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ALSEP Off-load

Corrected Transcript and Commentary Copyright © 1995 by Eric M. Jones.
All rights reserved.
Scan credits in the Image Library.
Video credits in the Video Library.
Audio clips by Dave Shaffer.
Last revised 30 May 2013.

RealVideo Clip (15 min 36 sec)

Video Clip ( 3 min 35 sec 0.9 Mb RealVideo or 32 Mb MPEG )

MP3 Audio Clip starting at 118:14:16 ( 20 min 47 sec )

118:14:22 Parker: Hey, we have a picture, 17. We have a picture.

118:14:25 Cernan: Jack? (Responsing to Bob) Ah, beautiful, babe. It's all yours. I hope it moves now.

[The TV is being controlled from Houston by Ed Fendell. We are looking south toward Bear Mountain, which is the low, dark hill just left of center. Fendell starts a clockwise TV pan.]

[The original, 1972 transcription of Gene's transmission at 118:14:25 is "You have? Ah, beautiful, babe. It's all yours. I hope it moves now." In April 2012, Journal Contributor Vlad Pustynski asked me to check the audio because he did not believe "You have?" is what Gene actually said. Listening to the audio, it was immediately obvious to me that Gene had called to Jack before he heard Bob. Throughout the Apollo 17 lunar surface operations, both Gene and Jack tend to speak a little louder to Houston than they do to each other. As can be heard in the audio clip, before 118:14:22, Gene had been talking to Bob. When he calls to Jack, the character of his voice changes and the volume decreases, clearly indicating that he is not talking to Bob. Then, when he hears Bob say that they have a picture in Houston, Gene's voice changes back to his 'speaking to Houston' mode.]

118:14:30 Parker: It does.

118:14:31 Cernan: I hope it moves. You'll find out...

118:14:35 Schmitt: (Noticing the TV in motion) Hey, it moves! It's alive!

[Note that the MP3 clip includes a repetition of Gene's and Jack's transmissions at 14:31 and 14:35. It seems likely that the repetition is due to a switch in the signal handling configuration in Houston from audio-only to combined audio-video.]
118:14:37 Parker: And...

118:14:38 Cernan: Okay, Bob, I'm going to get SRC 1.

[Gene is starting checklist page CDR-12. The Sample Return Containers (SRCs) or "rock boxes", are machined from solid pieces of aluminum and are designed to hold an internal vacuum in the interest of returning samples to Earth without contamination. The SRC seal mechanism consists of a strip of soft indium metal - a few millimeters wide - in the rim of the lid, a matching knife edge in rim of the body, and O-rings outside both the indium strip and the knife edge. Prior to the mission, each of the boxes was packed inside a vacuum chamber so that there is now no internal pressure and no chance that the SRC will open explosively as Gene releases the latch. NASA photo S72-50269 shows Jack Schmitt opening a rock box during a one-sixth-g training flight out of Patrick Air Force Base in September 1972. Having opened the box, he is unfolding a Beta Cloth cover which will help keep the seal clean. At the end of each of the first two EVAs, Gene and Jack will fill a rock box with samples and seal it before taking it up into the cabin. The rest of the samples will be taken up in the Sample Collection Bags and will be exposed to cabin air and other contaminants as soon as the astronauts repressurize the cabin.]
118:14:40 Parker: Okay, could we have a EMU check on you fellows when convenient?
[The Extravehicular Mobility Unit is the combination of the suit and the PLSS and as Gene says, it is a self-contained spacecraft. Here, Bob wants readings on oxygen quantity, pressure, and warning flag status. The oxygen gauge and warning flags are on the top surface of the RCU and can be read - as long as the lighting is adequate - merely by looking down. The pressure gauge is wrist-mounted. As Jack explains later, this request for an EMU check is also a disguised suggestion that they slow down.]
118:14:46 Cernan: Okay. Commander is 3.8 (psi) plus. I must be 80 percent (oxygen remaining) and no (warning) flags and no (warning) tones.

118:14:56 Parker: Copy that.

118:14:58 Schmitt: Okay, LMP is about 80...Let me see. (Counting marks on the gauge) 75...About 80 percent (oxygen), and no flags, no tones. (Pause) I got 83 percent.

[Fendell reaches the clockwise pan limit and finds Jack working at the left side of the Rover. Jack is transfering film magazines from the ETB into the enclosed stowage space underneath the CDR seat, as per LMP-11.]
118:15:22 Parker: Okay, copy that. And you've sure got a lot of stuff on the Rover already.

118:15:29 Schmitt: Yeah, Mag Helen has just gone into (that is, under) the seat.

[The magazines are labeled "AA", "BB" and so on and usually are referred to as "Alpha", "Bravo", etc. Here, Jack begins a verbal game of using female names and will do so throughout most of the mission.]
118:15:34 Parker: Copy that. (Pause)
[Those listening to the audio track may have noticed a high-pitched beep at the start and end of each of Bob's transmissions. Markus Mehring has provided a discussion of these Quindar Tones.]
118:15:45 Schmitt: Mag Cynthia is in there. (Pause)
[Fendell has started a counter clockwise pan and is looking west across the LMP seat and the right-rear Rover wheel toward the western entrance to the Valley of Taurus-Littrow.]
118:15:53 Cernan: Okay, Bob, SRC-1 is open.
[After opening the rock box, Gene is removing SCB-1 and, at 118:17:39, will hang the SCB from the tool gate. He is at the top of checklist page CDR-12.]
118:15:58 Schmitt: (Mag) Gail is in. (Pause)
[Fendell is looking at the South Massif. Note the dark tracks just beyond the LM shadow.]
118:16:09 Cernan: Jack, watch these SRCs. They don't like to lock on this table very well.

118:16:13 Schmitt: They never have. (Pause)

[There is a small stand or table on the MESA big enough to hold one of the SRCs. There are locks on the table to hold the SRC still while it is being packed or unpacked.]

[Fendell is looking at Bear Mountain.]

118:16:24 Parker: Okay, and Jack, did you get mag...

118:16:26 Schmitt: Okay.

118:16:27 Parker: ...Charlie as well?

118:16:31 Schmitt: That's affirm.

[Fendell is looking toward the LM ladder with the heavily-shadowed East Massif in the background. The Rover is parked west of the ladder and slightly north of it.]
118:16:32 Parker: Okay. And we did not copy your cuff gauge reading (suit pressure) down here.

118:16:39 Schmitt: Oh, you didn't? Well, maybe that's because I didn't give it to you. 3.9 (psi). No wonder that's so much work.

[Nominal suit pressure is 3.8 psi. Anything higher makes the suit even stiffer and the work correspondingly more difficult. Here, however, Jack is joking; the difference between 3.8 and 3.9 would hardly be noticeable.]
118:16:45 Parker: Go ahead. Copy that. (Pause)
[Fendell finds Gene at the MESA. He has his back to us as he tries to get the rock box securely attached to the MESA table.]
118:16:53 Cernan: Okay, Bob, SRC 1 is...(Pause) She sure won't stay in the MESA very...(Pause) There, let me try that. Okay, that will stay there. Okay, Bob. It's closed. It sure doesn't seem like it wants to stay there, though. And the organic sample has been sealed.

118:17:16 Parker: Copy that.

[As on all of the missions except Apollo 11, each of the rock boxes contains an Organic Sample Monitor consisting of a small Teflon bag and, in the bag, rolls of very clean aluminum metal. At the top of the Teflon bag are two metal sealing strips, very similar to those in the individual sample bags described below. Here, Gene is sealing the bag by twisting the metal strips and folding tabs at either end. The aluminum will then be exposed to any contamination from the spacecraft and the PLSSs in much the same way that the lunar samples will be exposed, thereby allowing experimenters to correct for that contamination.]
118:17:17 Cernan: (Seeing the TV move) I guess you believe we're here now, huh?

118:17:19 Parker: Now we believe you're here. We see you in person.

[Fendell finds Jack, who is still putting film magazines and other gear under Gene's seat as per LMP-11. The North Massif is in the background.]
118:17:20 Cernan: Okay. Bob, the SRC cover will not stay closed. It just slowly springs up. There's nothing I can seem to do for it. I might be able to set something - a blanket - on top or something.
[That is, a piece of the thermal blanket that Jack had previously removed from the MESA. The lid needs to be closed to keep the interior of the box from being heated by sunlight.]
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118:17:35 Parker: Okay, stand by on that. We'll get back with you.

118:17:39 Cernan: Okay. I'm putting...(Responding to Bob) Yeah, it just flops open. I'm taking SCB-1 to the Tool Gate (as per CDR-12).

[Gene goes to the rear of the Rover.]
118:17:47 Parker: Copy that.

118:17:48 Cernan: I'll get me a hammer and I'll give you a gravimeter reading.

118:17:51 Schmitt: No, you won't.

[The Traverse Gravimeter is sitting on the back of the Rover and needs to be still for three minutes to produce a good reading. Jack is mounting the Buddy SLSS (see below) behind Gene's seat; and, as he works, the Rover jiggles. Until he is done, the gravimeter measurement can not be started.]
118:17:53 Cernan: Not until you're done. I'll go get the (U.S.) flag (out of the MESA) then. Guess what? We're here again. (Pause)

118:18:06 Schmitt: The Buddy SLSS is on the Rover. (Pause)

[Cernan - "I don't remember much about it, except that it was a buddy-breathing system - a set of hoses and stuff - that would let us share one of the oxygen supplies if the other one failed. It would have restricted our movements, but it also would have got us back to the LM."]

[The Buddy SLSS was actually a set of hoses which would have allowed them to share cooling water rather than oxygen. It was intended for use in the case of a failure of one of the PLSS cooling systems. As for the case of a dual failure of a PLSS and the Rover, it is an open question whether the two astronauts, connected by the BSLSS hoses, could have walked fast enough to get back to the LM from any appreciable distance. The chance of a dual failure was, however, remote enough that providing for a dual failure would have been a waste of precious weight allowance. BSLSS connection procedures can be found on checklist page CDR-47.]

[Schmitt - "It rings a very faint bell that we had something called a Buddy SLSS; and the fact that neither of us remembers much about it shows how much we felt we'd need it!"]

[Jack consults his checklist and, as per LMP-11, goes to the MESA with the ETB.]

118:18:20 Schmitt: Okay, ETB...Okay, CDR's camera film magazine I had to work on a little bit to get it to work, but it's working.

118:18:27 Parker: Copy that.

[Fendell is looking at the North Massif.]
118:18:28 Schmitt: (To Gene) If I get that camera (that is, Gene's camera, which is on his Rover seat), you can punch the gravimeter, I think.
[Jack goes back to the Rover.]
118:18:34 Cernan: Okay. Get the camera, and I'll give them a gravimeter reading. (Pause) Is that all you need? Because I'll go get the (U.S.) flag (as per CDR-12).

118:18:43 Schmitt: Okay, you'd better let that...Yeah, but why don't when you go...Let me get some tongs, too, (off the gate). We need to salvage those...

118:18:52 Cernan: Okay.

118:18:53 Schmitt: ...scissors. (Pause)

118:19:03 Cernan: Okay. Let me steady the Rover and punch (the gravimeter button). (Pause)

[Jack takes Gene's camera to the MESA.]
118:19:06 Cernan: Okay, Bob. Mark gravimeter and the light is flashing.

118:19:10 Parker: Okay. We copy that. (Pause)

[Gene begins the measurement by pushing a button marked "GRAV". The gravimeter will work if the outer case is within about 15 degrees of vertical; however, the actual gravity-sensing assembly inside the case needs to be very level and, during the first stage of the measurement, a set of internal motors slowly rotates the assembly on three axes until leveling has been achieved. While this is going on, a light on the top flashes, warning the astronauts not to touch the gravimeter. Once the leveling is complete, the light stops flashing but then stays lit until the measurement itself is complete. Once the light goes off, the measurement is complete and the astronauts can read the measured value off a digital display. Gravimeter measurements will be made at the LM before and after each traverse as a check for instrument drift and measurement error. Measurements will also be made with the gravimeter both on and off the Rover, in part because, in the latter case, there would be no chance of the measurement being disturbed by motion of the TV camera.]
118:19:22 Schmitt: (Singing) "Oh, bury me not on the lone prairie. Where the coyotes howl, and the wind blows free." Okay, where am I? (More to himself than to Gene) You're doing a gravimeter (and) getting the flag. I've got your camera. I'm going to salvage the scissors.
[Jack takes the tongs toward the ladder. Gene is unstowing the U.S. flag. Once he retrieves the scissors, he will help Gene with the flag deployment that starts at the top of LMP-12 and Gene is in the middle of CDR-12.]

