Apollo 14 Lunar Surface Journal Banner

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.
Except where noted, MP3 audio and RealVideo clips by Ken Glover.
Last revised 20 February 2013.


[Comm Break.]

[Ed is now at the Scientific Equipment (SEQ) Bay, preparing to off-load the ALSEP packages. Figures A-3 and A-4 from the Apollo 14 Mission Report show the configuration of the two packages.]

[Ed is at 1+20 in his checklist and Al is positioning the TV to give Houston a view of the ALSEP offload. This is the last item in the 1+15 paragraph in his checklist.]

RealVideo Clip (2 min 04 sec)

115:06:03 Shepard: Okay, Houston. The cover is coming off the lens now.

115:06:11 McCandless: Roger, Al. Are...

115:06:13 Shepard: How does that look to you?

115:06:15 McCandless: Are you all the way back at the 30-foot position there? 6 o'clock (that is, east, and) 30 (feet away).

115:06:22 Shepard: Well...(Pause) That's about 30 right there, I'd say.

115:06:32 McCandless: Okay. Our picture is moving around a lot; you're going to have...

115:06:34 Shepard: It's a little hilly here...

115:06:35 McCandless: ...to set it down and let it stabilize before we can tell you anything about it. (Pause) Okay, what zoom are you on?

115:06:43 Shepard: We have been trying to find a level spot, Bruce. We're in a sort of...

115:06:45 McCandless: Roger.

[Shepard, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "I remember saying to myself, 'We're spending too much time with the television camera.' Maybe I said it on the air. We were spending too much time twirling those settings with that and were getting behind our timeline."]

[On the J missions, all that the astronauts had to do was mount the TV camera on the front of the Rover. Thereafter, it was run remotely from Houston by Ed Fendell.]

115:06:46 Shepard: We're on the side of the hill, as you probably have heard. And it may not stay; it may tip over.

115:07:01 McCandless: Can you poke one of the legs into the surface there? That's a pretty flimsy tripod, I realize.

115:07:06 Shepard: (Garbled under McCandless) (Pause) Okay. Okay, there; I think it will stay now.

[Ed has hold of a lanyard he will pull to open the SEQ Bay doors and is standing by, waiting for Shepard to get the TV set up. The MET is visible just to the left of Ed, with the 16-mm camera in place. Once Shepard finishes with the TV, he will join Ed at the SEQ Bay and will off-load ALSEP Package Number 1. Ed will off-load package 2 and Shepard will restow the booms.]
115:07:25 McCandless: Okay. What zoom are you on?

115:07:27 Shepard: Okay. How's that?

115:07:28 McCandless: We need to back off the zoom some.

115:07:33 Shepard: Yeah. I think we'll have to.

115:07:41 McCandless: Okay. (Pause) Wrong way.

115:07:44 Mitchell: Okay, Bruce, can you see the (SEQ) bay?

115:07:46 McCandless: I can see your hands very clearly. We seem to be close to max(imum zoom). Okay, hold that zoom, Al. (Pause)

[The TV is pointed directly down-Sun and we can see Shepard's hand motions in his shadow as he adjusts the zoom.]
115:07:56 McCandless: Roger. Looks good.

115:08:00 Shepard: Okay.

RealVideo Clip> (3 min 13 sec)

115:08:01 McCandless: Beautiful.

115:08:07 Mitchell: Okay, the door is...(Garbled) guard door's open. SEQ Bay door is open. Pulled a little stiffer than I expected in one-sixth g.

[Although the images are at least partly saturated, the video record of the Apollo 14 ALSEP off-load is the best available from any of the missions. The SEQ Bay has a small, vertically hinged door on the left and a two-section, horizontally hinged main door. The small door may be the "guard door". 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.]
115:08:23 McCandless: Looking good though, Ed. And you all are within 9 minutes of the timeline.
[Mitchell, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "I think it's significant to point out that, in training, we were generally 5 to 10 minutes ahead at this point."]

