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Drilling the Deep Core

Corrected Transcript and Commentary Copyright © 1996 by Eric M. Jones.
All rights reserved.
Scan credits in the Image Library.
Video credits in the Video Library.
Except where noted, audio clips by Roland Speth.
Last revised 27 July 2014.

[Having abandoned the Heat Flow Experiment, Charlie skips over the procedures on LMP-14, LMP-15, LMP-16, and LMP-17 and starts the deep core as per LMP-18.]
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121:25:36 Duke: (Matter-of-factly) Okay, Tony, starting on the deep drill. (Pause)

[Charlie will now drill a deep core hole, using four 60-cm stem sections. After drilling the hole, he will use a jack-and-treadle to extract the core and then will break the individual stems loose and cap them.]

[Houston is still trying to decide if Charlie should go ahead and drill the core hole; but he is way out in front of them. Fendell pulls back on the zoom and pans right. He finds Charlie just as he stabs the first stem in the ground and starts to drill.]

121:25:46 Duke: Mark. (Pause)

121:25:51 Duke: Mark. That one went in like gangbusters! (Pause)

[The first drill stem went in in just under five seconds. Charlie goes for the wrench as Fendell zooms in on him. Charlie has only left himself about 10 cm of stem above ground.]
121:26:04 England: Okay, we copy that, Charlie, and hold back on that drill a little bit. It'll probably try to auger in on you a bit.

121:26:12 Duke: Okay, I will. Yeah, that penetration rate was a little fast. Thanks for reminding me.

[A slower drilling rate will yield a more compact core that will better preserve layering in the soil.]
121:26:22 Duke: Tony, if there is some way we could get that (heat flow) connector off of there, we might be able to take the whole...the electronics (back into the LM)...Naw, we can't do that either; the whole thing's hooked up. (Long Pause)
[They would have to bundle the cable around the box and then remove the probe from the first hole and bundle that so that the entire package would be small enough to get through the hatch. Such a procedure would be time consuming and might not be successful.]

[Charlie leans forward with his left hand on the drill and his feet out behind him and puts the wrench on the core stem. He gets up and tries to break the drill free. Apparently, the wrench is not gripping, because the drill turns freely.]

[In the background, John carries the magnetometer west of the Central Station and puts it down, out of the way, as per CDR-20. Next, he will erect the Central Station.]

[Charlie goes to his knees to re-position the wrench. It appears that, because of the internal pressure of the suit, he isn't able to get all of his weight on his knees and, while he is down, supports himself with his right hand on the drill. He is unable to get the wrench on the stem and gets to his feet to adjust it.]

121:27:15 Young: Okay, the LSM is on the surface. I'm going to deploy the Central Station.

121:27:19 England: Okay.

[Comm Break]

[Charlie leans on the drill and reaches down with his right hand, this time, to attach the wrench. He starts to lose his balance and begins to rotate to his right. He hops forward on his right leg and regains his balance.]

[Fendell pans right to watch John.]

[In Houston, Lovell tells Flight that the Science Support Room would like to have either John or Charlie spend a minute or two examining the Heat Flow connector and, if possible, give Houston a TV close-up of it. Fendell goes to maximum zoom and the idea of a TV close-up is quickly abandoned. Tony England joins the conversation and points out that John has already described the break twice and that there is nothing to be gained from another examination.]

[As per Item 2 under "Erect C/S" on CDR-20, John is using the UHT to release five Boyd bolts on the south side of the Central Station. After he gets those, he uses the UHT to try to clear the various ribbon cables off the top of the Central Station so that they won't be in the way when he finally raises it.]

[Training photo 72-HC-137 shows John at an earlier part of the ALSEP deployment and a labeled detail indicates the locations of four of the many Boyd bolts.]

121:28:48 Young: These wires have...They have memory in them, and they stay crinkled up in odd manners here. I didn't realize that.

121:29:00 England: All right, John; we can sure see that. (Long Pause)

[John releases Boyd bolts on the east side of the Central Station and then goes around the west side - stepping carefully over the magnetometer and RTG cables - as per the first item on CDR-21.]
121:29:21 Duke: Okay, Tony; I had a tough time getting the bit (means the drill) off the first stem. Got a little dusty in there, but I got it cleaned out.