[Cernan - "The flag that we took to deploy was the one that had hung on the wall of the Mission Control Center during all the landing missions. And we also had another flag, which we brought back to replace the one that we deployed at Taurus-Littrow." See NASA photo S73-38346 which shows Gene and Jack persenting the replacement flag to Gene Kranz in the MOCR in December 1973.]

[Jack remembers that the idea of taking the MOCR (Mission Operations Control Room) flag to the Moon was his.]

118:19:40 Cernan: Okay, get the scissors, and I'll be putting the flag in. And don't go near the Rover.

118:19:46 Schmitt: Don't go near the water. That reminds me of a good book. (Long Pause)

118:20:08 Cernan: Oh, boy.

[Jack now has the scissors, but doesn't have a place to put them. He is referring to the comic novel "Don't Go Near the Water", written by William Brinkley and published in 1956. He turns to face the TV camera and has the tongs up at chest level.]
118:20:10 Schmitt: I can't go near the Rover?

118:20:11 Cernan: Let me tell you...No.

118:20:13 Schmitt: I can't go near the Rover.

118:20:15 Cernan: Why don't you set them...

118:20:16 Schmitt: How about you letting me stick these in your pocket with your (hammer)...

118:20:19 Cernan: No. (Pointing into the MESA) Set them up there. Just set them in there. We'll get them when we come back in.

118:20:23 Schmitt: Okay. I'll tell you what I'm going to do.

118:20:26 Cernan: Just set them inside the...

118:20:29 Schmitt: Put them in the...Gonna hang them here on the (ladder) hook.

118:20:32 Cernan: Okay, that's good.

118:20:34 Schmitt: Right there.

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118:20:35 Cernan: Okay, Jack. How about the flag right over here in this little mound?

[Jack returns to the MESA. Gene is moving north of the LM to deploy the flag. The checklist suggests 30 feet out at 2 o'clock]
118:20:43 Schmitt: Which mound?

118:20:44 Cernan: Well, let me take a look over here.

118:20:46 Schmitt: How about right up there on that little high point?

118:20:48 Cernan: Right up in here where I'm going.

118:20:49 Schmitt: Yeah. Of course, your idea of a high point might be different than mine. I meant the North Massif! (Laughs)

118:20:58 Cernan: That's probably the best place in the world for the flag, is right up on the top.

118:21:03 Schmitt: Okay, let me come over and help you. Dum da dee. How about right...

118:21:10 Cernan: (Laughing as he thinks about the possibility of hitting bedrock with the flag pole) (Garbled) how much regolith (soil) we've got in a minute.

118:21:15 Schmitt: Hey, you're in the edge of the crater though. That's no test.

[It is a shallow, six-foot-diameter crater with a soft rim. Pushing the flag staff into the ground would be easy and would not tell them much about the depth or cohesiveness of the regolith.]
118:21:18 Cernan: Well, that's all right.

118:21:19 Schmitt: Move right over here near your tire tracks.

[They move a few steps west.]
118:21:22 Cernan: Yeah. This is a high point right here.

118:21:23 Schmitt: That's good.

118:21:24 Cernan: Right there.

[Jack pushes the staff into the ground by hand. He has his back to the TV and we can't see how far he gets it in.]
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118:21:26 Cernan: Well, that wasn't too bad. Okay, let me give it a few whacks. (Pause) Oh, baloney.

[Gene is having trouble getting the hammer out of his shin pocket. After getting the hammer out, he turns it so he can use the flat to hit the top of the staff.]
118:21:34 Cernan: Okay. Watch your fingers. Now that wasn't too bad. Want to make sure it stands up. That's getting pretty...What we could do...I don't know how far we could drill...
[Gene is thinking about the three holes he will have to drill at the ALSEP site. Gene only raises the hammer about 15-20 cm on each stroke. Sixteen strokes drives the staff about that many inches - about 40 cm.]
118:21:48 Schmitt: Whang! I think we hit something solid with that one.

118:21:49 Cernan: No, it was still going.

[Cernan - "I don't know how deep it went, but deep enough that it was very firmly planted. Obviously, we hit something hard, momentarily, and then went through. Nothing's going to blow that flag over."]

[Indeed, the flagstaff was still standing after Gene and Jack launched back to orbit and, therefore, will remain standing until somebody goes back and moves it or there is an impact very close by. The flag can be seen in the post-launch TV at about 188:04:30. Note that the flag is pointing north. Before the launch, as can be seen in Jack's post-EVA-3 picture AS17-143-21948, the flag was pointing east. Evidently, the ascent engine exhaust exerted enough force on the flag that it acted like a weathervane and swung around to point away from the source of the 'wind'.]

[Journal Contributor James Fincannon has used sunrise-to-sunset sequences of LROC images on the site to demonstrate that, as of 2009-2011, the Apollo 17 flag is still aloft and casting a shadow.

118:21:51 Schmitt: Yeah, but did you ever see it vibrate like that?
[To the extent that the flag staff behaves like a pendulum between hammer blows, the frequency of oscillation is slower than it would be on Earth by a factor of 2.4, the square root of six. To the extent that it is behaving like a violin string - for which the frequency is determined by string tension rather than gravity - its behavior would be almost the same as it would be on Earth. Because Jack is still standing in the line of sight, we only get an occasional glimpse of the staff. The vibration isn't obvious in the TV picture.]
118:21:56 Cernan: No, I've never put a flag up on the Moon before.

118:21:58 Schmitt: (Incredulous) What!?

[Cernan - "There were two sections to the pole: the bottom section which had a hardened top on it so that, when you banged it into the ground, you didn't smash it in. The top section just telescoped down inside the section you banged into the ground, and that held the flag. The flag was on a two-section, curtain-rod type thing that was folded up. You unwrapped the flag, swung this curtain rod up, latched it at roughly 90 degree angle to the pole, and then extended the outer part of it. The flag looked all wrinkled, because it was folded up all wrinkled."]

[Details of the flag assembly are discussed in Anne Platoff's 'Where No Flag Has Gone Before'.

118:22:02 Cernan: Pull that end.
[Jack jumps to grab the end of the flag.]
118:22:04 Schmitt: (Laughing) You're going to have to get it down to my level. You tall guys are all alike. (Pause) Wait, I'm not through.
[Gene is 6'0" and Jack is 5'8".]
118:22:13 Cernan: Okay. How about getting it stretched out?

118:22:18 Schmitt: I will. I just can't start forward as fast as I'd like to. (Pause) Hate to touch it, my hands are so dirty. (Pause)

[Jack pulls the lower corner taut.]
118:22:37 Cernan: Okay?

118:22:40 Schmitt: Well, it's going to want to curl. Maybe it'll...It sort of looks like it's waving in the breeze.

[Gene puts the upper half of the staff into the section in the ground.]
118:22:46 Cernan: Yes, sir. How about right there? (Pause) (We'll) take a couple (of pictures) this way, and we'll take a couple that way. How's that?
[Jack backs up, going south to take pictures as per LMP-12.]

[Schmitt - "You couldn't actually see your feet without bending over, but you could anticipate what was in front of you well enough. Going side-to-side or backwards, you just had to be sure there was nothing in the way."]

118:22:57 Schmitt: Oh, let me get over to the other side.
[Jack changes his mind, goes east of the small crater and winds up north of the flag.]
118:22:59 Cernan: We can get the Rover in the background.

118:23:01 Schmitt: Yeah, and the LM.

[Gene turns the flag so that it stretches out to the east.]
118:23:05 Cernan: It does wave when you do that.

118:23:09 Parker: We've got a beautiful picture of you guys up (on the screen) down there (in the front of the Control Room).

118:23:15 Cernan: Let me tell you, Bob. This flag is a beautiful picture. You see that?

118:23:20 Schmitt: Okay, it's partially covering the Rover, but I think it's a pretty good shot.

[Gene has been west of the flag, holding the staff; he now moves to the east side. This sequence of photos of Gene includes AS17-134- 20377, 20378, 20379, and 20380. They show Gene's pockets, the hammer, his checklists, the dirt he has accumulated on his legs and, beyond the space between the LM and the Rover, Bear Mountain.]
118:23:25 Cernan: How's that?

118:23:28 Schmitt: Let me get the focus right. (Pause)

[Jack probably means "f-stop", rather than "focus".]

[Each of the film magazines has a decal (from the Lunar Surface Procedures volume) on the top which shows recommended f-stop settings for aiming directions relative to the Sun. The actual flight decals - such as the one on a B&W shown here - are slightly different in detail. Smithsonian Institution photo by Jim Remar.]

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118:23:36 Cernan: I don't know how to put it. There you go. Wait a minute.

[Jack takes AS17-134-20378.]
118:23:40 Schmitt: All right, I got you reaching for the flag.
[Gene takes hold of the corner of the flag with his left hand and salutes with his right. Jack is partly hidden by the flag.]
118:23:43 Cernan: How's that?

118:23:47 Schmitt: That's very good, Gene. Let me get it in stereo.

[Jack takes a step to his right. This photo is AS17-134- 20379.]
118:23:51 Cernan: Houston...

118:23:52 Schmitt: That's beautiful.

118:23:53 Cernan: ...this has got to be one of the most proud moments of my life. I guarantee you. (Pause) (To Jack) Why don't you get a close-in one and we'll trade cameras.

[Gene steps to the west of the pole and salutes. Jack steps in to take a close-up, AS17-134- 20380, then moves east, possibly to take a down-Sun, but does not do so. Finally, he gives Gene the camera and they trade places.]
118:24:06 Schmitt: Houston, I don't know how many of you are aware of this, but this flag has flown in the MOCR (Mission Operations Control Room at the Johnson Space Center in Houston) since Apollo 11. And we very proudly deploy it on the Moon, to stay for as long as it can, in honor of all those people who have worked so hard to put us here and to put every other crew here and to make the country, United States, and mankind, something different than it was.

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118:24:51 Parker: Roger, 17. And presuming to speak in behalf of some of those that work on the MOCR, we thank you very much.

[Gene waves Jack closer to the flag.]
118:25:04 Cernan: Jack, right where you were. I'll step to the right. Right there. (Pause)
[Jack salutes]
118:25:18 Schmitt: Well, that's all right. I'll keep it (his arm) down. (Pause)
[Gene takes AS17-134- 20381 then moves to his right.]
118:25:33 Cernan: Stay there. (Takes AS17-134- 20382) Get closer (to the flag).

118:25:35 Schmitt: I'm going to get on the other side. (Pause)

118:25:37 Cernan: Well, I want to get something here.

118:25:46 Schmitt: What's that?

118:25:47 Cernan: I want to get the Earth.

118:25:49 Schmitt: Okay. Let me get over here.

118:25:51 Cernan: Get around on that side.

[Jack had moved west of the pole, and now moves back. He overshoots his mark and sprays dust as he stops.]
118:25:54 Schmitt: I don't think it's going...You're a little close, maybe, to have them both in focus. That might do it.
[Gene starts to bend his knees and, in an effort to get Earth in the picture along with Jack and the flag, almost gets down on his knees. His first effort, AS17-134- 20383 gets the flag but very little of Jack and the Earth, his second photo, AS17-134-20384, is much more successful. After he gets up, Gene gives Jack the camera and they trade places.]

[Using planetarium software, we see that, had cloud cover over the southwestern Pacific been lighter, the Antarctica would have been visible at the left and Australia would have been coming into view over the top.]