[They are 1+29 into the EVA and about 1+20 in the checklist. Ed goes over to the plus-Y (north) strut which is to the right of the SEQ Bay, and drapes the door ribbon over one of the horizontal strut supports.]

115:08:30 Mitchell: (Responding to McCandless) Okay. We'll pick it up here (that is, catch up) in a little while. Okay. Ready with (ALSEP package) number 1.

115:08:36 Shepard: Okay. Number 1, coming out. (Long Pause)

[After Al slides package number 1 out on its boom, he backs away from the SEQ Bay, holding a ribbon in each hand. As he slowly pays out the left-hand ribbon, the package lowers toward the ground, partly supported by the right-hand ribbon. Ed is standing between the TV and the package.]
115:09:08 Mitchell: Okay. Got her down.

115:09:12 Shepard: Okay. Standby; I'll move it over a little bit here.

115:09:16 Mitchell: Okay. (Pause) It's almost as heavy as you are. (Pause)

115:09:30 McCandless: Look who's talking.

[Although Ed is in excellent physical condition, he is stockier than many of the other astronauts and is often teased about being pudgy.]
115:09:34 Mitchell: Don't tip over...Man, it's rough to find a level spot to put anything. (Pause) Okay. Number 2 is coming out.
[Now that Al has package 1 down and out of the way, Ed will lower the second package. As Al backs away from the SEQ bay to the south a short distance, Ed backs directly away from the Bay, holding the two ribbons he will use to manipulate package number 2. Once he gets the ribbons taut, he uses them to pull the package out to the end of the boom. Once the package gets to the end, it automatically detaches from the boom, with its weight now taken up by the ribbons.]
115:09:46 Shepard: Okay, can you get that by yourself?

115:09:47 Mitchell: Well, it's...I think so.

115:09:52 Shepard: Let me make sure.

115:09:55 Mitchell: (Garbled) vibrating too much? (Pause)

[While Al lowered package 1, he had his hands at about shoulder height. Here, Ed has his hands at about waist height. The upper ribbon that he is paying out is whipping back and forth with a maximum distance of a foot or two from the taut position. On the other hand, the package swings only slightly as it is lowered.]
MPG Clip by Ken Glover (2 min 06 sec)

115:10:06 Mitchell: Okay, and it's on the surface. (Pause)

[As Ed walks forward to the package to release the ribbons, we can see him kick dirt onto the package and under the spacecraft. It travels in a flat, boot-top-high trajectory.]
115:09:13 Mitchell: Oh, all this beautiful white paint is sure going to get filthy out here. (Long Pause) I'm going to have to bend a little bit. I just can't bend down to that.

RealVideo Clip (3 min 10 sec)

115:11:10 Shepard: Okay.

[Comm Break. Ed has released at least one of the ribbons from the package and the released ribbon is swinging freely. the pendulum completes 18 oscilations in 85.7 seconds before Ed releases another tape which, apparently, gets tangled with the swiging tape and stops its motion. The average period is 4.8 seconds and, in the lunar gravitational field, this corresponds to a pendulum length of 0.9 meters. As can be seen in the accompanying write-up, this agrees well with tape length estimated from photographs of the gear involved. Because of the relative simplicity of the configuration, students and teachers can reproduce this Apollo 14 pendulum at home or in the classroom and learn about differences between pendulum motions on the Earth and on the Moon. Bogdan Tyburczy has filmed such a demonstration and provides insightful comparisons with the Apollo 14 video ( 86 Mb mpg film ).]

[While we watch the pendulum, Al is restowing the boom and Ed is trying to release the Hand Tool Carrier (HTC) from the second ALSEP package. Ed has to pull five pip pins to release the HTC and is having trouble reaching one or more of them. This is the third item at 1+20in his checklist.]

