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Traverse from Station 6 to Station 8

Corrected Transcript and Commentary Copyright © 1997 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.
Traverse strips assembled by Ken Glover.
Last revised 18 January 2010.

MP3 Audio Clip ( 14 min 13 sec )
[Charlie's first seven traverse photos are AS16-108-17634 to 17640.]

[Ken Glover has assembled all the traverse photos from the drive to Station 8 into a 3.4 Mb PDF file.]

146:29:22 Duke: And we bypass Station 7 and we go to 8. And that's...

146:29:25 England: All right we figure a heading of 274 and 0.8.

146:29:26 Duke: ...014 and 2.9 and they want a ray. (Responding to Tony) Okay, so that's distance, right?

146:29:35 England: That's right.

[As indicated on the EVA-II contour map, which Charlie has been using as his primary reference during the traverse, the planned bearing and range to the LM at Station 8 is 014/2.9, which corresponds to coordinates BK.9/77.7. They are currently near BL.8/81.1. A straight-line drive between these two points would take them 0.7 km on a heading of 285. Tony's suggestion that they drive 0.8 km on a heading of 274 indicates that Houston thinks Station 6 was near BK.6/81.7. On average, they will be driving slightly north of west.]

[Jones - "Had the geologists anticipated that you'd be on South Ray ejecta most of this southern traverse?"]

[Duke - "Yeah. We knew there were a lot of rays, from the photographs."]

[The photographs in question were taken by Stu Roosa from the Apollo 14 Command Module. An example is AS14-69-9526, which has South Ray on the left and North Ray on the right.]

[Jones - "They (the geologists) were looking for the basement stuff in the South Ray ejecta and then looking for the volcanics up on Stone Mountain." (See the discussion in the Apollo Lunar Surface Procedures volume starting on page 8 and, in particular, the discussion on page 14 and in Figure 2.5-4 on the following page.]

[Duke - "Yeah; and the whole idea was that Stone Mountain was the Descartes volcanics, a very viscous (material) that mounded up, whereas the Cayley Plain was a less viscous - more fluid - surface, and that was also supposed to be volcanic, you see - a more fluid character."]

[Jones - "So it was not only a surprise to find breccias up on Stone but it was also a surprise to find that the South Ray ejecta was breccias, too."]

[Duke - "That's right, yeah. So I think they ended up very pleased with that; but, at the time, it was strange. So, yeah, we were expecting to go across the ray patterns."]

146:29:36 Duke: 274. Okay, John, I make it six point...(correcting himself) 7.5 on distance (driven).
[Charlie is simply adding the 0.8 km to the current "distance driven" value of 6.7 that he read off at 146:07:21.]
146:29:38 Duke: Look at that blue rock that we just whacked on! (Pause)

146:29:53 England: And when you get there, you'll read 3.0 (range) and 10 degrees (bearing).

[These values indicate that Houston thinks the LM is near CA.6/80.3. The actual LM location is only about 100 meters NNE of that spot at about CB.1/80.6.]
146:30:02 Duke: Okay. (Pause) Okay, we're going downslope...(correcting himself) cross-slope, Tony. And I feel like I'm about to fall out. (Pause)
[Charlie is on the downslope side as they drive west, as can be seen from the leftward tilt of the horizon in Charlie's traverse photos such as AS16-108-17636.]

[Jones - "Can you describe the sensation of this cross-hill drive."]

[Duke - "Yeah. You know, you're sitting on a slope that's 10 to 15 degrees and you're driving across slope; and I was downhill! We were going west, so that put me downhill, and it just felt like I was going out like this! And you know, you're looking over to the side and there's no visible support there! You know, there's no door or anything. And, so, you feel like you're going right off the side."]

[Jones - "How about the Rover? Did it feel stable?"]