121:29:36 England: Okay. (Long Pause)

[Duke, from the 1972 Technical Debrief - "The only problem I really had (with the core) was when I tried to get the drill head off to add another stem. It seemed to be real tight and didn't want to unscrew (from the stems). That happened on all three sections. I really don't know why. I checked and it didn't look like I was galling any of the threads. The stem threads on the stem side all looked clean and weren't galled. When I put them stem to stem, they went together real easy, but, when I tried to get the drill head off, it was hard to get off. But, once I broke it loose, it unwound easily. I had to really make a conscious effort to make sure that the drill stem did not unscrew (meaning "turn") in the ground. It really wanted to back off. When I tried to put the wrench on it and unscrew the drill, the whole thing would turn and I really had to make an effort to stop that."]
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121:29:52 Duke: Uh-oh.

[Charlie has fallen and we see a spray of dust at the bottom of the TV picture.]
121:29:55 Young: Just a minute, Charlie.

121:29:56 Duke: Fell down. (Long Pause)

[John may have seen Charlie's fall and, if so, is offering to help him get up.]

[Fendell pans left to find Charlie. He is on his knees, leaning far forward with his right hand on the protruding core stem. He is trying to attach the wrench with his left hand. He seems to give up on the wrench for the moment and, in trying to get up, he lifts off his knees, pulls his feet in toward the core stem, and kneels again - all the while keeping his right hand on the core stem. Finally, he releases his grip, pushes up with his legs, and then runs forward to get his balance. In comparison with John's easy rise at 121:22:05, Charlie has expended a lot of excess energy.]

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121:30:17 Duke: (Grunting) Agh! There we go.

[Comm Break]

[Fendell pans right to watch John, who is still working at the north side of the Central Station. He discards what is probably the cover mentioned in Item 4 on CDR-21. This is probably one of the objects in AS16-113- 18345. John then uses the UHT to pull the lanyard mentioned in Item 4.]

[Fendell pans left to watch Charlie as he attaches the drill to the drill string. It looks as though he has attached two sections to the one in the ground.]

121:31:41 Duke: I bet you that looks like a comedy of errors on the tube. (Garbled) got a little dusty.

121:31:47 England: Nah; it's coming along fine there, Charlie. (Pause)

121:31:56 Duke: The problem is that the bit won't stay stuck in the ground; and when I try to get this stuff on, it spins the whole deal, instead of the...(Pause)

[Charlie attaches the wrench to the drill string at about waist height to keep the stems from turning as he locks the drill on.]
121:32:33 England: That's a new one. (Long Pause)
[Tony is probably referring to Charlie's new wrench procedure. After some struggles, Charlie gets the drill on to his satisfaction and stow the wrench on the rack.]

[Jones - "15 and 17, Dave and Gene (the Commanders) did the drilling. Do you remember any discussions on how the tasks were going to get split up?"]

[Duke - "No. (Pause) I think I followed the development of the drill and the changes of it, so it just seemed like I was the appropriate person to do it."]

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121:33:11 Duke: That drill (means the wrench) is so good it's hard to get off.

121:33:18 England: Right.

121:33:19 Duke: I mean, not the drill but the bit...(Correcting himself) the wrench. Okay, second one going in, Tony.

121:33:24 Duke: (Starting to drill) Mark. (Pause)

121:33:32 England: Right. Don't hurry it.

121:33:33 Duke: I'm holding back on it this time.

121:33:34 England: Good show. (Long Pause)

121:34:16 Duke: Mark. (Pause)

[ This drilling session took about 52 seconds. The slower pace was partly due to Charlie's efforts to restrain the drill but, also, was due to the fact that, below a few inches, the soil is very compact. Charlie has left perhaps 30 cm of core stem sticking out of the ground so that he won't have to get quite so low to attach the wrench.]
121:34:22 Duke: Okay, the second one went in with no problem, Tony.

121:34:24 England: Good show. (Pause)

121:34:34 Duke: Man, what a place. (Long Pause)

[Fendell pans right and finds John standing on the south side of the now-erect Central Station. Readers should note that Charlie has regained his composure. John won't rejoin the joking for another half hour or so.]
121:34:54 Young: Okay, the Central Station is erected.

