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Traverse to Station 9

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.
Last revised 6 April 2014.

MP3 Audio Clip ( 7 min 29 sec )

147:48:15 Young: Okay, Houston; we're proceeding to Station 9.

147:48:22 England: Okay.

[The planned Station 9 location is BM.9/77.6 which, on the traverse map is a dark area off the South Ray rays. They are currently near BL.8/77.3.]

[The first of Charlie's traverse photos is AS16-108- 17703, which shows footprints and Rover tracks at Station 8. The last of the traverse photos is 17713. The sequence is also avilable in PDF format ( 5 Mb ).]

147:48:24 Duke: Okay, John. (Pause) (Looking at LMP-17) "Station 9, vacant lot." Ah, we get to sneak up on one!

147:48:36 England: Right.

["Sneak up on one" is a reference to the use of a tool called the Contact Soil Sampling Device, which is shown in Figure 1 in Judy Allton's Catalog of Apollo Lunar Surface Geological Sampling Tools and Containers. At Station 9, John will open the tool and then will slowly approach a boulder from the direction of the LM - hence Charlie's "sneak up on one". Once John gets to the boulder, he will reach over the top and press the tool on the surface on the other side. The idea is to collect a surface soil sample undisturbed by the LM descent engine plume. See the sketch on LMP-16.]
147:48:37 England: The idea is we're looking for an area as flat as possible with as little evidence of South Ray material. Probably, the words from the Backroom, you're looking for a shallow saucer.

147:48:50 Young: (Laughing) They got the message all right. Yeah, that's going to be a real good find, Houston.

147:49:02 Duke: I don't think we can do it. (Pause)

[As indicated on CDR-17, the photo-analysts had expected that John and Charlie would find numerous small fault scarps and the notation "NE Scarp" probably means that Houston wanted John to find a northeast/southwest trending scarp, down-thrown on the southeast (that is, with the vertical face facing southeast), and park so that the scarp would have provided some shielding of the sample area from the LM descent plume. John is laughing because he is pleased that the Backroom now believes his contention that there are no scarps in the area. Now, what they are looking for is a shallow crater - one that John can drive into but which may, also, provide some shielding.]

[John and Charlie are skeptical that they will be able to find an area free of South Ray ejecta.]

147:49:07 Duke: Okay; ten clicks (km/hr), Tony.

147:49:09 England: Okay.

147:49:10 Duke: Still in a cobbly area, with boulders up to a meter. Looks just like our last stop. Here's a shallow saucer area, but there's no boulder to sneak up on.

[Frame AS16-108-17707 probably shows some of the meter-sized boulders.]
147:49:26 England: And could we have an amp reading with that ten clicks?

147:49:31 Young: Right, we're doing...What does it look like, six or seven, Charlie?

147:49:36 Duke: Ten. Isn't that first one, 20, yeah, 10.

147:49:38 Young: It's a little - Well, if you take the parallax out you'd be reading 10, Houston, but nobody can do that.

147:49:45 England: Okay.

[The volts/amps gauge is near the center of the console as shown in Figure 1-22 in the LRV Operations Handbook. Because the indicator is not flush with the gauge face and Charlie is sitting above the gauge, the apparent reading isn't the true reading.]

[Duke - "In the future, you'll have digital readouts so it won't be a problem."]

147:49:50 Duke: I can still see the ascent stage of Orion, Houston. (Pause) And we're in a boulder field now that has a population of cobble (about 6.4 cm to 25.6 cm) size up through 15 centimeters covering 30 percent of the surface.

147:50:16 Young: There a better place to go than where we are? To get there, I don't know where it would be.

147:50:21 Duke: This 015 for 2.7 and according to them, we're almost there.

[As shown in the contour map, the planned location of Station 9 is at a LM bearing/ range of 015/2.6. These readings are based, of course, on the LM being at the planned landing site which is about 200 meters south of the actual site. As is discussed at 148:44:48, the Nav system is not working properly, probably because of the various switch changes that were made at Station 8 in an effort to track down the cause of the loss of rear drive power.]
147:50:29 Young: I think, well, I think we're just too close to the ray patterns off South Ray.

147:50:34 England: Okay; we understand. All we can do is pick the best you see.

147:50:36 Young: Don't you? (Hearing Tony) Okay; well, let's go on a little further closer to the LM and maybe we'll come across one that isn't so...That's more...

147:50:48 England: Okay. A worse problem...

147:50:49 Duke: ...pristine. That be all right? Because there's no...(Stops to listen) Say again?

147:50:56 England: Right. That would be fine, except a worse problem is to get contamination from the LM (by getting too close to the spacecraft). We'd rather have contamination from South Ray than from the LM.

147:51:07 Duke: Okay.

147:51:08 Young: All righty, we have just found your place.

147:51:09 Duke: There it is, right over there. See that big rock, John?

147:51:12 Young: Yep.

147:51:14 Duke: Down in that big "hollah".

147:51:16 Young: That ain't a hollow; that's a crater! (Laughs)

147:51:19 Duke: Well, it's an old...Down where I come from, it's a 'hollah'.