[Duke - "Yeah, it felt pretty stable. I didn't feel it was going to tilt over; but at times it did slide, to the downslope (side). And sometimes the back end would slide more than the front so we'd end up skidding a little bit. And 15 experienced the same situation up on Hadley (Delta), when they were driving cross-slope. Driving cross-slope, you had to be very careful. Up or down felt real secure; but the cross-slope - especially when you start those slides, you know...Fortunately, it'd dig into the dust and it'd stop; so we never felt like it was going to turn over. On flat surfaces, we actually ended up spinning out, a couple of times. Going 180."]

[Jones - "I knew that Dave and Jim did a 180 coming down off of Hadley Delta (at 123:28:42)."]

146:30:14 Duke: We're still in the blocky field. In fact, it's just South Ray material, I think, that's all over the place. (Pause) Hey, John...(Pause)

146:30:41 Young: Glad you got a seatbelt on, Charlie.

146:30:44 Duke: Me, too.

[Duke, from the 1972 Technical Debrief - "Our Rover seatbelts were great. The adjustments that we had made in flight in the zero-g (means one-sixth-g) airplane turned out to be just exactly right. So, I recommend that the Apollo 17 guys have one half-hour of parabolas and get that seat belt adjustment and have them mark it down. That's what we did and we had a little mark on them and it just worked perfect."]
146:30:46 Duke: Okay, I can still see old Orion! We sure parked on a...You landed on the highest point around, John! Even down in that crater you can still see it. (Pause)

146:30:59 England: Say, not bad for a Navy pilot.

146:31:03 Duke: No; he did a great job. Okay, we're back into a thicker part of the ray, Tony. The regolith is here covered with cobbles (about 64 mm to 256 mm) about 40 to 50 percent. You're gonna have to bear way left, John. (Pause) Okay, now, if we hold that range, like, tack in. Look at that piece of glass we just rolled over. (Pause) This (heading)'ll be great. 015, we've got to go.

[They are currently at a range of 3.0 and, if John drives on a heading 90 degrees left of the LM bearing, they will be at the planned Station 8 location once the LM bearing reaches 015.]
146:31:39 England: Gee, we sure hope you don't get a flat tire there.

146:31:41 Young: What do you want, 015?

146:31:44 Duke: Yeah.

146:31:46 Young: (To Tony) Man, if you could see these rocks, you'd hope it. (Long Pause)

146:32:00 Young: Oh, boy.

146:32:01 Duke: We ran over that beauty.

146:32:02 Young: Yeah, and I'm not so sure (we didn't hit it with the bottom of the Rover)...

[During our mission review, in looking at AS16-108-17650 - which Charlie probably doesn't take until they are much closer to Station 8 - he commented on the rock at the lower left: "The LCRU would have hit that. It was too big and he probably went around it. But some of the others were only about a foot high or so and we were able to roll over them (as they did in the approach to the Station 4 parking place)."]
146:32:03 England: Right; and there should be a lot of boulders in here, and we'd like you to get a lot of the Hasselblad photos. And then when you go past the north side of Stubby there, swing your DAC around.

146:32:15 Duke: Okay, we're not going to be able to see Stubby. Tony. It's on the other side of a big ridge.

146:32:19 England: Okay. (Pause)

[Charlie's next seven traverse photos are AS16-108-17641 to 17647.]
146:32:24 Duke: The (contour) map was wrong. It's been mapped wrong. We're down in a little swale now, and there's about a 30-meter (tall) ridge off to our left about 300 meters; it blocks out Stubby. You want us to go up and travel along that ridge?

146:32:40 England: Well, depending on your trafficability.

146:32:46 Duke: Well, we could do it. I'd like to see back into Stubby.

146:32:57 England: Well, why don't you press on up there? (Pause)

146:33:06 Duke: Want to, John?

146:33:07 Young: Yeah, might as well. We've got to go by that big rock. Is that where we're going, to that big rock?

146:33:13 Duke: That'd be a great place to sample the ray. That's probably on the ray. But they want to go left, about 10 o'clock, up onto that top of that ridge.

