geology on that boulder; (B) there's the tongs; (C) there's the Rover; (D) we're on a hill; and so on. It's got a good story behind it. But the Rover was so light when we got off it, it was sliding down the hill, probably not only because of the slope but also the looseness of the material."]

[Jones - "It's a subtlety of the spoken communication that isn't apparent to a novice listener - that the Rover was actually moving. What it sounds like is that it was precarious and you were worried that it might start sliding."]

[Scott - "It actually slid a little bit. Or, it made enough movement that I knew it could slide. How far would it have gone? Who knows. We were in a new situation. It wouldn't have tumbled, because the center of gravity was so low. But the fact that it pulled the hill so easily and had such a nice footprint meant, maybe, it's like a feather."]

145:15:24 Irwin: Be great if we'd get some of that...

145:15:28 Scott: Yeah.

145:15:29 Irwin: ...green material.

145:15:30 Scott: I'll get it. I think I can get it with my tongs alright.

145:15:33 Irwin: (Garbled) (Long Pause)

[Scott, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "I pried a piece off with the tongs."]

[Irwin, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "There was a layer there."]

[Scott, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "In the central part of the boulder there was a very loose surface covering, which could be scraped off. You could see beneath it the lighter colored material, which we interpreted as green. I think that was because of the visors."]

[Irwin, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "Yes."]

[Scott, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "It was really a light grey, similar to the type of material we'd seen at the (north) rim of the fresh crater (at Station 6) and which we sampled. (The light albedo material at Station 6) was same material that was on that rock, although it was very loosely consolidated in the central portion of that large boulder. It could be scraped up as sort of a crust material on the boulder. I scraped it up with the tongs and put it in a bag. I also pried off a chip of the boulder, which appeared to be an Apollo-14-type breccia. The boulder appeared to be sitting on the surface. If I had to call that one, I'd call it upslope from the secondary (possibly meaning that it was material related to the South Cluster craters)."]

145:15:59 Scott: It seems to be a surface material, or else it's a very frangible clast in this big piece of breccia. (Pause) Dig my tongs into it. (Pause) Sure it's green and not just white albedo again? No, it's green.

145:16:22 Irwin: It looks green. And I noticed, just downslope from the rock, you kicked up the surface and there's some more green there. (Pause)

[They will find more green soil at Spur Crater.]
145:16:40 Scott: Getting a little.

145:16:50 Irwin: This rock is about 3 meters long.

145:16:57 Scott: Why don't you describe the thing, Jim, while I'm...

145:16:59 Irwin: Subangular, very rough-textured surface. And the surface that's (dramatic reduction in static) facing northwest is the dark, typical breccia. And it appeared to me like there's a layer there that might be a foot and a half, 2 feet thick, appears a light greenish color. Dave's sampling right now.

145:17:30 Allen: Roger, Jim. Copy you loud and clear. Superb.

145:17:36 Irwin: And on the side to the southeast is again the breccia! Isn't that right, Dave?

145:17:43 Scott: Yeah. And I got a little frag. Don't drop it. There. And I got some green, and I got a frag out of the breccia. (Long Pause) It's fairly loose breccia, as breccias go. (Pause) Oh, and there's a great big white clast on the inside, man, like an inch or so.

145:18:25 Irwin: If you want I'll (bring up a bag)...

145:18:26 Scott: No, no, I'll get it.

145:18:27 Irwin: Okay.

145:18:28 Scott: Stand there, let me work. (Pause) Easy does it. (Pause) There. Okay. (Pause) (Sample bag) 168, Joe. Got a little bit of the green (soil), and I got a chunk about 3 inches of the rock itself.

145:19:04 Allen: Roger, Davy. Copy.

[These are samples 15400-405. Sample 15405 is a 513 gram piece of "slightly recrystallized breccia". When these samples - and similar samples collected at Spur Crater - were examined after the mission, they proved, indeed, to have a green color due to an unusually high abundance of magnesium oxide. The authors of the Apollo 15 Preliminary Science Report concur with the crew's assessment that the Station 6 boulder is related to the South Cluster impacts.]

[Scott - "Can you imagine finding a green rock on the Moon? Think about that. We'd never had any green rocks in training. Nobody'd ever said anything about green rocks - orange, or anything - and all of a sudden you're sitting there and (you find a green rock)..."]

["I missed it; Jim saw it. I didn't see it; and then I saw it; and it was really green."]

["You're sitting there, and you're supposed to be a geologist on the Moon, exploring, and you're thinking about plagioclase and breccias and basalt and all that sort of stuff. And, all of a sudden, you find green. And nobody has ever told you ever before, in any class that we could remember (about anything green) - other than olivine, and this clearly was not olivine - and, all of a sudden, you've got green! Man, that's something you go for regardless of how steep it is. I mean, I was ready to give up and head on (to Spur), because of the difficulty (of the slope), until Jim saw the green. I was still skeptical about that; but, when I got up and saw the green I thought, boy, this is good stuff. And part of the fun of it was finding something that nobody'd ever talked about."]

[We turned the tape off and looked in the Preliminary Science Report and saw that, as shown in Figure 6-13, the green material has a high abundance of MgO rich, green glass spheres. The glass spheres may have been produced, originally, in fire-fountains at the edge of the Imbrium Basin and, at some point, were incorporated into the breccia.]

[Scott - "It makes sense that it's part of fire-fountains on the edge of the Imbrium Basin, when it was formed. And a chunk of breccia was part of that cataclysm and whatever and it picked up some of the glass. It's been explained to me that there were these vast fire-fountains on impact, when the Imbrium Basin was created. So this could be part of that, where the rock was mixed with the glass."]

[Before rejoining Jim, Dave takes "after" photos AS15-86- 11660 and 11661.]