121:34:58 England: Okay. (Pause) And you're Go for the shorting switch when you get there (in the checklist as per CDR-23).

121:35:09 Young: Okay. (Long Pause)

[John detaches the Central Station antenna which has been lying on the top. He pulls something off the side of the Central Station and drops it, and then consults his checklist before he starts circling the Central Station to his left to adjust the side curtains. These curtains provide thermal protection for the cavity in the center of the Station and, presumably, provide a stable thermal environment for the electronics in the base of the Station. While working on the northeast corner, he removes and discards another cover or piece of packaging material. This may be one of the objects in AS16-113- 18345.]

[We can hear Charlie's breathing as he struggles with the drill.]

121:35:47 Duke: That beauty just doesn't want to come off. (Long Pause) Okay, last one (meaning the fourth drill stem) going on, Tony.

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121:36:49 England: Okay.

121:36:50 Duke: (Somewhat out of breath) Then we'll see if we can get that beauty out of the ground.

121:36:57 England: Ah, think positive, Charlie.

[Dave Scott had a terrible time removing the deep core. He did not have a jack and, in the end, he and Jim Irwin had to put their shoulders under the drill handle and lift with their legs to pry it out. Charlie will have a much easier time.]

[As shown in Figure 10-3b from the Apollo 16 Mission Report, Charlie's peak heart rate during this period is over 120 beats per minute. In Figure 10-3a, we see that John's heart rate has been under 90 throughout most of the ALSEP deployment.]

121:37:04 Duke: Boy, all the sections are like that first one (meaning that the stems turn in the hole when he tries to attach the next stem). (Pause) (Thinking about extracting the core) (It feels like I could) pull it right out of the ground; but I don't think that's true. (Long Pause)
[Fendell pans left and finds Charlie threading the fourth core stem. Charlie isn't sure it's secure and drops to his knees, holding onto the drill string with his right hand. After checking the joint, he rises vertically, using the drill string to keep himself steady and, as he gets vertical, kicking his feet under himself. This is a good illustration that it is stability and not strength that is the key factor in getting up. Once up, Charlie grabs the drill.]
121:37:52 Duke: I tell you, this ain't the cleanest place I've ever been in my life. Ooh! Dust is everywhere. (Long Pause)
[Charlie raps the drill a few times with his hand to clean the dust off. This time, he gets the drill on without having to hold the string with either his hand or the wrench.]
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121:38:19 Duke: Okay, last one, Tony.

121:38:21 Duke: Mark.

121:38:23 England: Okay. (Pause)

121:38:28 Duke: And I feel a little clutch slippage, but not much.

121:38:34 England: Okay. Just take it slow and easy.

121:38:38 Duke: Slowly going in. (Responding) That's what I'm doing; just letting it do the work. (Long Pause)

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121:39:42 England: All right, Charlie. Remember to spin it free...

121:39:44 Duke: Mark.

121:39:45 England: Spin it free for 15 seconds without letting it go down if you can (as per LMP-19).

[Charlie backs away to make sure he has left about 8 inches (20 cm) of stem protruding.]
121:39:51 Duke: I am. I was just going to see if I was down far enough.

121:39:54 England: Okay. (Pause)

[Charlie grabs the handles and pulls up with some force and he runs the drill. He lifts the drill about 10 to 20 cm.]
121:40:03 England: Beautiful. (Pause)
[Charlie gets his hands under the handles and, without the drill running, tries to lift it. He gets only an inch or two.]
121:40:09 England: Don't strain yourself there, Charlie.
[Charlie pulls two more times and makes only a little more progress. The drill handles are at about hip height.]
121:40:13 Duke: I'm not. (Pause) I think I better use the jack.

121:40:22 England: Okay.

121:40:23 Duke: (Getting the wrench) When I was spinning it free, Tony, I felt like it was going to come right on out; but it's sort of hung up now.

121:40:35 England: Okay, we understand.

121:40:36 Duke: I got it out about one stem width...(Correcting himself) length.