146:33:21 Young: Okay; will you be able to take pictures? (because of the dust on his lens)?

146:33:22 Duke: Yeah. (Long Pause)

[Between traverse photos AS16-108-17646 and 17647, John makes his turn to the left. Notice the change in apparent orientation of the shadows relative to the rocks casting them.]

[In Figure 23 of the Stone Mountain chapter of the Professional Paper, the ridge can be seen running east-west in an arc between Station 6 and Station 8. As they headed west from Station 6, they went downslope into the depression east of Wreck that is indicated by the 7800 meter contour with inward pointing dashes. The low point of that depression is estimated to be at an elevation of 7791 meters. At some point, John and Charlie turned in a southerly direction and climbed back up on the ridge and followed it to Station 8. For orientation, the small, unnamed crater southeast of Wreck that has its bottom at an elevation of 7766 meters is the crater at BK.9/76.5. See, also, Figure 1 in the Stone Mountain Chapter. BB Crater, at BK.0/79.6 and near the planned Station 7 location, is also a useful landmark. See, also, Pan Camera frame 4623]

146:33:37 Duke: Okay, Tony. This is really a...really a ray. In fact, you can see coming out over the ridge, you can distinctly see the rays from South Ray: the whiter albedo and the contact between the white ray and the Cayley here. Quite apparent.

146:34:01 England: Okay; very good.

[Charlie's next seven traverse photos are AS16-108-17648 to 17654.]
146:34:04 Duke: We're now at 005 at 3.0. And the contact I'm talking about is at 12 o'clock, probably a couple of hundred meters (ahead).
[This bearing and range puts them near BL.2/79.3. As discussed at 146:07:38, they may actually be a bit farther north.]
146:34:15 Young: You know, I don't want to be discouraged about this sort of thing, but I feel like this may be a problem we're going to have to attack statistically out here. Because, boy, it is really difficult to tell, just looking at a rock; except for the roundness, it's difficult to tell what kind of a rock it is. Now there's a vesicular-looking rock right there.

146:34:41 Duke: Yeah.

146:34:42 Young: That's the first rock I've seen with vesicles in it. (Long Pause)

[A vesicular rock is one that contains the imprints of gas bubbles trapped in the melt from which the rock solidified. Vesicular basalts were found at the Apollo 11, 12, 15, and 17 sites and vesicular breccias were found at the Apollo 17 site. Apollo 17 photo AS17-141-21628 shows large vesicules in the Station 6 boulder.]

[Jones - "Did you see any rocks you were sure were vesicular?"]

[Duke - "Some. It was hard to say whether they were impact pits or really vesicles. You really had to analyze it. You know, vesicular rocks are usually volcanic that have a lot of gas in 'em. At least, terrestrial ones are. So the gas bubbles out and forms bubbles in the rocks. I'd have to go back and re-read the Science Report, but I don't think we found very many."]

[Jones - "I don't think you did, either."]

[Duke - "If any. What I think were vesicular looking was probably impact pits in the...we had a name for that."]

[Jones - "Zap pits."]

[Duke - "Zap pits. Yeah. We were probably looking at that."]

[Jones - "You were expecting to find volcanics and I gather that you spent a fair amount of time in Hawaii and other places looking at volcanics."]

[Duke - "Oh, yeah. We knew what volcanics was supposed to look like."]

146:35:02 Duke: Okay, Tony, we're traveling, now, southwest. We're at 006 at 3.0...

146:35:10 England: Okay; copy.

146:35:11 Duke: And we've still got a couple hundred meters to go up to the ridge. John, why don't you swing directly south and let's just go straight up that beauty, see what we see up there. Probably nothing but another ridge.

146:35:27 Young: It's pretty steep, Charlie.

146:35:29 Duke: We're making six tenths...(correcting himself) or six kilometers an hour (because of the slope). (Pause)

[Charlie's pictures taken during this section could be AS16-108- 17650, 17651, and 17652.]
146:35:40 Young: That's really a steep ridge.