118:26:08 Cernan: Try that one time, then we'll give up and get to work. (Long Pause)
[Jack holds the camera in his hand and gets it as low to the ground as he can without kneeling.]
118:26:26 Cernan: Point it up a little...Yeah. (Pause)
[This is AS17-134- 20385.]
118:26:32 Schmitt: Let me try it again.

118:26:33 Cernan: Okay.

[This is AS17-134-20386. This photo shows the "red apple" actuator for the purge valve reasonably well.]
118:26:35 Schmitt: I don't know, Geno.

118:26:36 Cernan: Okay.

118:26:38 Schmitt: Let me get over here closer to you. (Pause)

[Once again, Jack almost goes to his knees.]
118:26:43 Schmitt: Okay. That might have got it.
[This photo is AS17-134-20387 and, in addition to having Earth in the picture, it shows Gene's checklist and watch/mirror band on his left arm, the OPS actuator on the right side of his RCU, and the OPS antenna on the top of his PLSS. The red bands on the suit and helmet show that this is Gene and not Jack.]
118:26:45 Cernan: Okay, very good.

118:26:47 Schmitt: Okay. All right, let's do it. (Pause)

118:26:55 Schmitt: You think your gravimeter's ready so I can go back there?

[They go back to the Rover, putting one foot in front of the other as they walk.]
118:26:58 Parker: Roger, 17. The gravimeter's ready and a couple of words here. One, I presume you found the scissors, right?
[They stop to listen.]
118:27:07 Schmitt: Yes, sir.

118:27:08 Parker: Okay. Two...

118:27:09 Schmitt: Not Ron's, we found ours.

[Jack moves toward the Rover again.]
118:27:11 Parker: Roger. And the second thing is: we do want the SRC closed. And if you can partially latch it, I'm not sure that's easily done, that would be one solution. The other would be to put something on top of it to hold it closed.

118:27:26 Cernan: (Heading for the MESA) Okay, Bob. I'll find something

118:27:28 Parker: Okay, copy that. One of the brackets off the MESA would be something, or a rock that's nearby; that's another possibility.

[Jack consults his checklist, then turns to Gene. He is in the middle of LMP-12 and his next task is to perform an inspection of the LM.]
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118:27:40 Schmitt: Okay. Gene, what are you going to be up to now?

118:27:43 Cernan: I'm going to go get the...

118:27:44 Schmitt: The experiment pallet?

118:27:47 Cernan: ...pallet.

[Gene is at the top of CDR-13 and, for his next task, he will go to the northeast LM quadrant and unstow a pallet containing hardware for the Surface Electrical Properties (SEP) Experiment.]
118:27:52 Schmitt: (Starting toward the LM) Okay, why don't I give the old (LM) inspection bit here. (Goes back to the Rover) And I really ought to have my camera, shouldn't I?

118:28:00 Cernan: I need a...

118:28:01 Schmitt: Yeah.

118:28:02 Parker: Roger. That's affirmative.

118:28:03 Cernan: ...(garbled) on this (SRC lid).

118:28:04 Schmitt: What would you just...

118:28:05 Cernan: Well, I'll find something.

118:28:08 Schmitt: I'll take the old CDR's camera. Not a bad camera to take.

118:28:13 Cernan: Jack, I'm going to take the old gunny sack here and put it over (the SRC). That'll hold it down.

118:28:23 Parker: I presume you're talking about the big bag, Gene.

118:28:27 Cernan: Yeah, the big bag that was on the ladder hook. That's all it needs. It's just a little bit. There's just enough spring force in it.

[A bag can be seen hanging from the ladder hook behind the lefthand side of the bottom rung in AS17-134-20482, which was taken at the end of EVA-3.]

[Jack moves north of the LM to begin his inspection. In order to look up at the radio antennas and other gear mounted at the top of the spacecraft, he must bend his knees and thrust his hips as far forward as possible in order to get his center of mass over his toes.]

[Schmitt - "This wasn't an unstable position because there was no tendency to fall over on your back; but you were straining to stay there. You were straining against the suit and that took energy. You had very little mechanical advantage over the suit and, any time you had to bend it, it was work. The Apollo suits were adequate, but there certainly needs to be a major engineering effort on new suits."]

118:28:35 Schmitt: Okay, Houston. I think you've had all the good words about the LM. We have never flown a better LM. (Chuckles) I guess that's safe enough to say. The quads look great. The old steerables are aimed right at you. Rendezvous radar's in good shape. It's parked, looks like parallel to Z (that is, east-west). Just about perfectly. There's no visible...I'm on the 3 o'clock position, plus-Y. No visible contamination. There's a little bit of discoloration of the plume shields below the thrusters. The engine bell never touched the ground. It's about, oh, 15 centimeters off the ground.
[Jack is now north of the LM. The Z-axis on the spacecraft is aft to fore, east to west. The Y-axis is left to right, south to north. The forward strut, plus-Z, is the west strut; the rear strut is minus-Z; the north strut, beneath Jack's station, is plus-Y; and the south strut, beneath Gene's station, is minus-Y. The radar is pointed at the western horizon. The LM-9 rendezvous radar is shown in a photo by Randy Attwood.]
118:29:25 Parker: How's that for coming down gentle?
[Each strut contains a shock absorber which would partially crush during a less than soft landing and, among other things, leave the engine bell closer to the ground. Only on Apollo 15 did the bell touch, and then only because Dave Scott landed with one footpad in a moderately deep crater.]
118:29:27 Cernan: That's what you call "Okay, Number Three Wire", Jack.
[Cernan - "'O.K. Number Three Wire' is another naval-aviator, carrier-pilot's term. There's generally four wires on the flight deck and you can catch 1, 2, 3, or 4. Obviously, if you come out of a carrier landing alive, it's successful; but 'O.K., Three Wire' is a term the LSO (Landing Signal Officer) gives you if you just make a perfect, super landing aboard ship. He'll write down the wire he got; he might say, 'low in the groove, number one wire' or 'high and fast, number four wire' or 'slow at the ramp, number two wire' or 'FAB' - which means faster than a bastard - number three wire' or he could say, "OK, number three wire" and that's about as good a landing as you can make. Nothing compares to the challenge of a night carrier landing, not even the challenge of landing a LM on the moon. In a carrier landing, it's dark, you can't see anything, your target's moving around, and it's a small deck. Landing the LM, you've got lots of people helping you; and you've got ways to abort out of it. Anyone who has ever flown on a carrier will know what I'm talking about."]
118:29:32 Schmitt: Hey, we never heard what our landing parameters were.

118:29:35 Parker: We'll worry about that later.

118:29:36 Cernan: I don't really care, now that we're here.

118:29:39 Schmitt: Oh, but they always give them to us in the simulator. (Pause)

[Gene has moved a step or two east of the North Strut and is removing the gold insulation blanket that covers the SEP pallet. He throws the blanket under the LM with an easy motion.]
118:29:51 Cernan: Hey, Bob, judging from what I see on my clock (his wristwatch), we're not but about 5 minutes behind.

118:29:57 Parker: That agrees more or less with the way we read it.

[Cernan - "I had two watches: one inside my suit which I kept on Houston time, and the other on the outside which we started - probably at 12 o'clock - when we started the EVA and could compare with the planned times in the checklists. The timeline was important, and we tried to stay with it."]
RealVideo Clip (25 min 29 sec)

118:30:03 Schmitt: Gene had a little forward motion as I think you heard us call. And that shows up in the forward footpad at any rate, or did (before the EVA started and Gene and Jack scuffed up the mark). It looks like he may have hit tail first a little bit. That's embedded to the full pad depth. I see no...By George, Gene, you may have had a first. I think you stroked that thing.

118:30:30 Cernan: Stroked what?

[Gene pulls the SEP pallet out of its stowage position and tries to lean it against the strut. The pallet is about a meter long and about a third of a meter wide.]
118:30:32 Schmitt: The rear landing gear.

118:30:36 Cernan: Well, we can measure it and find out.

[This is a matter of principle, since none of the other commanders compressed a landing gear shock. There is no indication in the mission report that there was any compression.]
118:30:38 Schmitt: I'll take a picture of it (and save time by letting the folks back in Houston settle the question after the mission.)

118:30:44 Schmitt: May have stroked it. The lower orange Mylar, is folded a little bit.

[Gene is facing the TV camera, holding the SEP pallet.]
118:30:50 Parker: Roger. There's word floating around down here about typical Navy landings, but I'm not sure whether we believe it or not.
[This remark may be coming from Air Force pilot Charlie Duke who, with John Young, is probably sitting with Bob. Duke and Young were the Apollo 16 landing crew and are now serving as the Apollo 17 backup crew. Jack's picture of the rear landing gear is AS17-134- 20388.]
118:30:59 Schmitt: He caught his tail hook. Hey, Bob...

Video Clip ( 3 min 40 sec 0.9 Mb RealVideo or 33 Mb MPEG )

118:31:01 Parker: That's the best way.

[Cernan - "I had a firm idea in my mind about how I wanted to land. I wanted to bring that thing down as quickly as possible and then, when we got down within the 50 or 60 feet range, slow down to two or three per second and maintain two or three feet per second and a little forward velocity of a foot or so per second forward. You learned very quickly in the LLTV that if you tried to get it down at about one foot per second, all of a sudden you started hovering, or maybe you put a little bit too much thrust in and you started going up a little. So I tried to keep going down."]

[After resting a moment from the effort of getting the SEP pallet out of the LM, Gene goes to the Rover.]

118:31:10 Schmitt: Just behind the LM, in that fairly fresh crater, I picked up an example of the kind of gabbro I was talking about. And I'll stick it in the big bag, except the big bag has disappeared.

118:31:32 Cernan: (To Bob) Okay, I've got to give you a (gravimeter) reading, Bob, if you're ready.

118:31:34 Parker: Ready.

118:31:36 Schmitt: You put the big bag up...

[Busy as they are, Gene and Jack don't always hear what each other is saying or remember what was just said.]
118:31:38 Cernan: 670, 003, 101. That's 670, 003, 101.

118:31:45 Parker: Okay. We copy that.

118:31:49 Cernan: Jack, I put that (big bag) there to hold the SRC down.

118:31:52 Schmitt: That's all right, I just put a sample in it. It's in the bottom of the bag. It's about 8 by 5 centimeters by 3 centimeters. Slightly tabular.

[Jack goes to the Rover and, out of view of the TV, takes Gene's camera off and stows it under the CDR seat as per LMP-12. He then leaves again. While at the Rover, he may have taken AS17-134- 20389, which is a good picture of the front of the vehicle and the LCRU, the LCRU mirrors, the TV camera, the TCU, the big dustbrush, and some cup-type sample bags which, later, Jack will attach to his LRV sampler.]
118:32:03 Parker: Okay. We copy that. It's in the big bag.

118:32:07 Schmitt: Yes, sir.

[This is probably the rock that disappears sometime between now and the end of EVA-2. Jack makes brief references to the disappearance at 123:40:07 and 147:36:11.]

[Jack turns to the east so he can get some light on his camera to check either the settings or the frame count.]

118:32:14 Cernan: Okay, Bob. A Mark on gravity.
[Gene is now making a measurement with the TGE sitting on the ground.]
118:32:18 Parker: Copy that.

118:32:20 Cernan: And the light's flashing.

118:32:21 Parker: Copy that. (Pause)

118:32:31 Cernan: I've got to tell you, Bob. I haven't done everything there is to do in the Navy, but deploying that flag has got to be the most proud thing I'll ever do in my life. If you could see you (the Earth), and you could see it (the flag) from where we are, I know you'd feel the same way.

118:32:53 Parker: Roger on that, Geno.

118:32:54 Schmitt: Whoo! (Laughs)

[Jack has tripped.]
118:32:55 Cernan: God, he's pretty up there. God, you're pretty up there over the South Massif. Beautiful!
[Gene is looking at Earth.]
118:33:02 Schmitt: Hope nobody saw that (trip).