121:40:40 England: Okay. (Long Pause)

[Duke, from the 1972 Technical Debrief - "Once I had it in, I did 15 seconds of clearing the flutes. While I was doing that, I tried to pull up and the thing just came right on out of the ground. I pulled up 4 or 5 inches. It was coming out easy. I said, 'Man, it is going to be a piece of cake to get this out of the ground. I stopped the flute-clearing activity and then I tried to pull it out of the ground. Boy, I couldn't budge it. I took the drill head off, capped it, and used the jack on it."]

[Fendell pans right and finds John standing on the north side of the Central Station. He has attached the C/S antenna as per CDR-23. AS16-113- 18357 is a good picture from South of the Central Station showing the antenna and the gimbal assembly with which John will aim the antenna.]

121:41:16 Duke: For some reason, that thing is hard to unscrew off. There we go. (Pause) Hey, Tony, I'll save the drill just in case we can...y'all can come up with an answer on that heat flow.

121:41:34 England: Okay. (Pause)

[We see John using the gimbal assembly to aim the Central Station antenna. With the station level and aligned, he can go to pre-determined values of azimuth and elevation which are listed on CDR-23.]

[Fendell pans left to watch Charlie.]

121:41:46 England: And, Charlie, when you get that core out, we would like you to measure the hole with the rammer jammer.

121:41:52 Duke: Yeah, I am. (Pause) Okay, right in here, Tony; we really sink in on that rim of that little crater. (Pause)

[Charlie is running to the Rover to get the jack. He is using his skip stride. The crater in question is on the right side of AS16-113- 18365.]

[Jones - "The rims of those small craters, if they were reasonably fresh, were usually soft. Were there places where the bottoms of craters were soft, too?"]

[Duke - "Uh-huh. (In) those small ones, you seemed to sink in a little bit more than on just the normal regolith. And I don't know why that was - whether it was just more dust that had accumulated in there, you know, slumping down from the rim or whatever."]

121:42:11 Duke: How's your TV?

121:42:12 England: Excellent. Outstanding.

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121:42:17 Duke: Good. (Pause)

[Fendell pans left but, after getting a brief view of John, who is still aligning the Central Station antenna, all we see is a close-up of the right side of Charlie's suit.]
121:42:24 England: And if you get tired there, Charlie, (while removing the core) just take a break.

121:42:29 Duke: No, I feel good. (Pause) Don't know how good I look. (Pause)

[Charlie moves out of the way and we see John raise his left arm. He may be using a wrist mirror to sight along the antenna at Earth. He donned the mirror as part of the Equipment Prep procedures listed on checklist page 2-5.]
121:42:48 Young: Hey, Houston. I think the antenna is aligned and pointing at you.

121:42:55 England: Okay, John. (Pause)

121:43:03 Young: And it's level; believe it or not. (Pause)

[Charlie heads for the drill site with the jack.]
121:43:16 England: (Commenting on Charlie's transmission at 121:42:29) And, Charlie, Deke (Slayton) says you don't look any better than normal.

121:43:24 Duke: (Laughs) If the boss says that, I agree with him; yes, sir. (Pause)

[John starts toward the Lunar Surface Magnetometer (LSM) with the UHT but remembers that he hasn't disabled the shorting switch as per CDR-23, and returns to the Central Station. With the shorting switch out, current from the RTG flowed through some resistance to mimic the load of the ALSEP experiments. John will now depress the shorting switch with the tip of the UHT to divert the current to the experiments.]
121:43:32 Young: Okay, Houston. We're going to push the shorting switch.

121:43:36 England: Okay. (Pause)

[At the left side of the TV picture, Charlie goes to his knees, possibly to remove the wrench from the drill stems before sliding the treadle - which has a hole in the middle - onto the stems. He rises after a few seconds. Figure 24 from Judy Allton's Apollo Tool Book shows the treadle being used during training. Note that the suited figure in this photo has dark bands on his legs and, therefore, is a mission commander. The photo was first published in an August 30, 1971 Martin-Marietta Report, MCR-71-35, "Familiarization and Support Manual for Apollo Lunar Surface Drill". The report was published less than a month after the end of Apollo 15 and the astronaut is either John, his backup Fred Haise, or the Apollo 17 Commander, Gene Cernan.]