146:35:42 Duke: This is here?

146:35:43 Young: Yeah.

146:35:44 Duke: Have you got full throttle on?

146:35:45 Young: I got full throttle.

146:35:47 Duke: Boy, we're hardly moving.

146:35:50 England: Okay, you want to read some amps? (Pause)

146:35:56 Duke: Yeah. We've got 55. 50.

146:36:00 Young: Okay, what it is, is we've lost the rear-wheel drive.

146:36:05 England: Okay, understand.

146:36:06 Young: Not reading any amps on the rear wheel.

146:36:11 England: Okay; we copy that. (Pause)

[As they will discover at Station 8, one of the circuit breakers is not properly set.]
146:36:21 Young: And with that in mind, I'd just as soon not go up to this ridge, Charlie.

146:36:24 Duke: Me, too. (Chuckles) I agree.

[Between the time Charlie takes AS16-108- 17654 and 17655, John turns from heading south of west to one north of west.]
146:36:27 England: Okay; we suggest you head on towards 8 and stay on fairly flat ground, and we'll work up a procedure. (Pause)
[Jones - "Was there any concern on your part - or Houston's - about you having to walk back to the LM?"]

[Duke - "No. It was just getting up there, needing four wheels. You know, getting on a steep slope where one set of wheels wouldn't hack it. Same thing, you know, in your RV (Recreational Vehicle) with four-wheel drive. You get off the road and you get in a situation where you'd better have four-wheel drive but it's not working, you'd better not go. That was our concern, here."]

146:36:40 Duke: John, why don't we check it? Can you turn the forward (power) off and see if we move? (Pause) It just might be a steep slope. But the front wheels were really digging in.

146:37:03 Young: No, Charlie. The ammeter was reading zero!

146:37:05 Duke: I know. Could be a broken meter. (Pause)

146:37:14 Duke: Okay, Tony, at 007/3.1 - passing another secondary that's elongate in the direction of South Ray and it...Those are the big blocks they were talking about, John. Right over there, there are four or five of them. (Pause)

[Charlie's next seven traverse photos are AS16-108- 17655 to 17662. Note that the large boulder at the left in 17659 may be on the right in 17660.]
146:37:41 England: And how fast are you making now, John?

146:37:43 Duke: The regolith is still...(Stops to listen)

146:37:47 Young: Say again?

146:37:48 England: How fast are you doing?

146:37:50 Young: What'd you say, Tony?

146:37:52 Duke: He wants to (know) how fast we're going.

146:37:54 Young: We're going at 7 clicks.

146:37:56 England: Okay. (Long Pause)

146:38:10 Duke: How about stopping up there in the middle of all of those big boulders, John?

146:38:15 Young: Call that Station 8?

[They are planning to sample ray material from South Ray and the presence of large blocks is an indication that they are in a good place.]
146:38:16 Duke: Call that Station 8. That's gonna be about it. We're about...(Long Pause) There's one that's overturnable, I'll bet you. Right there. (Pause) Look at that elongate one, that shred there. Whatever that is.

146:39:12 Duke: Okay, Tony, we're at 00...(correcting himself) 010 at 3.0, and we've got about three or four 2- or 3-meter-size blocks, one black and some white ones. How does this stop sound?

146:39:27 England: Okay; this sounds pretty good.

146:39:32 Duke: (From memory) Okay; 180, John, on the heading. (Looking at LMP-14) No, 270; they want a Nav update. You knew that.

146:39:41 Young: That's right.

146:39:43 England: Okay, and we're looking primarily for blocks from South Ray. So if you feel like this is the ray, this sounds great. (Pause) And we don't need a Nav update, so 180 is great.

146:39:56 Duke: What do you think, John?

146:39:58 Young: Oh, yeah. (Pause)

146:40:08 Duke: I definitely think...This is fine here. Get on up a little bit over...That full throttle?