118:33:04 Cernan: Beautiful.

118:33:06 Schmitt: Oh, they were watching me. (Laughs) Those finks.

[Jack can see that the TV camera is pointed in his general direction; however, he was moving too quickly for Fendell to follow and wasn't actually in the field-of-view when he tripped.]
118:33:09 Cernan: Okay.

118:33:10 Schmitt: You weren't doing anything with the gravimeter on here (that is, on the Rover), I hope.

[Jack may have just read the line "Note TGE Status" on LMP-12. Note that Jack should have checked the TGE status before stowing Gene's camera at 118:31:52. If the TGE had been on the Rover with a measurement in progress, Jack would have disturbed it.]
118:33:13 Cernan: No, it's on the deck (that is, on the ground).

118:33:14 Schmitt: Okay.

118:33:16 Parker: Okay, you might grab me a frame count when you set it on there, Jack.

118:33:19 Schmitt: Too late, Bob.

118:33:20 Parker: Okay.

118:33:23 Schmitt: I'll get that later.

118:33:24 Parker: We'll get it later. No hurry.

[Gene goes to the SEP pallet which is still leaning against the (north) strut; Jack goes to the MESA to deploy the Cosmic Ray experiment at per LMP-12.]
118:33:26 Cernan: Okay, now if I can figure how to get this off.
[Gene is about to remove the SEP receiver package from the pallet.]
118:33:30 Schmitt: (To Bob) You've got to educate us again. We may not remember those. Oops.
[Jack is asking for a future reminder about the frame count.]
118:33:37 Cernan: Bob, the SEP's in hand.

118:33:39 Parker: Roger on that. (Pause)

[Fendell starts a TV pan. The SEP receiver/recorder is a box about one-foot on each side. Gene will mount the receiver on the inner surface of the geopallet and the extendible, three-section SEP receiving antenna on the geopost immediately behind Jack's Rover seat, as can be seen in training photos S72-50270 and S72-48890. After the EVA-1 traverse, Gene and Jack will deploy a low-frequency (a few megahertz) radio transmitter about 150 meters east of the LM and then, during the EVA-2 and EVA-3 traverses will record signals which, having been altered by their passage through lunar materials, will give experimenters indications of the local structure down to depths of a few kilometers.]

[Training film shows Gene installing the receiver and antenna on a Rover mock-up in the 1/6th-g airplane.]

118:33:55 Cernan: Okay. I'll give you a (SEP) temperature. Let's see whether it fits. (Pause) I'll bet it does. (Pause) Come on; lock, baby. Okay, it's On...

MP3 Audio Clip ( 14 min 56 sec )

118:34:23 Parker: Copy that.

118:34:24 Cernan: ...It's locked.

118:34:25 Parker: Roger.

[The SEP receiver is temperature sensitive. Later in the mission, the fasteners on the SEP receiver dust cover will fail, the radiator will get enough dust on it that Gene will never be able to get it properly cleaned, and the temperature will rise to the point that the instrument shuts itself off.]

[Fendell is looking at the U.S. flag with the North Massif in the background.]

118:34:27 Cernan: Okay. Bob, here's a temperature for you. Forty degrees (Fahrenheit about 5 Celsius).

Video Clip ( 3 min 04 sec 0.8 Mb RealVideo or 28 Mb MPEG )

118:34:33 Parker: Say again.

118:34:34 Cernan: Four-zero.

118:34:35 Parker: Copy that.

118:34:41 Cernan: (Reading CDR-13) "Close (SEP dust) cover." Okay, number 1. Something over here. Never did figure out what.

[Details of the SEP receiver antenna deployment are given on a decal.]
118:34:51 Schmitt: Okay, Bob, the "Shade" is deployed facing deep space. (Pause)

118:35:03 Parker: (Momentarily puzzled) Oh, copy. Roger. Understand the cosmic ray.

[Jack is deploying the cosmic ray experiment as per LMP-12, a cousin to the solar wind experiment flown on Apollos 11, 12 and 15. It is simpler version of the cosmic ray experiment flown on Apollo 16 as part of that ALSEP package. The Apollo 17 experiment consists of detectors referred to as "Sun" and "Shade". Jack is using a strap to hang the "Shade" detector - in the shade, of course - from one of the plus-Z (west) strut supports. He will then hang the "Sun" detector - in full sunlight - from one of the minus-Z (east) supports. Deployment of the cosmic ray package is optional at this point in the checklist. Had Jack been seriously behind the timeline, he could have delayed deployment until the end of the second EVA, as shown on EVA-2 pages LMP-28 and CDR-30.]
118:35:12 Cernan: Okay, Bob. The (SEP receiver) antenna is deployed. It's not on the post yet, but it's deployed. (Long Pause)

[Note that, as indicated on CDR-13 details of the SEP Receiver Antenna deployment are listed on decals afixed to the instrument. At present, I do not have copies of those decals.]
118:35:40 Cernan: (Talking to the antenna) Oh, oh. Come on. Don't get all caught on something. (Pause) That's better. That's better.

118:35:53 Schmitt: Okay, Bob. I think (I've) just about got the "Sun" side deployed, just as perpendicular to the Sun as I think anybody could do.

118:36:06 Parker: Okay. Copy that. Good enough.

118:36:11 Schmitt: Okay, I don't have any pictures (of the cosmic ray experiment) yet (because Jack doesn't have a camera with him), so you might put that down as something to get later.

118:36:15 Parker: Yeah, we'll catch that in the pan(orama) next EVA or something like that. (Pause)

118:36:27 Cernan: Boy, if that (SEP) antenna doesn't get some noise from outer space, I don't know what will. If they are out there, and they are I'm sure. They'll see that one. That is even weirder looking out here than it is in the high bay.

[The "high bay" is in the Flight Crew Training Building at the Cape. Fendell finds Gene at the rear of the Rover, mounting the SEP.]
118:36:39 Schmitt: Hey, Bob? Before I leave (with) the ALSEP, remind me to check the cosmic ray. I might hit it here in the process of deployment.
[Jack is about to remove the ALSEP from its storage compartment in the southeast quadrant of the LM, and is afraid that he might hit the "Sun" part of the cosmic ray experiment. He is at the top of LMP-13 and his first task is to open the doors of the Scientific Equipment (SEQ) Bay.]

[The SEQ Bay has a small, vertically hinged door on the left, which Jack will open first. It also has a two-secton, horizontally hinged door that is opened by pulling on a lanyard. Diagrams on page 58 of Scott Sullivan's Virtual LM illustrate the way the main door is hinged. Additonal details can be found on pages 38 to 47.]

118:36:50 Parker: Okay, try not to.

118:36:52 Schmitt: I got a little close.

118:36:54 Parker: Okay.

118:36:55 Schmitt: (Responding to Bob's "Try not to") Oh, I will. (Pause)

118:37:04 Schmitt: Okay. The (SEQ Bay) doors are open!! Beautifully. I don't know what talent you have for landing in holes, Cernan, but once again I'll be doing all the ALSEP work in a hole. (Pause) Okay.

[The repetition of Jack's 118:37:04 transmission in the MP3 file may be the result of a change of tapes by the audio technician at NASA Johnson who, in 1989, made the cassette copies used years later to make the MP3 file.]
Video Clip ( 3 min 26 sec 0.9 Mb RealVideo or 31 Mb MPEG )

118:37:25 Parker: Are you saying we should have kept the pulleys there, Jack?

[Cernan - "At one time, I think there was a pulley we could use to lower the ALSEP to the ground. We probably took them off. I didn't like all that extra garbage; I thought we could handle things quicker without all those crutches. It was just a matter of wanting fewer things to mess with. But Jack found himself, as he said, 'in the hole' and had to reach higher than he wanted."]
118:37:31 Schmitt: (Agreeing with Bob, but grudgingly) Yeah, I need the pulleys.
[Schmitt - "There were some pulleys originally, but we had more problems with them than they were worth. As it turned out, I don't think we had a great deal of problems getting the packages out."]
118:37:34 Cernan: You know, Bob, I've got a little bit of a problem here. I've got the SEP connector on. (Jack laughs) But...It'll slide down in, but the locking cover just won't go over.

[As per CDR-13 Gene may be attaching the SEP Nav cable to the Rover. This cable probably carries information from the Rover Nav system to the SEP recorder.]
118:37:51 Parker: Roger, Geno. Understand. And it slides in far enough, and you think it's aligned, huh?

118:37:59 Cernan: Yeah, I'm positive it's aligned. It just didn't appear to lock over, well not appear, it just won't lock over. I'm shoving it home. Okay, I got it.

118:38:08 Parker: Okay. Copy.

118:38:09 Cernan: I got it. Makes everyone happier.

118:38:11 Parker: I'm glad we have the right solution to that one, Geno.

118:38:16 Cernan: The right solution is the fact that you've got a man here doing it.

118:38:19 Parker: (Laughs)

[Cernan - "This is a response to "should you send man or machine into space?" We've had a lot of controversy and comment on that over the years, and this was just a subtle little comment to reinforce man's usefulness in space, even for a seemingly simple operation."]
118:38:20 Cernan: (Looking at his checklist) Okay.

118:38:22 Schmitt: Hey, Bob. The ECA Temp Monitor switch is On.

118:38:27 Parker: Copy that. (Long Pause)

[The ECA Monitor measures the temperature of the ALSEP's radionuclide fuel element.]
Movie Clip (1.7Mb; mov)

118:38:54 Cernan: There's an easy way and a hard to do everything. Don't know why we don't pick the easy way. (Pause; Fendell pans away) Okay.

[Schmitt - "Although we'd learned a lot of things from the prior crews, we'd never personally had a chance to do things in one-sixth gravity. One-sixth gravity is something you can take advantage of, and we learned very quickly. For example, because things don't accelerate as quickly, you just have more time to react. I often found that if I had something like the hammer in one hand, and I wanted to shift it to the other hand, rather than actually move my hands together, I could just flip it and catch it. Moving your hands together is a lot of work in the suit; but if you just flip something, that's not much work at all. Here, Gene may have instinctively done something the way he would have in one gravity and realized there was an easier way to do it in one-sixth gravity; or he just forgot - as I often did, and I think we all did in the intensity of the moment - what was the best way to do something."]
118:39:16 Schmitt: RTG is on the surface.
[The Radioisotope Thermal Generator (RTG) is the ALSEP power generator and is the major piece of equipment in one of the two ALSEP packages. The fuel element is stored separately and Jack will extract it from its transport cask after he has prepared the RTG to receive it.]
118:39:18 Parker: Copy that.

118:39:19 Schmitt: Central station is...Hey, Bob; Gene's little pitch-up makes these things slide out by themselves almost.

118:39:29 Parker: Better thank him next time you see him. (Pause)

[Jack is getting the other ALSEP package down. This one contains the Central Station and most of the experiment modules.]
118:39:41 Cernan: Okay. (Pause) Hey, Jack, you notice there's none of those guys up there holding those hoses as we go around the LM?

118:39:52 Schmitt: What do you mean? I saw one just a minute ago.

[Schmitt - "In the early days of EVA training, down in Florida on a not-very-well-simulated lunar surface we had outside the simulator building, we were operating with air cooling; we were just forcing (chilled) air through the suit. I was responsible for orchestrating a lot of the training, and I remember for Apollo 12 I got increasingly worried about the heat loads that were building up during this EVA training in the pressurized suits. Even with the lightweight backpack, Conrad and Bean were working awfully hard and getting awfully hot, just as I had in running some of the simulations. I was afraid we were going to hurt somebody because some of these guys, probably myself included, once they got involved in a task, were the sort who wouldn't say 'quit' until they passed out. And we certainly didn't need that. So I started to talk with the support crew and basically asked them if we could figure out a way to use ice water in the liquid-cooled underwear. Several guys went to work on that and what they did was add a water hose to the air hose we were already using and connected it to the liquid-cooled garment and then carried around a supply of ice water on their own backs. It made all the difference in the world; it was still tough, but at least you didn't get overheated. So there was always a guy around carrying your ice-water supply, but they were very good at staying out of sight behind you, and you had to turn real quick to know they were there. And that's what I was talking about."]