[Mitchell - "To somebody watching the video, it seems like we're not doing anything, that we're moving slow. But, when you're in the suit doing it, and going through all those motions and paying attention to all the detail of what you were trying to do, you're actually quite busy and are working hard. And even though that equipment was supposedly designed so that we could handle it in a pressure suit, operating in a pressure suit is very cumbersome...The micro-movement with your hands to unscrew bolts and manipulate that stuff in a pressure suit is tedious and time consuming and you're working hard. And yet, sitting here watching it, it seems like it's agonizingly slow. But when you're in the suit, it seems the time is draining away. The clock is running; and you know you're working against it and you're moving as fast and efficiently as you can. But, just watching it, it seems like it takes forever."]

[Jones - "There is a statement in the technical debrief about a feeling that the flight hardware was more fragile than the training hardware - that you had to be more careful with it."]

[Mitchell - "Well, I'm not sure whether that was totally psychological; but I think it probably was. Even though the training hardware was supposed to be a pretty good replica of the flight hardware, nevertheless, I don't think you could have handled the flight hardware in a one-g environment like you could in the one-sixth g environment. They designed the flight hardware for the one-sixth g environment, and they designed it for one-time use. But, for the training hardware, if you're going to repeatedly use it and beat it around in the one-g environment, it's got to be more substantial. Now, I couldn't tell you and I don't remember exactly how it differed; but we did get that impression."]

[Jones - "So psychologically, handling the flight hardware was a bit different. The thing that pops to mind, strangely enough, is watching a piece of film that Shuttle astronaut Mary Cleave showed at a meeting. It was a piece of film of her out working in the cargo bay. And she pointed out to us that, when she moved, she kicked her feet. And that, of course, was from the training in the water tank. And so there are these psychological things that get built in; and, suddenly you're in a slightly different environment..."]

[Mitchell - "Well, there's a couple of things apropos to what you're saying. For example, there was a difference that immediately occurred on the flight, right after launch. I was sighting in the Command Module telescope to align the platform; and, from training, I was used to sitting on the CMP seat and having the telescope be right about eye level. In flight, there was a small but important difference. I suddenly found that, instead of the eyepiece being in the normal position, it was down at around my mouth. Why? Because one g compresses your butt and your clothing and you sit on the seat lower than you do in zero-g. In zero-g, nothing compresses and your natural position is an inch or so higher. And it's those little things that are surprises. They waste your time. You realize why, very shortly, but you spend from a split second to a few seconds figuring out what's different. You get in the spacecraft and, on your first time at the telescope, you find it's down here. Well then, from that point on, you're spending your time holding yourself down against the seat so you can have the right eye level. It's one of those little surprises that are always going to be there. Your body's trained, your thinking's trained, your movements are trained to do one thing and, suddenly, it's off by an inch or two. Similar to that, in the zero-g environment, we noticed - and I don't know about other crews, I think they probably noticed it too - that after we'd been in space for 24 to 48 hours, we noticed low back pains. Why low back pains? It took me two days to figure out what it was. I observed that the pain changed when I squeezed my toes. And then I suddenly realized that, in zero-g, the first thing that happens when you're floating around or you're trying to maintain position and suddenly you find yourself drifting, the first thing that happens is that you squeezed your prehensile toes. The old reptilian brain, to stabilize you and hold you in place, was squeezing toes. Does that go back to monkey days? Probably. But it occurred to me, after a while, that that's where that damn back pain was coming from. Tensing up to try to maintain position when you started to float away, was a natural reaction. And, after a day or so, it was causing intense back pain. And it took time to figure out. 'What the hell's going on here? Why am I getting back pain?' But, suddenly, you connect the back pain with squeezing of toes. Reptilian brain...Well, maybe not reptilian brain. It goes back there to swinging through the trees, I guess. And those things sort of crop up. Interesting science, interesting observation. But, as far as operations are concerned, it takes your time and it's part of the learning process."]

[Jones - "Was there much talk between your crew and subsequent crews - or between your crew and the previous crews - on little details like these?"]

[Mitchell - "There was always the opportunity to; but there were so many other things to talk about that the little details, quite often, were down in the noise level. They often fell through the cracks. Everybody was so busy, there was so much to do, that unless some of these things jumped up and bit you and were really a problem, we didn't have enough time to talk about it. There were enough problems to talk about that, quite often, we never got down to that level."]