[On the treadle-and-jack, note the short, dark fulcrum just to the right of the core stem and, as well, the mechanism that grips the core stem.]

121:43:42 Young: Okay, the amps go to zero on the gauge. Is that what they're supposed to do?

121:43:45 England: That's affirmative.

[Fendell zooms in on John.]
121:43:47 Young: And Switch 1 is going clockwise. (Pause) Switch 5 is going counter-clockwise.

121:44:04 Duke: Okay, Tony. The top of the core - the deep core - has got cap number A.

121:44:10 England: Okay, deep core, cap A. And, John, we've got a good ALSEP.

[Houston is now getting a signal from the Central Station.]
121:44:18 Young: Yeah, I knew it was a good one. Gee whiz. (Pause)
[Clearly, John is still disappointed about the loss of the Heat Flow Experiment.]
121:44:28 Young: Okay, I'll (garbled) from here. (Long Pause)
[Fendell pans left to watch Charlie. John goes to the LSM, picks it up, and carries it toward the west as per CDR-22 and CDR-23.]
121:45:11 Young: There. (Pause)
[It takes Charlie a while to get started but, once he gets the lifting mechanism seated, he gets a couple of inches (5 cm) per stroke. There is about 2 meters of core in the ground and, at 5 cm per stroke, it will take more than 40 strokes to complete the task.]
121:45:31 Duke: Well, you can't believe it, Tony, but that beauty is coming out.

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121:45:34 England: Outstanding. And we've proved the lever principle again.

121:45:49 Duke: Yep.

[Comm Break]

[Charlie has the treadle braced with his right foot and is getting about 30 degrees per stroke with his left hand. It seems to be grabbing on pretty good. He has his right hand on the core stem and, starting with the 17th stroke, he starts bending his knees on the downstroke and increases the depth of the stroke to 45 degrees. On the 26th effective stroke - not counting some apparent false strokes - Charlie takes his foot off the treadle and drops all the way to his knees on the downstroke. This increases the stroke depth to perhaps 60 or 70 degrees.]

121:46:50 Duke: Hey, I've learned something. Let the suit do the work for you...

121:46:53 England: Very good.

[Jones - "I gather that, as you dropped down toward a kneeling position, the suit would pop you back up."]

[Duke - "Yeah, It would give you the leverage you needed to get almost down 90 degrees."]

121:46:54 Duke: ...on this beauty. (Long Pause)
[Charlie's breathing is noticeable, but it is not at all labored. Charlie takes a break after two of the deep strokes. He flexes his left arm a few times and then resumes the deep strokes. After the 33rd stroke, he takes another break. We get a glimpse of the top of the core, which is now at about chest height.]

[Jones - "Is this particularly strenuous?"]

[Duke - "Yeah. You see me take my left arm off of it every once in a while? That's because I was cramping up a little bit in my arm."]

121:47:35 England: Looks like it's a good thing we had that jack.

121:47:40 Duke: I think so. I think, maybe, John and I'd have been able to pull it out; but it would have been a battle.

[Comm Break]

[Charlie does two more deep strokes and then stops. He puts his right foot on the treadle and, after flexing his left arm, grabs the core with both hands and tries to pull it out. He doesn't get it to move very far and resumes the deep strokes. In between strokes, he puts his right foot on the treadle, apparently steadying it while he gets the lifting mechanism to seat.]

[Duke, from the 1972 Technical Debrief - "I'm glad we had the extractor (meaning the jack), because the extractor works great. I had the same problem with it that I had in training. Every time you pick it up to try to set the C-clamp (engaging mechanism) back down again, the bottom plate (meaning the treadle) would shift on you. It wanted to walk clockwise with you. What I did was put my right foot on the plate and jack with my left hand. That worked great. It held steady then, and it speeded up the process."]

[Tony calls after the 43rd stroke.]

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121:48:51 England: Hey, Charlie, take it easy. Let's rest for a minute.

121:48:57 Duke: Okay, how's the old heartbeat?

121:48:59 England: You're up to about 140.