[Interested readers will find a second version of this story at 142:50:46.]

[Cernan - "As I read through this, I remember seeing a book or an article that somebody put together about how, on Apollo 17, we were visited by an outer-space alien. They took our lunar surface transcripts and pulled out unique parts of them which made it sound as if we were referring to somebody else being there. I remember one thing in particular: (at the end of EVA-1 at 123:28:30) we had a piece of foam rubber or something crack and sort of blow up in the sky, and I said 'What's that?' And here, I'm saying, 'Hey, you notice there's none of those guys up there holding those hoses.' And we go around the LM and Jack says, 'What do you mean? I just saw one a minute ago.' And these people, or this guy, took these kinds of things out of our transcripts, out of context, and put a whole story together that was almost believable. If I hadn't been there myself, I would have thought that an alien spacecraft landed next to us and these comments were referring to that. It was amazing what you can do with editing."]

[Training photo S72-44420 shows Gene working with the Traverse Gravimeter at the back of the one-g LRV trainer during a session at the Cape. The techs supplying Gene's cooling water are keeping out of sight behind him. Note that the LRV was not equipped with a geo-pallet for the training session shown.]

118:39:55 Cernan: Okay, Bob. You want (explosive charges) 4, 5, 6, and 7.

118:40:02 Parker: That's affirmative.

[Gene is at the top of CDR-14 and is offloading four seismic charges which are stowed in one of two transporters (Xprtr) stowed in the Descent Stage. The other transporter contains charges number 1, 2, 3, and 8. He will mount the transporter on the back of the Rover and later, during the geology traverses he and Jack will deploy the charges at pre-planned spots. Eventually, after Gene and Jack have left the Moon, experimenters back on Earth will transmit detonation signals to the charges, one by one.]

[Training photo S72-48887 shows one of the charge transporters mounted behind Gene's Rover seat.]

[Fendell is looking at a large rock - perhaps a foot across - just south of the Rover.]

118:40:03 Cernan: Okay, 4, 5, 6, and 7. It's coming off.

118:40:07 Parker: Roger on that.

118:40:11 Cernan: Okay. (Long Pause) Just took time out for a snack and a little water ( meaning a bite of his food stick and a sip from his drink valve ).

118:40:35 Schmitt: (To himself) Come on.

118:40:36 Parker: (Responding to Gene) Okay. (Pause)

Video Clip ( 2 min 49 sec 0.6 Mb RealVideo or 25 Mb MPEG )

118:40:45 Cernan: How's the TV working?

118:40:47 Parker: Beautiful. (Pause) To coin a phrase, it's a 'panoramic scene of beauty'.

[Bob is quoting something Charlie Duke said during Apollo 16 at 126:54:58.]
118:40:57 Schmitt: Come on now, Bob!

118:41:00 Cernan: Say, Bob, what do you think of the terrain?

118:41:03 Parker: Looks flat. Looks very flat and smooth.

118:41:11 Cernan: That's why you're an astronomer.

118:41:13 Schmitt: That's why you're...(Laughs; Gene has beaten him to the joke). Oh, well.

[Cernan - "This was not an old joke; but here I am, on the lunar surface in this big, mountainous terrain, and he's telling me it looks flat and smooth!"]
118:41:16 Cernan: Okay, I'll give you a reading on the TGE if you're ready.

118:41:20 Parker: Roger, ready.

[Gene has finished mounting the Explosion Package Transporter on the back of the Rover and, as per CDR-14 is making the TGE reading he started at 118:32:14.]
Movie Clip (1.7Mb; mov)

118:41:24 Cernan: (Talking to himself) Don't kick dust on it. Hope I can read it down here. (Pause) Bob, you're going to have to bear with me. When I leaned over to punch it, I hit Gravity instead of Read, so I guess I got to wait it out.

[After the three minute leveling/measurement period is over, the digital display remains lit for twenty seconds and then goes off to conserve the internal batteries. Punching the Read button re-illuminates the display and shows the measurement values for another 20 seconds. This can be done repeatedly. The top of the instrument is about eight inches long and about four across.]
118:41:54 Parker: Okay. We'll start the timer again.

118:41:58 Cernan: Okay, I should have been more careful. Okay. (Reading CDR-14) "Orient (SEP) pallet to the Sun." (To Bob) If you can see it, it's (pointed) directly at the Sun so that ought to be good.

118:42:09 Parker: Okay, copy that.

[Gene is making sure that the SEP pallet - which he had previously leaned against the north strut - is properly oriented in relation to the Sun so that the remaining equipment can warm up.]
118:42:17 Cernan: The SRC doesn't have to be all the way closed does it?

118:42:20 Parker: No. Not all the way. Just as long as it's most of the way closed. You can have a crack there in the top.

[All that is necessary is that the Sun not be shining into the interior.]
118:42:29 Cernan: Okay, that's what it is. (Pause) Man, I'll tell you. This thing (the MESA) got low all of a sudden. (Pause) How are you coming, Jack?

118:42:45 Schmitt: Great.

118:42:47 Cernan: You get it (the RTG) fueled yet?

118:42:48 Schmitt: Oh, no.

118:42:49 Cernan: Okay.

[Note that CDR-14 has a notation on the right-hand side, set off by a bracket, which indicates that, if they were both on the timeline, Jack would be fueling the RTG at this point. The fueling procedures are on LMP-13.]
118:42:50 Schmitt: Coming soon though.

118:42:51 Cernan: Let me know if you have any problems with that.

118:42:54 Schmitt: All right, I will.

[The Apollo 12 crew had trouble removing the fuel element because of a too-tight fit in the transport cask. The design was modified before the Apollo 13 launch and no further problems of that kind were experienced by any of the crews.]
118:42:56 Cernan: Okay. Come on bag.
[Gene is getting out a storage bag for the sections of deep core they will obtain at the ALSEP site. He is in the middle of CDR-14 and will put the bag on the LMP Rover seat.]
118:42:57 Schmitt: You're all I got.

118:42:59 Cernan: Man. There we go.

118:43:02 Schmitt: Da da, dee dee. (Pause)

118:43:13 Cernan: Bob, that gravimeter went right to...It blinked once and went right to steady, so I don't expect it'll be too long.

[The gravimeter only shifted a little when he punched the Grav button the second time.]
118:43:20 Parker: Okay, I'll give you a call in a couple of minutes there. Ought to be done.

118:43:26 Cernan: Okay.

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118:43:28 Parker: And Jack. I understand you have the RTG fueled?

118:43:34 Schmitt: Negative.

118:43:35 Parker: Okay.

118:43:36 Schmitt: I'm supposed to call you when I have it fueled.

118:43:40 Parker: Okay.

118:43:42 Cernan: Jack, do you have a... Am I missing a map I should have up here?

118:43:46 Schmitt: There should be two maps. They're under the seat. I put them in there so they wouldn't bounce off. I'm sorry. I forgot to tell you.

[Gene is working at the right side of the Rover. He reaches under Jack's seat for the maps. These are copies of photos taken from orbit by the Apollo 15 crew. Contour maps are printed on the back showing the planned traverse routes.]
118:43:51 Cernan: Okay, I got them. (Pause) Hello, Houston.
[Gene waves into the TV.]
118:44:07 Parker: Hello, Challenger. (Pause)
[Cernan - "In listening to the tape just now, I knew before he said it that Bob was going to come back with 'Hello, Challenger.' That's just typical of both Jack and Bob: playing verbal games, having fun."]

[Gene has two maps in his hands and turns them a couple times, making sure he has the correct one on top and properly oriented. He then clips them in the holder on the accessory staff. This task is not on Gene's checklist. According to the checklists, Jack was supposed to have placed the maps on the LMP seat as part of the tasks on LMP-11 and, apparently, they were supposed to stay there until, after the ALSEP deployment, Jack clips them to the accessory staff. Apparently, Gene had gotten used to finding the maps on the LMP seat at this point in his activities and, not seeing them there now, asked Jack and then decided to take a few seconds to clip them to the staff.]

118:44:18 Cernan: I wish I could go back and make that landing about 6 or 7 times so I could take in all that I missed.

118:44:25 Schmitt: So do I! I might as well have stayed at the Cape.

118:44:31 Cernan: Okay. Let's see. (Starting toward the LM, looking at CDR-14) Core/bore (bag), neutron flux, and I'll get the drill and then I'll go back and...

118:44:37 Parker: Geno, you might wander by the gravimeter. I think it might be done by now. You might just check the light and see if it's steady, or on or not.

118:44:48 Cernan: Okay. I'll go by there right now, Bob. (Long Pause)

[Gene goes to the MESA, then to the Rover, and finally to the gravimeter.]
118:45:26 Schmitt: For future reference, Bob, the dome removal tool (pause) doesn't...It'll turn. (Pause) Well, shoot.
[The "dome" is the removable lid on the fuel cask.]
118:45:51 Cernan: Okay, Bob; let's see. It's not lit. Can I take a reading?

118:45:57 Parker: Rog. If the light's out, give us a reading.

[Fendell is looking past the north strut at the crater east of the LM.]
118:46:01 Cernan: Well, let's see if I can punch the right button this time. Okay, it's 670 017 201, 670 017 201. And it was about 75 percent in the shade of the Rover.
[The gravimeter has internal heaters to keep the key sensor at a temperature of 322 ± 0.01 degrees Kelvin. That way, the physical characteristics of the sensor don't change significantly between one measurement and the next.]

[Fendell is looking toward the Sculptured Hills.]

118:46:19 Parker: Okay. I copy that. And now we're ready for "Bias" (as per CDR-14).

118:46:23 Cernan: Now, you want...(Listens) Okay, a "Bias" coming at you. On the ground, correct?

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118:46:27 Parker: Roger.

[By punching another button, marked "Bias", Gene activates a mechanism which, in essence, inverts the gravity sensing components and permits a determination of factors in the equation relating the instrument reading to an actual value for the local gravitational acceleration.]
118:46:30 Cernan: It's blinking, Bob.

118:46:33 Parker: Okay. Copy that.

[Fendell is looking at a large boulder northeast of the LM.]
118:46:34 Cernan: I've got the core bag and the neutron flux, and...

118:46:35 Schmitt: Gene, I need your hammer.

118:46:36 Cernan: Okay. You need my help. Okay, coming over. (Pause) What's the problem?

[Jack is on LMP-13.]
118:46:46 Schmitt: Well, the dome removal tool never latched into the dome, but it turned it. I think it's pretty badly chewed up. I'm not sure what happened.

118:46:56 Cernan: Oh, boy.

118:46:57 Schmitt: Let me have your hammer because I'm going to have to pry off the dome.

[If the Central Station can't be fueled, none of the ALSEP experiments will work. The fuel element is under the dome, so the dome will have to be taken off if they are to fuel the ALSEP.]

[Schmitt - "The fuel element was in a graphite capsule hanging on the outside of the LM next to the ALSEP stowage area. You tilted it down to a horizontal position so that you could get at the dome to get it off. The theory behind the capsule was that, if you had a breakup during launch or a re-entry because of an accident in orbit, the capsule would separate and re-enter intact so that the element itself would not be exposed and put plutonium into the atmosphere. So you had to take the capsule apart by taking this dome off; we had a special tool to do that and another tool to latch onto the fuel element and extract it out of the graphite capsule. I don't think there were threads involved in the dome removal. If I remember correctly, it had three prongs and pins and you put them in slots and you screwed the pins in and that released the catches that were holding the dome in there. Clearly there was a turning that was involved and something had gotten stripped."]

[In a subsequent discussion (and a follow-up, 11/4/91 memorandum), Roy Zocher, a Los Alamos engineer who participated in the design of the Apollo SNAP-27 RTG, provided the following information about the fuel cask:]

[Zocher - "Originally, the SNAP-27 design was consistent with the earlier concept of high altitude (400,000 ft) dispersion of fuel in an orbital decay or re-entry accident. After the RTG program was started, new direction was received which dictated re-entry and earth-impact survivability for the plutonium heat source. That direction, in turn, inspired the design that was ultimately flown. In addition, there was an early design constraint to separate the heat source and converter, since the launch loads were too high for the RTG if the heat source was flown in the converter."]