[In frame 11661, notice that Dave has his tongs embedded in the debris on the top of the rock. He collected samples at the right center, as can be seen by comparing 11659 with 11660 and 11661.]

145:19:10 Scott: And I think we'll call it quits on that one.

145:19:12 Allen: Sounds good, Dave. We're interested in moving towards Spur...

145:19:15 Irwin: It's going to take us awhile.

145:19:16 Allen: ...but carefully.

145:19:17 Scott: Yeah. 'But carefully.' Okay, Jim. Just stand right there and let me ease on down.

145:19:25 Irwin: Yeah. It's going to take us a while to work downslope.

145:19:28 Scott: Yeah. (Pause)

145:19:39 Irwin: I think it'll probably be best for you to get on first.

145:19:41 Scott: Yeah, I think so. (Pause)

[Dave is getting on the upslope side of the Rover, so he doesn't have to jump very high and can let gravity do much of the work. Jumping onto the downhill seat would be much more difficult.]
145:19:59 Scott: (I'll) put this where I won't lose it.

145:20:01 Irwin: Hand it to me, I'll put it under my seat.

145:20:03 Scott: I can put it under mine. (Pause) It won't go anywhere. Trouble is, if I get on first, I'm not sure you're going to have a seatbelt.

145:20:12 Irwin: Well, I don't know that I want to drop it. I can hold on. We're not going to go that fast here.

145:20:20 Scott: That's for sure. Okay. (Pause) Okay, I'm on.

145:20:35 Irwin: Are you going to be able to strap in?

145:20:37 Scott: Yeah, let me strap in.

145:20:42 Irwin: Okay...

145:20:43 Scott: Just a minute. Let me get settled down here first.

145:20:45 Irwin: Okay. (Pause)

145:20:52 Scott: Tell you what might be better, Jim. Let me ease on down the hill here to a flatter spot for you to get on. Okay?

145:21:01 Irwin: Okay; yeah! No sweat.

145:21:03 Scott: You see right at 1 o'clock there, it levels out in that little depression. (Pause)

145:21:09 Irwin: Right down here? Okay.

145:21:10 Scott: Okay. Look, why don't you move back there and let me ease the thing down. Move away from it, so I won't hit you.

145:21:19 Irwin: Yeah, let me back off.

145:21:24 Scott: Okay. Back off good.

145:21:29 Irwin: Yeah. In fact, I'd just as soon meet you down where it's level.

145:21:34 Scott: What?

145:21:35 Irwin: If you want, I'll meet you at Spur.

145:21:36 Scott: Oh, no! (Pause) Just going to go right down here. (Pause) Easier for you to get on. (Pause)

145:21:52 Irwin: Just so you stay uphill. The uphill side.

[Apparently, Jim has decided that it would be easier to get seated if he were slightly below the Rover, rather than slightly above.]
145:21:57 Scott: Yeah. (Pause) There. That's a nice spot, right there.

145:22:07 Irwin: Okay. (Pause)

145:22:11 Scott: There. Okay? (Pause) Why don't you grab your seatbelt and let me hold it for you, and maybe you can give it a try.

145:22:28 Irwin: No, I'll just hang on, Dave. (Pause)

145:22:32 Scott: Easy, easy.

145:22:36 Irwin: Okay.

145:22:38 Scott: Okay?

145:22:39 Irwin: I'm ready.

145:22:40 Scott: Okay. (Pause) Okay, Joe. We're mov...Moving now.

145:22:47 Allen: Okay, Dave. And, Jim, if you can easily turn the camera on, might be a good place.

145:22:56 Irwin: No chance right now, Joe.

145:22:58 Allen: Oh, okay.

145:22:59 Scott: Not now, Joe, let us ease our way down.

145:23:01 Allen: Okay. (Long Pause)

[Jones - " I take it that Jim's holding on with both hands. Tight. (Dave and I had a good laugh) There was a lot of overhead for that sample."]

[Scott - "A lot of overhead. But, again, it's a different sample, different from anything before, that we're aware of."]

145:23:12 Scott: You okay, Jim?

145:23:13 Irwin: Oh, yeah!

145:23:19 Scott: I'll take a little right turn here. Okay. Came up all right; we should be able to go down all right.

[Jones - "Normally, you didn't warn Jim when you were making turns, but he isn't belted in here. Is that what's going on?"]

[Scott - "We were going so slow...I'm just talking to myself."]

[The drive started at about 145:22:44 and ended at about 145:25:32. In those 2 minutes 48 seconds, Dave covered a straight-line distance of about 230 meters. The implied speed is 4.9 kilometers per hour, roughly half their normal pace. As can be seen in AS15-90- 12214, which is a frame from Jim's Station 7 pan. The Station 6a is two fiducial marks up and one to the right of center. The Rover tracks can be followed most of the way down. The place where the tracks almost reach the right edge of the frame may be where Jim climbed on.]

145:23:28 Irwin: Going down's a little more tricky.

145:23:30 Scott: Yes. Oh, we can get a little a couple of Christies here and there.

145:23:37 Irwin: Rover Christies.

145:23:39 Scott: (We're) heading right for Spur, Joe. (Pause)

145:23:45 Allen: (Responding in German) Ausgezeichnet.

[Scott - "It means 'wonderful'."]

[My thanks to Journal Contributor Roland Speth for providing the correct spelling. Roland comments, "Joe's pronounciation is pretty good."]

[After we finished the day's work and had dinner, Dave went back to his room at Santa Fe's La Posada Hotel - host for many of the review sessions - and thought about the meaning of 'Ausgezeichnet'. See his comment at 146:58:34.]

145:23:47 Scott: (To Jim) Not bad, is it? (Pause) Jog here.


Journal Home Page Apollo 15 Journal Index Station 7 at Spur Crater