[As he rests, Charlie is leaning forward and the top of the core is about level with the top of his helmet. Making allowances for his posture, the top of the core is now about 5 feet 2 inches (157 cm) out of the ground - give or take a couple of inches. My thanks to my Beautiful Australian Bride, Dianne Jones, who measured a conveniently-sized subject who mimicked Charlie's posture for her.]
121:49:04 Duke: Okay. Doesn't feel like hard work. (Pause)
[Jones - "Do you still agree with that statement."]

[Duke - "Yeah, I agree with what I said. I mean, I was cramped; but, over all, I didn't feel that tired."]

[Fendell pans left to find John. He has the LSM in place beyond the large rock noted earlier and has the three sensor arms deployed as per CDR-24. AS16-114- 18388 is similar to the TV view and the LSM is above the drill-stem rack which, in turn is to John's right (our left) in the picture. To John's left, the drill, the HFE and the RTG are more or less in a line. The Central Station is at the edge of the picture.]

121:49:15 Duke: Still can't pull that beauty out. I got it out 6 feet. (Pause)

121:49:28 Duke: John, is that (LSM) going to be all right next to that rock?

121:49:33 Young: I don't have any idea, Charlie. Sure hope so, 'cause there ain't much other place to put it. If it ain't next to the rock, it's going to be in that hole right next to it.

121:49:41 Duke: Yeah, I see what you mean.

121:49:45 Young: This isn't the world's greatest place to deploy ALSEP. I'll tell you that. (Long Pause)

121:50:08 England: John, how far are you from that rock?

121:50:14 Young: It's about 3 feet. You want to move it farther than that? How far do you want to be? I'll pick it up and move it.

121:50:23 England: Okay. We're thinking about that. (Long Pause)

[While he waits for an answer, John goes off-camera to the right, probably to start the geophone deployment as per CDR-26 and CDR-27.]
121:50:39 England: John, I guess they would like you to try to move it away from that rock and, on the distance, just as far as you can without getting it in trouble there - jerking it around.
[Fendell pans right and finds John just as he reaches the Central Station. He stops and picks up a piece of equipment and sets it upright near the RTG. This is probably the thumper/geophone package. In the foreground, Charlie has gotten the core out another half meter or so. He does a couple of final deep strokes and the core begins to tilt. He pulls it out the last foot or so.]

[In Houston, Tony's transmission gives Experiments second thoughts about what would be involved in moving the magnetometer.]

121:50:54 Young: Okay, can I pick it up by its arms and...If I promise to be real careful with it?

121:51:04 England: Okay. They have re-evaluated the whole thing and decided, since you left...I guess they didn't want it (moved)...

121:51:07 Duke: Guess what, Tony...(Stops to listen)

121:51:07 England: ...very badly, and they said just leave it where it is. It looks fine.

[Charlie has removed the treadle from the core and tosses it off-camera to the left. Its final resting place is shown in AS16-113- 18368 where it can be seen beyond the left rim of the 5-meter crater but below the white ejecta blanket surrounding South Ray Crater in the distance. Kenesaw is the hill on the horizon at the left side of the picture.]
121:51:13 Young: Okay. I can probably get down on my knees and get it (that is, take hold of it) underneath its little box...

121:51:17 England: And, Charlie.

121:51:18 Young: ...but it's leveled, and (Stops to listen)

121:51:22 Duke: Yeah?

121:51:23 England: On that hole, there, instead of putting the rammer-jammer down it, I guess we would like to put the second heat flow probe down the hole and then measure it with the rammer-jammer, how far it went, and just leave the heat flow probe in the hole. Does it reach over there?

[Charlie was carrying the deep core over to the rack but stops and turns to look at the hole.]
121:51:41 Duke: The probe?

121:51:42 England: That's right, the heat flow probe.

[During this discussion, Charlie puts a cap on the bit end of the deep core.]
121:51:45 Duke: Or the...(Answering) No, I don't think it will reach, Tony.

121:51:50 England: Okay, then, just go ahead and measure the hole (with the rammer-jammer).

121:51:52 Duke: Y'all going to give up on the heat flow?

121:51:57 England: Well, we'll probably have to; (we) haven't got a firm decision, yet.