["The heat source canister was located on the exterior of the LM to afford a free release in a re-entry accident. (A free release) did occur with the heat source canister from the aborted Apollo 13 mission. That canister resides at the bottom of the ocean in the Tonga Trench, without release of fuel. The fuel canister location on the LM was not related to radiation considerations. Radiation exposure to the astronauts (from the fuel element) was not a significant factor - from both time and source-intensity perspectives. The design concept of the heat source entering the atmosphere, and the subsequent hard-surface impact was proven by an extensive and well documented test program."]

[It is no accident that the Apollo 13 fuel cask lies in the very deepest part of the ocean. Andrew Chaikin tells me that, among the many things that had to be done during the Apollo 13 rescue was to design the return trajectory and LM jettison timing so that the fuel capsule would end up in the Tonga Trench.]

118:47:01 Cernan: Can't you...

118:47:02 Schmitt: No. I......You see I...I've stripped it, I think. I didn't think I could do it.

[Jack rarely stutters.]
118:47:10 Cernan: No. Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. Let me...

118:47:12 Schmitt: See, it's stripped. See, but it's open. Wait a minute. See? No wait. See? Just put your blade in there. Don't touch it. Put the blade in there; and pry.

118:47:24 Cernan: It'll come. (Pause) I hope.

[Cernan - "To get the fuel element out, you tilted the cask and used this removal tool. You didn't want to get too close to the fuel, because it was radioactive (and, more importantly, was thermally hot enough to damage the suit); so, once you had the dome off, you would use the tool to pull the fuel element out. Well, with the dome threads stripped, we were going to have to use the sharp point of the hammer to pry the dome off."]
118:47:32 Schmitt: Be careful. Here, let me get it once from this side.

118:47:35 Cernan: Wait a minute.

118:47:36 Schmitt: Gene, don't get so close. Move your hand. There, you got it. Nice work.

118:47:44 Cernan: Okay, it's off. It's off.

118:47:47 Schmitt: Nice work.

118:47:50 Cernan: Whoo!

[They have averted the loss of a major mission objective. Gene goes to the ladder, puts the hammer back in his shin pocket, turns a checklist page, and reads.]
118:47:51 Parker: Roger. Once again we have the right solution.
[Gene is standing at the bottom of the ladder and is examining the checklist on his left wrist, possibly looking ahead to CDR-15.]
118:47:54 Schmitt: I'm not sure, Bob, what happened. You might ask them that if you only partially get the dome removal tool on, if you can strip the whole thing out?

MP3 Audio Clip ( 17 min 04 sec )

118:48:06 Parker: Okay, we'll look at it (garbled).

118:48:07 Schmitt: It won't make much difference any more.

118:48:08 Parker: We'll make sure it's changed on the next dome removal tool. (Pause)

[The following is extracted from the Apollo 17 Mission Report. "The socket on the removal tool can engage the nut on the dome before the pins on the tool lock into the recess in the dome (Fig. 15-22). The LMP did not verify that the pins were locked. In this configuration, rotating the tool clockwise will rotate the nut on the dome. A 90-degree rotation of the nut releases the dome retaining straps, as noted by the crew. This release allows the dome to rotate when the tool is rotated another 60 degrees, thus disengaging the threaded dome/cask interface. However, with the pins not locked into the dome recess, the dome could be cocked but not withdrawn. The dome was easily wedged off the cask with the hammer. The sequence can be duplicated with either broken pins or by incomplete insertion and locking of the pins."]
118:48:20 Cernan: Bob, I'm just taking a breather.

118:48:22 Parker: Okay, we're watching you.

118:48:23 Schmitt: That was a strange one, Gene. Did you see how I mangled that thing?

118:48:28 Cernan: Yeah.

118:48:30 Schmitt: Okay, RTG (fuel element) is out.

118:48:32 Cernan: Don't trip (and get it dirty).

118:48:34 Schmitt: Wouldn't think of it.

[Gene turns and watches Jack transfer the fuel element.]
118:48:35 Cernan: Okay, where was I? I've got to go back and get the drill, if I'm not mistaken. (Looking at CDR-14) Yes sir; and then I'll be caught up with the TGE.
[Gene makes his way to the MESA.]
118:48:48 Schmitt: Okay, Houston. The RTG is inserted. The fuel element, that is.

118:48:52 Parker: Okay, we'll copy that. (Pause)

118:49:00 Cernan: Bob, I'll give you my word. Before we leave here, I'll make sure that the SRC is closed.

118:49:06 Parker: Okay. Copy that. As long as it's got only an inch or two showing there, it should be no problem. That looks fine...

118:49:16 Cernan: Man, I've got to put something on it to get it down to that far.

118:49:19 Parker: Okay.

[One of the many advantages of the TV is that, in cases like this where there is a question about the configuration of some piece of equipment, experts on the ground can actually see what the astronauts would otherwise have to describe verbally.]
118:49:25 Cernan: Oh, that (drill) came out like a dream. Man, is this MESA low when you go...Come on, baby.
[Gene is kneeling at the MESA, removing the drill. Getting up again is relatively easy because he can hold on to the MESA.]
118:49:33 Schmitt: (As per LMP-13) SEQ (Scientific Equipment) Bay doors are closed.
[The SEQ is the ALSEP storage compartment. Closing these southeast-facing doors prevents the interior of the descent stage from heating.]
118:49:35 Parker: Roger. Copy that.

118:49:36 Schmitt: And I'm checking out the cosmic ray. Cosmic ray looks good.

[That is, he didn't bump into it while getting the ALSEP packages out.]
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118:49:42 Parker: Beautiful.

118:49:46 Cernan: Oh! I snuck a queek...quick peek at the drill, and it does work.

118:49:56 Schmitt: (Hearing a burst of radio noise) What in the world is that?

118:49:57 Cernan: That's Ron!

118:49:59 Schmitt: Ron?!

118:50:01 Cernan: That's Ron.

[The TV jiggles, indicating that Gene is putting the drill on the LMP Rover seat.]
118:50:02 Schmitt: Got his VHF on, that fink.

118:50:05 Cernan: (To Houston) Hey, you might tell Ron we can hear him. (Pause)

[Evans, in the Command Module, and the surface crew both have VHF transmitters and receivers. During most of the three days of surface operations, Evans will have his VHF transmitter powered down. Evidently, he is inadvertently transmitting the carrier signal at this point and interfering with comm on the surface.]
118:50:18 Cernan: Okay. "Drill to LMP seat." With seat belt. Bob, you still with us? (No answer)
[Gene will take the drill out to the ALSEP site on the Rover and is strapping it into Jack's seat. NASA photo 72-H-1190 shows Gene on the 1g-trainer at the Cape, waiting for some tour busses to pass. The drill is belted on Jack's seat.]
118:50:28 Schmitt: Okay, ALSEP is put together in the barbell mode. And Charlie Duke, I have checked it; and it is locked.
[On Apollo 16, one of the two ALSEP packages fell off of the carrying handle while Charlie Duke was walking out to the ALSEP site. Jack is now at the top of LMP-14 and will carry the ALSEP packages about 300 feet west of the LM. The handwritten notation "Thumb=350'" suggests that Jack had figured out a way of using his thumb to determine when he was 350 feet (107 m) from the LM. One obvious method is to turn occasionally during the walk out to the deployment sight and compare the apparent size of his thumb with the LM. The LM is 23 feet (7.0m) tall and, at 350 feet (107 m) subtends 3.75 degrees. When held at arm's length, my thumb is about 0.6 m from my eyes. At that distance, a part of the gloved thumb needs to be 3.9 cm across to subtend 3.75 degrees. Because this is about the diameter of a gloved thumb, this may have been the method Jack was using. Journal contributor Jim Scotti notes that Jack appears to use this method shortly after 118:52:17, below.]
118:50:40 Cernan: Hello, there, Ron. If you read, we're reading you. (Pause)

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118:50:53 Schmitt: (Picking up the ALSEP package; singing) Well, "We're off to see the Wizard."

[Journal Contributor Harald Kucharek reminds us that Jack is singing the first line of the title song of the 1939 MGM film 'The Wizard of Oz', starring Judy Garland.]
118:50:57 Schmitt: Hey, do you need me, Gene?

118:50:59 Cernan: Nope.

118:51:00 Schmitt: I'm going to go deploy an ALSEP.

118:51:03 Cernan: Have at it.

118:51:04 Schmitt: First, I've got to find an ALSEP site.

118:51:07 Cernan: Don't fall into Camelot. (Pause) Okay, Bob. I'd like to read a TGE.

[Jack comes around the south side of the LM and heads west. His path out to the eventual ALSEP site can be traced in a frame from the on-board 16-mm camera taken during the ascent. The more direct path represents a run Jack made back to the LM at about 121:34:39 and, as well, a round-trip he made to the ALSEP site during the EVA-3 close-out. Compare with the LRV TV record and a post-EVA-3 window mini-pan. A labeled version is also available. Gene also drove the Rover from the LM to the ALSEP site and back on two occasions but the evidence suggests that a running astronaut disturbs the surface more than does the Rover. For example, see note the disturbance of the surface where John Young and Charlie Duke walked at Station 10-Prime, as shown in AS16-117-18826. In that shot, we see a fan of soil flying forward as a result of John stepping forward with his right foot.]
118:51:15 Parker: Roger. You're ready to read the TGE, or we are.
[Jack has been carrying the ALSEP with palms down; now he switches to palms-up, one hand at a time, with slight tosses of the bar.]

[Schmitt - "The ALSEP turned out to be a lot harder to carry than you would have imagined, mainly because your forearms were already tired from doing so much work. You had to grip that handle and carry it some 300 feet to a reasonable site and that was almost the last straw; you didn't know if you were ever going to recover and be able to use your hands again. It weighed about 350 Earth-pounds. On the Moon it was only 60 pounds; and the problem was gripping that handle of the barbell."]

[Apollo 13 photo KSC-70PC-15 shows Jim Lovell carrying the ALSEP packages during training. He is carrying it in the arms-down position. The RTG pallet is on Lovell's left. Note the locking mechanism with which the pallets are secured to the carrybar and, also, the Universal Handling Tool (UHT) attached to each of the pallets.]

118:51:20 Cernan: Oh, you won't believe it.

118:51:25 Schmitt: You did it again.

[Jack is guessing that Gene hit the wrong gravimeter button.]
118:51:26 Cernan: No!! There goes a fender.

118:51:28 Schmitt: Oh, shoot!

[The hammer in Gene's shin pocket has just caught under the right rear fender, ripping off the rearward extension. Gene remembers that, although the suit reduced his tactile sensitivity a great deal, he did feel the hammer catch but was unable to stop himself before the damage had been done. During Apollo 16, at Station 8 near the end of the second EVA, Charlie Duke and John Young were at the back of the Rover, near the right-rear fender, changing each other's sample bags. Houston was looking at them with the TV. John had the hammer in his shin pocket and, as soon as Charlie finished changing his bag, started around the back of the Rover to go to his seat. John's right leg - and, most likely, the hammer - caught on the fender and ripped it off. In his 1990 book, Moonwalker, Charlie inexplicably says that it was he who knocked the fender off but also adds that "it had happened so many times in training that we didn't think anything of it." A plausible explanation for this statement is that Charlie was remembering a training incident. Like the 17 crew, they soon realized that the loss of the fender would force them to spend far more time dusting and doing other housekeeping chores than they would have liked. Among other things, after the EVA they were both covered with dust and, despite efforts to clean themselves, took a great deal into the cabin. There, they had to wrap their suit legs in bags in an effort to keep the dust from fouling closures and, of course, in the process of getting out of the suits, they got their hands very dirty and, because they had no way to really clean themselves up, got dust on everything they touched.]