[A 'hollah' is a 'hollow'.]

[Duke - "I'm speaking Southern, here!"]

147:51:23 Young: Which one? That...

147:51:24 Duke: That one way...It's over there about 50 meters, 2 o'clock.

147:51:28 Young: Okay; we're gettin...That's up a slope, up on the side of it.

147:51:32 Duke: Well, I know, but it's on the side facing the LM, so that would even be better.

147:51:38 England: You say it's on the side facing the LM? We wouldn't want to face the LM. We want to not see descent.

147:51:46 Duke: I blew it. It's on the side of the crater away from the LM.

[What Charlie is trying to say is that the boulder is on the north wall of the crater. The "side facing the LM" would be the south wall, as would the "side of the crater away from the LM". The important point, of course, is that John and Charlie know what they are looking for.]

[Charlie may have taken frame AS16-108-17713 as John was coming up out of the crater on the northeast side. This is the last frame of the drive to Station 9.]

147:51:51 England: Good show.

147:51:55 Duke: Tony, you're...Yeah, no way to see the LM from over here.

147:51:57 Young: Yeah, but Charlie, we can't get off and sample around it.

147:52:02 Duke: Why not?

147:52:04 Young: Oh, okay; let's drive up here. (Pause) Uh-oh.

147:52:15 Duke: Yeah; you're okay.

147:52:17 Young: Did you get a little dust there, Charlie?

147:52:19 Duke: No; just a skosh. Only trouble is, John, this rock's so big you can't even reach over it.

147:52:27 Young: That's what I'm saying!

147:52:29 Duke: Yeah, but you can sneak around on the side. (Pause) This is a steep slope right here, babe!

147:52:36 Young: That's what I was telling you! How about that rock right there?

147:52:43 Duke: That one right here is fine.

147:52:44 Young: Okay. (Pause)

147:52:51 Duke: Yeah, that's...Yeah, this is 180 parking, I guess. (Consulting LMP-17) Yeah. Let's don't get too close. We've got to sneak up on it. John, I can't get out.

147:53:11 Young: Why?

147:53:12 Duke: You parked right in a crater, for me. That's good, now.

147:53:18 Young: Yeah, but that ain't 180.

147:53:21 Duke: Okay; excuse me. (Pause) (Laughing) Everywhere...I say you parked in a crater...Everywhere you go, there's a crater. Might as well just take my chances. I'll take this. (Pause) Thank you. See that little hole you parked on there?

147:53:47 Young: Yeah.

147:53:48 Duke: Okay; (reading the console)Tony, we're at (heading) 176, (bearing) 007, (distance driven) 8.7. (range) 2.6; 90, 90; zero...well, maybe 2 on the amps. So, left...the "1" battery (temperature) is 100; 120 on 2. I'm still reading off-scale on all batteries...

147:54:28 England: Okay. We copy that and DAC off.

147:54:29 Duke: ...I mean, all motor temps.

147:54:30 England: We copy that and DAC off.

147:54:31 Young: (Laughing) Thank goodness (for the low motor temperatures). (Pause)

[The Nav system has not been working properly since John and Charlie left Station 8. The Station 9 location plotted in Figure 1 in the Stone Mountain chapter of the Professional Paper is based on analysis of photos taken at Station 9 and indicates a position near BP.8/77.7. This location is 600 meters north of Station 8.]

[The interval from the time John started driving at 147:48:15 to the time he started maneuvering to find a parking place at 147:51:24 was 3 minutes 9 seconds and, at 10 km/hr, they would have covered about 525 meters, a figure in good agreement with the plotted location. If we use the bearing and range readouts Charlie just gave, the inferred position is BN.3/79.0, a spot about 400 meters northeast of Station 8. However, the photos Charlie took during the traverse indicate that John drove toward the north - and sometimes the northwest - during most of the traverse. For a discussion of the Nav system failure, see the text at 148:44:48.]

147:54:46 Duke: (Responding to Tony's "DAC off") Okay. Stand by.

147:54:47 Young: (Turning on the TV) Okay, we'll get old number 2 on the Mode switch.

147:54:48 Duke: (Struggling) I can't get out.

147:54:49 Young: Oh, there you go again, Charlie.

147:54:50 Duke: There I go again. Dadgummit.

[Charlie has probably fallen. John probably goes around the front of the Rover to help him up.]
147:54:51 Young: Here you go.

147:54:53 England: And we'll need EMU checks. (Pause)

147:54:58 Duke: Let me get up off the ground.

147:55:01 England: Okay; Charlie.

147:55:04 Duke: There you go. Okay. I got it.

147:55:07 Young: Is my lens dirty?

147:55:09 Duke: Wait a minute. No, it's good, John.

147:55:10 Young: Okay.

147:55:12 Duke: How about mine?

147:55:15 Young: Can you turn towards the Sun? (Pause) I think it's okay.

147:55:21 Duke: Okay; fine. Okay, I'll get a pan out here.

147:55:25 Young: Yeah, I'll get the old high-gain up. (Long Pause)


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