[Charlie turns to his left and knocks the rammer jammer off the rack. John is in the background, back at the LSM.]
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121:52:04 Duke: I'd like to save that stuff until you make a firm decision.

121:52:10 England: Okay. (Pause)

[Charlie rests the core on the rack. The rammer-jammer is oriented east-west and Charlie goes around to the north side and positions himself to bob down to get it. He is standing at an angle to the rammer-jammer, with his left side closer to it. See the discussion following 119:24:37.]
121:52: England: Well, by putting it down in the (deep core) hole, they were going to use it for heat flow hole.

121:52:22 Duke: I'd rather drill one (with the heat flow core stems). I don't think it'll reach (core hole). I'll try it, but...(Pause)

[Charlie puts his right leg forward and his left leg back and tries to get down, but his hand winds up about a foot short of the ground. He bobs back up. On his second try, he forces his left knee to the ground, gets his hand on the rammer-jammer and, in coming back up, springs completely off the ground, going forward. He lands on both feet and does a little hop to his left to regain control; he continues in that direction to go to the core hole.]
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121:52:29 Young: Okay. The LSM is level and aligned. The Sun is right in the middle of the shadow.

121:52:37 England: Okay. We copy that, John. Very good.

[Fendell pans right to find Charlie.]
121:52:43 Young: (Correcting himself) I mean the Sun is right in the middle of the alignment marks.

121:52:46 England: Okay. (Pause)

[While John heads toward the Central Station, Charlie gets the tip of the rammer-jammer into the core hole and feeds it in slowly. Once the top of the rammer-jammer reaches waist height, Charlie releases his grip and all but the very top of the rammer-jammer disappears into the hole.]

[Duke, from the 1972 Technical Debrief - "It fell out of sight. Only the top three inches of the rammer were visible. It (meaning the hole) was perfectly open all the way down."]

[Post-mission analysis indicates that only the bottom 6 cm of the 224 cm hole had filled, possibly with soil that eroded off the walls during core extraction.]

121:52:55 Duke: How about that, Tony!

121:52:56 England: (With a smile in his voice) Outstanding!

121:52:57 Duke: Did you see that?

121:52:58 England: I'd say the hole stayed open.

121:53:00 Duke: All the way down, I just dropped the rammer into it and it just fell in.

121:53:07 England: Okay.

[The Apollo 17 crew will place a neutron flux experiment in their core hole and, at the end of the mission, will recover the instrument for return to Earth. Here, Houston is interested in seeing if the core hole has stayed open so that the 17 hole can be used for just such a purpose.]
121:53:10 Duke: Look at that! (Pause)
[Charlie has noticed an intriguing rock near the rack. He tries to bob down to get it with his left hand. He misses the rock and nearly falls. He scrambles to his left to regain his balance.]
121:53:16 Young: Okay, Charlie. We're about ready to go with the geophones here.

121:53:19 Duke: Wait a minute. I got the most beautiful thing here. I got to pick this up, before I lose it. (Pause)

[This time, Charlie goes down on both knees and falls forward onto his hands as he grabs the rock. He then pushes back a little and tries to run under his center of gravity; He doesn't make it and falls back on hands and knees.]
121:53:33 Duke: Agh! (Pause)
[Once he gets settled, Charlie gives a hard push back with his hands and, as his PLSS rotates over his knees, he stands without much difficulty. This is the standard technique. Once on his feet, Charlie examines the rock, turning it as he tries to find a clean surface. Later, when he is near the TV camera at 122:25:42, Charlie shows the rock to Houston.]
121:53:46 England: Blow on it.

121:53:50 Duke: Huh?

121:53:51 England: Blow on it.

121:53:53 Young: What did you say, Tony?

121:53:56 Duke: Yeah. I was going to. (Pause)

[This is a reference to an exchange between Charlie and Tony at 120:07:45 when Charlie tried to blow dust off a film magazine. Blowing doesn't work very well when you're wearing a helmet.]

[Charlie grabs the core and heads for the Rover.]

121:54:13 Young: Come on, Charlie.
[Charlie will help John with the geophone deployment as per LMP-17.]
121:54:14 Duke: I'm coming. Let me put this (core) over here (on the back of the Rover). (Long Pause)
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Thumper/Geophone Experiment