[Jones - "So your best learning experience would have been as a backup crew."]

[Mitchell - "Yeah. No doubt about it."]

[Jones - "And, of course, you hadn't been a backup on a surface mission."]

115:12:11 Mitchell: And the Hand Tool Carrier's clear.

115:12:14 McCandless: Roger. (Long Pause)

[Having finally gotten the HTC released, Ed will mount it on the MET. The Apollo 14 HTC is identical to the Apollo 12 HTC and will hold their tools and sample bags. The HTC can be seen mounted on the MET in NASA photo 70-H-1121, which was taken during a training session at the Cape on 28 August 1970. NASA photo S70-50763 shows the loaded HTC.]
115:12:33 McCandless: (Possibly on the wrong comm circuit) You never object...(Pause)

115:12:40 Shepard: Say again, Houston.

115:12:43 McCandless: (Making a mis-identification) Nothing, Ed.

[Comm Break. After finishing with the SEQ Bay booms, Al releases two Universal Handling Tools (UHTs) from the ALSEP packages and then gets package 2 into position so that they can fuel the radioisotope-powered electric generator which is at its heart. The Public Affairs commentator reports that Al's heart rate is between 70 and 80 beats per minute, and Ed's is between 80 and 90.]
RealVideo Clip> (3 min 04 sec)

115:14:12 Mitchell: (Pulling four more pip pins as he deploys the HTC and mounts it on the MET) You know, I fully expect to see Earl and Ron come running around to pick up the pip pins and the thrown-away parts.

115:14:22 Shepard: I know.

['Ron' is Ron Blevins, a member of the support team who participated in the various training exercises. Al appears to be getting package 1 out of the way.]
115:14:23 Shepard: Okay. I guess that's a pretty level place right there. (Pause) (Backing into Ed) Oops. Excuse me. (Long Pause)

115:15:07 Mitchell: (Now finished with the HTC) Okay, I'm ready for the fuel cask.

115:15:10 McCandless: Roger, Ed. (Pause)

[The small plutonium source which will power the Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) is housed in a cask which, from the perspective of someone standing on the surface looking at the spacecraft, hangs on the outside of the LM to the left of the SEQ Bay. Ed goes to get a lanyard which he will use to pull the cask down into a horizontal position so that he can use a special dome-removal tool (DRT)to remove the dome-shaped lid. Ed has reached 1+27 in his checklist.]

[Al has reached 1+25 in his checklist.]

115:15:19 Mitchell: (Getting into position to lower the cask) (Garbled) The Hand Tool Carrier, as you can undoubtedly see, is on the MET. No problem.

115:15:30 McCandless: Roger. (Long Pause)

115:16:04 Shepard: Okay. Temperature indicators on the mast show that there's been no heat.

115:16:12 McCandless: Roger. (Pause)

[Al will attach one end of the ALSEP antenna mast to package number 1 and, after the RTG is fueled, Ed will attach package 2 to the other end of the mast. In essence, the antenna mast is being turned into a barbell handle which Ed will hold as he carries the ALSEP packages out to the deployment site. Al has just looked at a patch called a tempa-label on the mast. It has a series of spots which change from white to black at successively higher temperatures. A detail from Apollo 13 training photo 70-H-103 (scan by Frederic Artner) shows a tempa-label on the handle of a dome removal tool. The termparature of the mast gives an indication of the temperature of the interior of the SEQ Bay.]
115:16:22 Mitchell: And the cask is coming down.

115:16:25 McCandless: Roger, Ed.

[Unlike the ALSEP packages, the lightweight fuel cask rotates down in a series of jerky motions.]
115:16:29 Mitchell: And it's down far enough, I believe. (Long Pause)
[Mitchell - "It's like pulling on the chain of a blind, just letting the casket down."]
115:16:52 Shepard: (Trying to release the Dome Removal Tool from ALSEP package 2 as per checklist) Okay, stand by one. Not the best place in the world to work.