[Ron Creel has provided a summary ( 1.3 Mb PDF ) of the fender extension losses that occurred on all three Rover missions.]

118:51:31 Schmitt: Say, Bob, I'm moving down-Sun.

118:51:34 Cernan: Well, I'll get that (fender) in a minute.

118:51:36 Schmitt: I'm moving down-Sun (west), and where we've walked, we stir up darker material - just slightly (darker) - but it's darker. The same old thing that most regoliths have.

118:51:50 Parker: Okay, copy that.

[Jack is walking at a rapid pace, albeit far more flat-footed than he had been walking unburdened. He is kicking up more dust and his bouncing stride has gone for the moment.]

[Schmitt - "Recently, a lot of us have been trying to figure out why it is that, when you stir up the surface near the LM, it seems darker while, away from the LM, you don't see that. And my conclusion at this point is that the winnowing effect of the descent engine effluent increases the frequency of small rock fragments compared with dust in the area around the LM, and that, in turn, results in a higher than normal albedo. Rock fragments give you a higher albedo than the dust does. And so, when you walk over it and stir it up, you bring up the normal regolith on top of this winnowed material. And as you move farther and farther away from the effects of the descent engine, you see less and less of that happening. The samples taken near the LM and underneath the LM never showed any chemical contamination or any other reason for that lighter-colored albedo. Yet the visual effect was so marked that you could see a landing site from orbit. We could see ours after we were back in orbit, and we could see Apollo 15 when we flew over it later in the mission."]

[The light color of the soil around the LM is visible in photographs taken from Station 6, on the lower slopes of the North Massif, about 70 meters above the LM and 3 kilometers distant. The best of these is AS17-139- 21203. An example of the darker color of disturbed soil near the LM is AS17-134- 20462, a down-Sun picture taken at the end of EVA-3 - which also shows the SEP pallet leaning on the north LM strut. A typical photo showing the lack of color change of disturbed soil well away from the LM is AS17-134- 20500, which was taken down-Sun at the ALSEP site, also at the end of EVA-3.]

[The darkening of disturbed soil can be seen in the TV picture just below center.]

118:51:52 Parker: Have you got a bias reading there, Gene?

118:51:54 Cernan: Yeah, I'm giving it to you right now. 337, 454, 001. That's 337, 454, 001

118:52:05 Parker: Okay, we copy that.

[After losing Jack for a moment, Fendell finds him moving down-Sun.]
118:52:06 Cernan: And I hate to say it, but I'm going to have to take some time to try...I'm going to have to try to get that fender back on.

118:52:13 Parker: Okay. Was it the rear fender, Geno?

118:52:17 Cernan: Yeah. Caught it with my hammer, and it just popped right off. (Pause)

[During this exchange, Jack stops to rest, but moves again in eight seconds. He then walks about 20 steps before putting the ALSEP down. He turns to look back toward the LM.]

[Journal Contributor Jim Scotti notes that, when Jack turns toward the LM the second time, he raises his thumb in front of his face, probably comparing it with the apparent size of the LM. See the discussion after 118:50:28, above.]

118:52:24 Cernan: Bob, for future reference, it's a piece of cake putting the TGE on and off (the Rover).

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118:52:28 Parker: Okay, copy that. (Pause)

118:52:35 Cernan: Jack, is the tape under my seat, do you remember?

[This is a roll of very ordinary, gray duct tape.]
118:52:38 Schmitt: Yes.

118:52:39 Cernan: I may need it. Okay. Lithium hydroxide canister to middle.

[Gene is referring to the second line at the top of CDR-14.]
118:52:45 Schmitt: I'm in Max cooling.
[Jack lifts the ALSEP, palms down, to knee height. Carrying the ALSEP is the hardest work Jack will do during the mission. His heart rate will peak at about 140 beats per minute. Note that the times indicated on the horizontal axis of the graph are 2 hours 40 minutes earlier than those used in the Journal, which are relative to the planned time of launch rather than the actual time of launch.]
118:52:49 Cernan: Man, you're wobbling around like a...How are you doing?

118:52:53 Schmitt: Oh, fine. It's just...It's work going out here!

118:52:56 Cernan: Yeah, I'll bet it is. Just take it easy.

118:52:58 Schmitt: I am.

118:52:59 Cernan: I'm going to be a little bit behind you (on the timeline) if I have to work on that fender, anyway.

118:53:01 Parker: Yeah, you can walk a bit more slowly than you're walking, Jack.

118:53:03 Schmitt: Okay, more and more...(Hearing Bob) What's that?

118:53:08 Parker: I said that you can walk more slowly than you started out, anyway.

[Because he has to go around small craters, Jack is not walking a straight line out to the ALSEP site. He starts down into a shallow - or goes over a slight ridge - and we lose sight of his feet.]

118:53:15 Schmitt: (Breathing heavily) Bob, texturally, some of these rocks that I believe are the gabbros have a texture not unlike a welded tuff (a rock made from volcanic ash which fuses because of its own internal heat). I know they're not. But they've got some mottled characteristic to them that I haven't yet figured out. (Long Pause)
[Schmitt - "This 'mottled' appearance was probably the result of the small, whitish halos that were produced around every one of the micrometeorite impacts. The shattering of the plagioclase made it lighter colored that it had been to begin with."]

[Jack hoists the ALSEP to chest height, apparently switching to a palms-up or elbow-crook carry in the process. It is impossible to tell from the TV picture which he is using. Jack believes that he did go to an elbow carry.]

118:54:10 Cernan: Well, if it wasn't for that fender, I'd be ready to go. Makes me sort of mad! (Long Pause)

118:54:33 Parker: I say there, Jack, that looks like a big rock there beyond you.

118:54:40 Cernan: That's the one we were talking about. Earlier.

118:54:43 Parker: We believe you now. (Pause)

[This is Geophone Rock, the one they described from inside the LM after landing. Jack has walked into a swale and only his head and shoulders are visible. He stops and looks around, putting the ALSEP down.]

[Schmitt- "Walking down-Sun, the swale wasn't obvious until you got there. Looking up-Sun from the other side, it probably was fairly obvious from the photometric shading that occurs when the sunlight strikes at a glancing angle."]

[Cernan -"I don't remember noticing the swale during the descent. And if I did, it wouldn't have bothered me. All it would have done was pitch us forward a little bit, and what I was really looking for was the holes and boulders."]

[Photo AS17-137- 20867 is part of a panoramic sequence taken at the start of EVA-2 and readers will note that the dark Rover tracks disappear into the swale. An anaglyph made by Jim Scotti and Eric Jones from AS17-145-22193 and 22199 shows the swale from the LM cabin after EVA-3.]

118:54:51 Cernan: Well, I've done this in training. I can't say I'm very adept at putting fenders back on. But I sure don't want to start without it. (Long Pause)
[Gene means that he used tape at various times during training, albeit not to repair a fender. The purpose of the fenders is to keep the wheels from throwing dust forward. Dust is a threat to the Rover itself and to other pieces of equipment because surfaces covered with it tend to get hotter and because dust can get onto camera lenses and into moving parts. Even with the fenders intact, at each stop Gene will have to spend a few minutes dusting critical surfaces such as the battery covers. Without the fender, the dusting chore would take even longer.]
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118:55:22 Cernan: Well, shoot! (Long Pause)

[Jack disappears from view.]
118:55:41 Schmitt: Okay, Bob. I think I'm going to move a little bit to the northwest of my present position in order to get a little farther away from that big rock (Geophone Rock).

118:55:54 Parker: Okay, Jack.

118:55:55 Schmitt: And to get out of a shallow depression...

118:55:59 Parker: Roger.

118:56:00 Schmitt: I'm in a shallow depression that's here.

118:56:03 Parker: Roger. It's not so shallow. You disappeared out of sight from the last (garbled).

[Evidently, Jack has taken a short break; he is beginning to get his breath back. Cuff checklist page LMP-15 is a schematic of the planned ALSEP layout and, as he discusses below, he needs to keep some of the pieces of equipment well away from large rocks and out of craters and depressions. The point at which he makes this major course change from west to northwest can be seen on a 16-mm frame taken from the LM during the ascent. He changes direction when he is about 115 meters from the LM. The Central Station is about 190 meters from the LM.]
RealVideo Clip (8 min 10 sec)

118:56:10 Schmitt: Well it's shallow relative to other depressions I've been in. (Pause)

[Fendell pans right and gives the Backroom a brief look at Geophone Rock.]
118:56:19 Schmitt: You know, this ALSEP is almost as heavy as what we had at the Cape! (Pause) Uh oh! I lost one of my blocks. Oh well, I'll get it on a rock.
[Schmitt - "These were gross-leveling blocks. The idea was that, if your site wasn't quite flat, you could put one under a corner of the ALSEP package and get your initial level. Why we ever had them I'll never know; there were always plenty of rocks you could use. People working in a non-real environment came up with the idea."]
118:56:39 Cernan: Or I'll retrace your steps.

118:56:40 Schmitt: Don't worry about that. I'll be able to...There are enough rocks around. I can use it.

118:56:45 Parker: Copy that, Jack. And Gene, if you're having trouble with that fender and you think it might be easier with two guys, you could wait until you get out to the ALSEP site.

118:56:57 Cernan: No sir, I got it on, but a little piece of the rail is cracked off. And I'm just going to put a couple of pieces of good old-fashioned American gray tape on it...(and) see whether we can't make sure it stays. Because I don't want to lose it. (Pause) Except good old-fashioned gray tape doesn't want to stick very well (because of the dust).

[The TV camera jiggles as Gene works.]
118:57:27 Schmitt: I've not seen any sign of layering in any of the craters. In their walls.
[Jack reappears. He is the white spot right of center just below the point where the northern slope of (West) Family Mountain (left of center) meets the apparent horizon. (Old) Family Mountain is to the right of center.]
118:57:39 Parker: Okay. Copy that.

118:57:41 Schmitt: The rocks still seem to be the pinkish-gray gabbro out here.

[Jack first remarked on the pinkish coloration of the basalts at 117:21:16.]

[Schmitt - "The pinkish color could be the result of one of two things. Any exposed rock surface has a thin patina or coating that looks a little like desert varnish. However, desert varnish is caused by chemical precipitation, while this is a thin, semi-continuous splattering of brown glass from the micrometeorite impacts. The patina may have looked pinkish to me at this point. Or, the clinopyroxene in the rock might have been giving it a pinkish cast in the full Sun."]

[Fendell pans right and finds Gene at the right-rear fender. He is trying to get a piece of tape to stick to the fender.]

RealVideo clip (1 min 6 sec)

118:58:03 Cernan: Good old-fashioned American gray tape doesn't stick to lunar-dust-covered fenders. One more try.

[Cernan - "Because there was dust on everything, once you got a piece of tape off the roll, the first thing the tape stuck to was dust; and then it didn't stick to anything else."]

[Gene discards the piece of tape he's been trying to use. He reaches up with his right hand, grabs the roll off the back of the Rover, and tears off another piece.]

Movie Clip (1.8Mb; mov)

118:58:14 Cernan: I think it'll stay, for an indefinite period of time, right now. (Pause) (Tearing a piece of tape off the roll) Not bad for EV gloves.

[Gene puts the roll back on the top of the geopallet.]

[Cernan - "The suit made using the tape more difficult than it would have been otherwise. You don't have as much dexterity with your hands and fingers to get the tape off the roll and tear it. We used the old trick of folding over a little piece of the end so that that piece wouldn't stick back on the roll; otherwise, you'd never get it off."]

[Gene uses one hand to hold the piece of tape in place and tries to press it down by stroking it with the other hand.]

Video Clip ( 2 min 55 sec 0.7 Mb RealVideo or 25 Mb MPEG )

118:58:33 Schmitt: Can you see me, Bob?

118:58:36 Parker: We're watching Gene, right now. You disappeared out of sight a long while ago. (Pause) Hey, you just came into sight again, Jack.