146:40:16 Young: Yep, Charlie.

146:40:19 Duke: Amazing. (Pause) Okay, Tony. (heading) 176, (bearing) 011, (distance driven) 7.9, (range) 2.9, 95, 95, 00, 100, 115, 110 make it. And I can't see the motor...Oh; off-scale low, forward and rear motors...(correcting himself) or forward motors. (Pause) Off-scale low, rear ones.

146:41:05 England: Okay, we copy that.

[The 11-degree bearing to the LM and the 2.9 km range puts them near BL.9/77.8. I estimate similar map coordinates - BL.8/77.3 - for the position plotted in Figure 23 in the Stone Mountain Chapter of the Professional Paper. As can be seen in the traverse map, the crew had very little in the way of local landmarks. From the information available to me at this writing, there is more uncertainty in my mind about the Station 8 location than any of the others.]
146:41:07 Young: Okay, Houston. What happened, we may have...

146:41:12 Duke: Excuse me, John. I'm sorry.

146:41:14 Young: My...Okay. My best guess of what happened (to the drive power)...of what may have happened, Houston, is that cut a wire or something on the back.

146:41:36 England: Cut a wire?

146:41:38 Duke: Okay, I've got...(Stops to listen)

146:41:41 Young: Yeah, a wire going back there to that aft thing. On the way down here - the regolith and everything being what it is - when we were bouncing up in the air, we came down on at least two rocks that I know about.

146:41:57 England: Okay; we understand.

[Duke - "If I remember, the battery wires came from the front (to the instrument panel), and I think it was a little wire tray that came from the instrument panel down the center between the two seats; and then there was a little control box behind the seats. I think it was electrical and partly mechanical. I think it was covered - or the wires were shielded, anyway. I can't remember, exactly, but all we could do was look in there and see if we could see anything loose. To my recollection, there was nothing underneath the Rover that was a wire or mechanical."]

[Although I was unable to locate any relevant information in the Lunar Roving Vehicle Operations Handbook, Charlie's recollection is suggestive of the "Rear Steering Motor and Gear Reducer" shown in Figure 1-3. And, of course, there was a similar mechanism at the front of the vehicle. Clearly, there has to have been a distribution system to get power and signals from the batteries, through the console and handcontroller to the steering motors and the wheel motors. Although it seems unlikely that any Rover components would have been sufficiently exposed on the undercarriage to suffer direct, mechanical damage from striking a rock, John may be suggesting that a connection shook loose during one of the impacts.]

146:42:03 Young: Well, it's a sort of dynamic (chuckles) situation that I don't think anybody was thinking about much. (Pause)

146:42:22 Frank: (Unintentional transmission by the Flight Director) Can he see those wires? I can't tell.

146:42:25 Duke: Okay, Tony. Starting our pan from about the 1 o'clock position of the Rover, sort of bracketing these blocks here.

146:42:34 England: Okay.

146:42:36 Young: Okay; Station 7.

[John is probably thumbing past CDR-12 and 13, the Station 7 pages, to get to CDR-14 and 15, the Station 8 pages.]
146:42:38 Duke: John, before I do this (pan), how about checking my (Hasselblad) lens?

146:42:40 Young: (Lost under Tony)

146:42:41 England: And verify the DAC's off.

146:42:46 Duke: (To Tony) I missed that. Stand by.

146:42:50 Young: How's mine (meaning his Hasselblad lens), Charlie?

146:42:53 Duke: Yours is great.

146:42:54 Young: Getting it good. (Pause)

[John may be using the lens brush on Charlie's Hasselblad.]
146:42:54 Young: Okay.

146:42:55 Duke: Go. (Pause)

146:43:06 Young: Okay, mode switch to 1.

146:43:08 Duke: Thanks for the reminder, Tony.

146:43:10 England: Okay.

146:43:11 Duke: Man, those battery covers are filthy. (Pause)

146:43:17 England: We aim to please, too. (Pause)


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