115:16:58 Mitchell: Nope. (Pause)

[In the checklists, DRT is the Dome Removal Tool and FTT is Fuel Transfer Tool.]
RealVideo Clip (3 min 36 sec)

115:17:04 Shepard: (Handing the Dome Removal Tool to Ed) Okay; there you are.

115:16:05 Mitchell: Okay, see if we can get the lid off of it. (Long Pause)

[Ed is now engaging the Dome Removal Tool in the cask dome so that he can remove it. Al has moved around to Ed's left so that he can watch and give assistance if needed.]
115:17:55 Mitchell: Don't touch it; that dome's pretty hot. (Pause) Okay, it's locked.
[Ed has the locking pins on the removal tool engaged in the dome. The fuel capsule temperature is about 1300 degrees Fahrenheit or about 1000 Kelvin and would burn through the glove if either of the astronauts touched it. The dome is cooler than the element, but is still not something they want to touch.]
115:18:05 Shepard: You got it?

115:18:06 Mitchell: I think so. Yep. (Pause)

115:18:17 Shepard: Okay, down a little bit. 'Bout a level line right there.

115:18:24 Mitchell: There we go.

115:18:27 Shepard: Okay, good. (Pause)

115:18:33 Mitchell: Houston, the lid is off the nuclear fuel cask.

115:18:35 McCandless: Roger. (Jumping the gun a little) Report temp levels.

115:18:37 Mitchell: And I have none of them...(Listens) No temp indicators that are black. (Pause)

115:18:44 Shepard: Here, I'll take that (removal tool, with the attached dome).

[Ed may have started to toss the dome and tool, although his intent is not discernible in the TV picture.]
115:18:46 Mitchell: Got me in mid-throw there. Okay, it's open. (Long Pause) Okay, is the cask (means RTG) ready (to receive the fuel element)?

115:19:21 Shepard: Okay! (Pause as he makes his way around Ed to package 2) We're all set.

115:19:33 Mitchell: Okay. (Long Pause)

[As Al tilts Package No.2 by ninety degrees onto its base, Ed uses the long-handled Fuel Transfer Tool to remove the fuel element. Training photo KSC-70P-508 shows Ed reviewing his checklist with the Fuel Transfer Tool already attached to the element.]
115:19:51 Shepard: This slight slope is about as little as we can get from here.

115:19:54 Mitchell: Okay. (Pause)

[Having walked over slowly with the fuel element, Ed holds it out at right arm's length over the RTG to insert it. Al has tried to get the RTG on as level a piece of ground as he could find without going very far from the cask. With the RTG perfectly level, Ed can use gravity to align the element. Although the RTG may be slightly tilted, he doesn't have much trouble with the insertion once he gets the element lined up.]

[Mitchell, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "There's hardly anything to comment on about the deployment of the ALSEP (packages) and on the fueling of the cask, except that, due to the cratering of the area right around the LM, we had less area to work in (than they typically had in training). So we were working the barbells and the two pallets in very close to the LM, as opposed to having a little bit of walking room. There were a couple of craters right behind the LM and on either side of us. They constrained operations somewhat."]

115:19:59 Shepard: (Helping Ed get the fuel element properly aligned for insertion) Okay, looks good. All right, a little more this way. (As Ed inserts the fuel element) There you go. Very good. (Pause as Ed removes the Fuel Transfer Tool)

115:20:23 Shepard: (Is) there a (temperature) reading on that (garbled, possibly "tube")?

115:20:26 Mitchell: I'll get it in a minute.

115:20:27 Shepard: Okay. (Pause)

115:20:34 Mitchell: And, Houston; all the temperature indicators (on the tempa-label) are still white.

RealVideo Clip (3 min 07 sec)

115:20:39 McCandless: Roger, Ed.

115:20:42 Shepard: Fix the (SEQ bay) doors. (As the doors flop down into place) Okay, the doors are closed. (Long Pause)

[While Al heads out to the TV, Ed is completing assembly of the "barbell" by attaching package 2 to the antenna mast as per checklist.]