[Gene turns to look toward Jack before calling to him.]
118:58:53 Cernan: Hey, leave me enough room to deploy the heat flow.

118:58:55 Schmitt: I'm going to, I'm looking for a place. Away from craters and rocks.

[Most of the experiments have constraints of one kind or another about proximity to rocks and/or craters and also to the Central Station, the RTG, and to each other. For example, the heat flow experiment is designed to measure temperature gradients in the soil down to a depth of about 2.5 meters. Craters and rocks, because they absorb and radiate heat differently than a flat surface, can influence the temperature gradients to depths equivalent to their own dimensions.]
118:59:02 Cernan: That's why I didn't land up there. (Pause)
[Geophone Rock, which hadn't been noticed in the pre-mission photos, is about 70 to 80 meters northeast of the planned landing point.]

[Fendell pans to Jack, who is resting with the ALSEP on the ground.]

118:59:11 Schmitt: Okay, I think I've got a place. And I think it'll also give you a spot for the neutron flux that's sheltered from the RTG.
[The neutron probe is designed to measure the natural flux of neutrons due to the decay of radioactive elements in the soil and due to interactions between the soil and cosmic rays and the solar wind. Because the RTG is powered by a plutonium fuel element, it produces enough neutrons that the neutron flux experiment has to be shielded by placing it either in a depression or behind a rock or, preferably, both.]
118:59:20 Parker: Okay. You say you have a place like that, Jack?

118:59:25 Schmitt: Well, pretty much, I think, Bob.

118:59:29 Parker: Okay.

118:59:31 Schmitt: Let me work on it here a little more.

[Schmitt - "Through the years I had deployed versions of the ALSEP enough times that the geometry was pretty well fixed in my mind. I could look at an area and, in my imagination, place where everything was going to be and try to pick a compromise site. Nothing was going to be perfect; there were too many variables. But it's one of those things that you can do fairly easily with enough practice that would also be tough to automate. The main problem with the ALSEP was that it took a lot of time to deploy. Much more than it needed to had we designed it to minimize time initially. It got off to a bad start and never fully recovered. Before my time, Walt Cunningham had told the Bendix people 'Give us something to do on the Moon.' And they did. The other extreme was when Bill Anders saw it and said, 'I want a big red button and when I punch it, it gets deployed.' And we ended up in the middle somewhere, still taking an awful lot of time and effort to deploy it. Not the best use of human time on the Moon. Deciding where to deploy is a good use of people; but the actual deployment should have been far more straight-forward than it was."]
118:59:36 Parker: Okay, and right now you're about 10 minutes behind the timeline, Jack.

118:59:46 Schmitt: Okay.

118:59:48 Cernan: Bob, I'm only going to spend another minute or two on the fender.

118:59:53 Schmitt: We'll catch up. (Pause)

119:00:00 Cernan: I never thought I'd be out here doing this.

[Jack bends his knees, picks up the ALSEP, and starts carrying it with his arms hanging down.]
119:00:03 Schmitt: Boy, I'll tell you, Geno. (Turning south) Okay, I'm going to go back this way. Central Station can be near a crater. (Pause) It will be pretty good, that'll put the LEAM (Lunar Ejecta and Meteorite Experiment) right out over there (25 feet southeast of the Central Station) which is probably all right.
[Jack stops and then turns to look north. His heart rate is at a maximum of 140 beats per minute somewhere in this interval just before he puts the ALSEP package down for the last time.]
119:00:20 Schmitt: The gravimeter out over there (25 feet west of the Central Station), which is probably all right. Going to put your drill holes a little too close to that rock, though. Bob, ask Mark if he's worried about rocks as much as craters.
[The gravimeter Jack is referring to here is the Long Period Gravimeter, designed to look for gravity waves. Marcus (Mark) Langseth is the Principal Investigator on the heat flow experiment. Gene will drill two heat flow holes, one 18 feet east and one 18 feet west of a point 30 feet north of the Central Station.]
119:00:37 Parker: Okay, stand by.

119:00:38 Schmitt: I've got a rock about 2 meters in diameter, partially buried, that one of the probes (the westerly probe, as it will turn out) may be near.

119:00:48 Parker: Stand by and define "near".

119:00:53 Schmitt: Well, it could be 10 feet.

[Jack puts the ALSEP down and looks north.]
119:00:56 Parker: Okay. (Pause)

119:01:04 Schmitt: Well, I can move a little more south, I guess.

[Jack picks the ALSEP up again.]
119:01:07 Parker: Okay. And Jack, it seems (that), if you're about 3 meters from the rock, that's no problem.

Video Clip ( 3 min 44 sec 1.0 Mb RealVideo or 33 Mb MPEG )

119:01:14 Schmitt: Okay. (Pause; as he moves south about 15 to 20 feet) Okay, this is it.

119:01:21 Parker: Okay. Copy that. (Pause)

119:01:30 Schmitt: I tell you, the block (Geophone Rock)...(Pause) Let's see, the Sun's (garbled), this way. South of east. Okay. (Pause) Well, shoot! (Pause)

119:01:56 Cernan: What's wrong?

119:01:58 Schmitt: Well, it's just about impossible. Bob, it looks like the (heat flow) probes are going to be in a shallow depression. I'll try to improve that a little. It's not a real crater; it's just a shallow depression.

[Jack moves another ten feet south. He is talking distinctly louder to Houston than to Gene, despite being about 200 meters west of Gene and the LM.]
119:02:14 Parker: Stand by. Stand by on that, Jack, a minute. That may be okay. Okay, shallow depression's all right, Jack, don't worry about it.

119:02:20 Schmitt: It's not more than a meter deep.

119:02:22 Parker: That's okay, Jack.

119:02:23 Schmitt: Okay.

119:02:24 Parker: Stay there.

119:02:28 Schmitt: All righty. It looks pretty good to me.

119:02:32 Parker: Okay. Good enough.

[Measurements of the apparent size of the LM in photos taken from the ALSEP site indicate that Jack has picked a spot about 185 meters from the spacecraft. He is about 40 meters north of Geophone Rock and, from Rover navigation readouts Gene will report later in the EVA, the ALSEP azimuth from the LM is about 27 degrees north of west. Fendell pans to Gene, who is still taping.]
119:02:33 Schmitt: Bob, it's really, in detail...The meter and half-meter scale relief is a little more than we can stand here for a good site. But I think this will be all right.

119:02:50 Parker: Okay, copy that. We're ready to press on with ALSEP interconnect.

[The ALSEP interconnect procedures start in the middle of LMP-14.]
119:02:55 Parker: And Geno, how are you doing on that fender?

119:02:59 Cernan: Bob, I am done! If that fender stays on...I'm going to take a picture of it because I'd like some sort of mending award. It's not too neat, but tape and lunar dust just don't hang in there together.

[He jiggles the fender. He doesn't have a camera on at the moment and doesn't take a close-up picture of his repair job.]
119:03:15 Parker: Okay. Copy that.

119:03:22 Cernan: Well, let's hope. Keep your fingers crossed, and I'll be more careful around the fenders.

[Gene moves around the rear of the Rover toward his seat. At the end of EVA-3, he will remove two fender sections, albeit not the broken section, and bring them back to Earth. They are on display at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.]
119:03:26 Parker: Okay. Copy that.

119:03:32 Schmitt: Whoops. (Pause)

[The TV picture shakes as Gene frees the bottom of his seat so he can raise it, stows the tape in the cloth-enclosed seat pan, and gets a lens brush. His location and activities can be deduced from motions of his shadow on the seat backs.]
119:03:39 Cernan: Bob, I'm going to do one other thing real quick here. I've got to dust my visor off.

[Fendell zooms in on the right-rear fender in an attempt to look at Gene's taping job.]
119:03:42 Schmitt: Gene, do you want me to do that?

119:03:43 Cernan: No, I can do it. I'll just do it right here. Only have to do it in a couple of places right in front of me. (Pause)

[In the shadow of the seat back visible on the fender, we see two quick hand motions as Gene uses the brush.]
119:03:53 Cernan: That didn't do much good, did it. Someone should have told me that. That's just really screwed it up.
[Tthe TV picture shakes again, probably as Gene put the lens brush back under his seat, lowers the seat, and make sure the Velcro holding it down is secure.]
119:04:10 Cernan: Okay. Bob, you might ought to be thinking of a good way to clean that visor when I get in the cabin.

119:04:15 Parker: Okay, we'll put someone on that.

[Fendell pulls back on the zoom and gives us a view to the west.]
119:04:20 Cernan: (Reading very quickly, page CDR-15) Okay, LRV equipment check. Blankets are open 100 percent; TV/sunshade is on; SEP receiver/antenna, Nav cable; we've got 4, 5, 6, and 7 on the (seismic) charges; TGE...I've got three measurements complete; I've got the drill, the bag, and the neutron flux. The TV camera...(To Houston) I'm taking it away from you.

119:04:39 Parker: Okay. Roger. (Pause)

[See a discussion of the sunshade at the time when it was first deployed on Apollo 16.]

[Fendell starts panning counter-clockwise but, after a few seconds, Gene takes hold of the camera and turns it to face aft.]

119:04:47 Cernan: Sorry about that, Ed (Fendell). Okay. (LCRU) Mode switch is going to 1.

119:04:49 Parker: Roger.

119:04:53 Cernan: Okay. Mode switch is 1. I'm ready to drive to the ALSEP site. Still want to park 60 - east and north.

[That is, he plans to park the Rover 60 feet northeast of the Central Station.]

[The audio for some of the next 60 seconds of dialog is missing from the tapes used to generate the audio clips. Comm was being reconfigured from TV and Audio to Audio Only and a different set of recordings is needed to fill the gap.]

119:05:xx Parker: Okay, Geno. And before you leave the LM there, how about giving me another Batt(ery) Temp(erature) reading. Those were a little high and we'd like to try and verify some of that stuff.

119:05:17 Cernan: Boy, oh boy. Yeah, I get you Bob. (Getting on the Rover) Boy, oh boy. You just got to be careful where you kick dust.

119:05:xx Schmitt: That's right.

119:05:xx Cernan: (To himself) Boy! Don't do that again.

MP3 Audio Clip ( 19 min 42 sec )

119:05:54 Cernan: Yeah, Bob, I thought they (the battery temperatures) were a little high, too.

119:05:56 Parker: Roger.

119:06:02 Cernan: Okay. Batt Temps are 100 and 120, right now.

119:06:12 Parker: Okay. How about tapping the meter a little bit for us?

119:06:19 Cernan: Well, I think the meter's been tapped since we've been working on the Rover. (Pause) Yeah; 100 and 120.

119:06:29 Parker: Okay. (Pause)

119:06:36 Cernan: Okay. (Pause) Get this baby started. (Pause) Okay. I'm going to be heading west. The low gain is 270. (Pause)

119:07:05 Cernan: Okay, Jack, I'm on the way.

[Cernan - "We had the low-gain antenna set up with a heading indicator; and we'd done some work with it in training. I knew generally what my heading was going to be, and in this case it was going to be west. So, rather than try and sight the antenna while I was going, in this case I just set the low-gain on the 270 mark. I never had to worry about the elevation because it was just about always the same no matter where we were."]

[The low-gain antenna is mounted on a two-piece staff, with the upper section seated in a sleeve in the lower section. The antenna, itself, has to be pointed to within about 30 degrees of Earth and that means that, as Gene turns the Rover, he has to re-point the low gain. The low-gain staff is mounted on his T-handle, just forward of the Rover control handle and more or less in his line of sight with the instrument console. There is a short handle attached to the upper section of the staff which Gene can use for pointing. On the upper staff-section there is also a fixed arrow and, mounted on the lower section, a heading indicator in the form of an aluminum collar attached with a set-screw. The numbers on the collar increase in the counter-clockwise direction, the reverse of the heading card on the Rover instrument panel. Because Earth remains fixed in the local sky, the collar could be positioned prior to launch from Earth at an orientation such that, as he turns to a new Rover heading, Gene needs only turn the antenna so that the arrow points to that new heading.]

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