[Jones - "On the TV, you can see the hole..."]

[Mitchell - "That we're standing in. It's deceiving, looking at the TV. It looks relatively flat, but you could see, when we came up out of that hole, how difficult it was for him to come up. He was slipping and sliding and stumbling as he came out from the depression. The shadow of the TV is pretty much down in the bottom, but where his shadow is, right now, is right at the top of the ridge. I mean, there's a little depression and he had to get up on top of that."]

[Jones - "And it looked like it was maybe a foot and a half deep?"]

[Mitchell - "Yes. And it's hard to see it from the television. But it was there, nonetheless."]

[This is the hole in which the plus-Y (north) footpad came to rest, giving the spacecraft its rightward tilt.]

115:21:08 Mitchell: Okay; (Garbled). (Long Pause)

115:21:36 Shepard: Okay, Houston. I'm going to cover the television...

115:21:39 McCandless: Roger, Al.

115:21:40 Shepard: ...(Garbled) location.

[As per checklist, Al is covering the TV lens so that he can move the camera 50 feet north of the LM and point it west toward the planned ALSEP site.]
115:21:45 McCandless: And for your information, you're approximately 7 minutes behind the timeline at this point.

115:21:50 Shepard: Okay. (Pause)

115:21:54 Shepard: (To Ed) Okay. Where do you think is a good spot for the ALSEP?

115:21:59 Mitchell: Oh, boy! That's going to be tough, Al. I'd just head out toward Doublet out there and let's look. (Pause) I'd point it (the TV) right toward Doublet.

115:22:12 Shepard: I think that's the best way. Aim for the center of Doublet.

115:22:14 Mitchell: Yeah, aim for the center of Doublet, and we'll have to go from there. However, I think maybe we better go a little further south, or we're going to violate that CCIG constraint if we go too far north. How about towards the south edge of Doublet? (Long Pause)

[Jones - "The CCIG (Cold Cathode Ion Gauge) was a little instrument that was attached to the SIDE (Suprathermal Ion Detection Experiment) by a cable that kept flipping it over."]

[Mitchell - "Right."]

[The checklist shows that they are going to deploy the SIDE/CCIG 55 feet northeast of the Central Station. It will be the northernmost piece of equipment in the array. Ed has an ALSEP layout sketch in his checklist.]

[Jones - "During training, did you practice the placement? Did you go through some exercises where you had to work the problem of finding a place to put the Central Station and, hence, where all the other instruments would go?"]

[Mitchell - "Well, we practiced deployment of the ALSEP time and time and time again."]

[Jones - "How about the placement? I mean in the sense of: go out to a piece of ground and look at it and see where to put the Central Station."]

[Mitchell - "No. Because we assumed that there would be a level site. (And the reality) was so much more choppy and undulating, with craters all over the place. We were just totally misled, with regard to that, (in the pre-mission assessments of the site). So that was a major, major issue here. And, as you can see, it's plagued us all the way through. There just wasn't any smooth ground to put things on like we assumed there would be."]

[Jones - "So you knew what the constraints were and, suddenly you're faced with a piece of ground - or you think you're faced with a piece of ground - where it's going to be hard to satisfy the constraints, rather than easy."]

[Mitchell - "Exactly."]

115:23:04 Mitchell: Hey, why don't you point it at us, and we'll just pick it up on the way out?
[Ed is suggesting that Al point the TV at the MESA and MET so that Houston can watch the loading and then, just before they head out to deploy the ALSEP, re-aim it.]
115:23:08 Shepard: What's that?

115:23:10 Mitchell: You ought to point it at us, and we'll pick it up on the way out.

115:23:13 Shepard: Well, we're supposed to...locate it right now. You can put it here and watch the MET deployment, if you like. (Pause)

115:23:31 Mitchell: Okay.

[Al uncovers the lens. Ed is at the MESA, with the MET to the right. He is at 1+36 in his checklist.]
RealVideo Clip (3 min 21 sec)

MP3 Audio Clip (40 min 05 sec)

115:23:34 Shepard: Okay, Houston. We're about (at) a 40-foot zoom now, on the area of the MESA and the MET (but centered on the S-band antenna). How's that look? (Pause; no answer) Houston, are you with us?

115:23:58 McCandless: Roger. Let's go to 50 (on the zoom).

115:24:05 Shepard: Okay. (Pause) 50.

115:24:11 McCandless: And come right about 3 degrees. (Pause as Al changes the aim) Okay, good.

115:24:23 Shepard: (Going to the MESA) Okay. (Long Pause) Okay. Got the television camera there?

[This is the backup, black & white TV camera, probably similar to the low-resolution model used on Apollo 11. In a couple of minutes, Al will place it in the north footpad. As he goes over to the MESA, he uses a rolling, foot-to-foot lope. He moves easily and gets a long glide with each step.]
115:24:51 Mitchell: Yeah, it's down in the bottom.

115:24:53 Shepard: Okay. (Long Pause)

[Al is also at 1+36 in his checklist.]
115:25:18 Mitchell: Hey, Bruce. As I mount these 70 millimeter cameras on the MET, I just...with the little spring clips, I just pick up the whole MET and drag it along.
[NASA diagram 70-H-1391 shows the stowage/attachment locations of equipment - other than the HTC - to be placed on the MET.]

[Mitchell, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "On loading up the MET, as we suspected it might be, the spring clips on the camera mounts and the magazine stowage area, in order to have sufficient strength to hold the equipment on, also had sufficient tension in it to lift the whole MET right off the surface when a piece of equipment was taken off. I'm not quite sure how you get around that problem."]

[Shepard, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "We didn't have any camera bounce off, though."]

[Mitchell, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "No. We didn't. They had the proper strength to hold the equipment, and hold it well."]

115:25:30 McCandless: Okay. We got that, Ed.

115:25:31 Mitchell: (Garbled) do that when they get a little more weight on there.

[Ed is saying that the MET won't move around so much once they get more of a load on it. Certainly, during the J missions, the Rover was heavy enough that spring tension wasn't a problem.]
115:25:39 McCandless: Be sure you get the large scoop on in the right place.

115:25:45 Mitchell: Yeah. (Pause)

[Mitchell - "The HTC had a series of projections and guides. And sometimes it was tough to remember the round peg in the round hole and the square peg in the square hole. Big scoop, little scoop. I think, in training, I probably had trouble getting the damn thing in the right spot. I think Bruce is needling me."]

[Details of the MET stowage can be found in NASA diagram 70-H-1391 and in the cuff checklists.]

[The TV bracket mentioned on Ed's checklist may be the one on the MESA. The SESCs are Special Environmental Sample Containers which are vacuum seal cans which, when put inside one of the vacuum-sealed rock boxes, provides redundant protection for the SESC samples.]

[The tether mentioned in Al's checklistis a 100-foot belaying line discussed after 115:38:45. "T/G anchor" is an anchor for the Thumper/Geophone Experiment that Ed will perform at the ALSEP site.]

115:25:52 Mitchell: Okay. Bruce, I've put on two Hasselblads, and I'm going ahead and getting the 16-millimeter on and getting it out of my way right now.

115:26:04 McCandless: Okay, Ed. Two Hasselblads plus the 16-millimeter.

115:26:10 Mitchell: Right. (Pause)

[Mounting the 16 mm camera on the MET is Al's job but Ed is getting the task out of the way because, currently, Al is at the east footpad, apparently leaning on the strut with his right hand while he positions the B&W TV in the footpad. He doesn't appear to be kneeling. The 16-mm camera can be seen at the upper right on the MET in NASA photo S70-53479 (scan by Kipp Teague) which was taken during a training exercise on the NASA KC-135 aircraft at one-sixth g.]
115:26:14 Mitchell: And I've just started (removing) the TV bracket, and I'm getting ready to open SRC (Sample Return Container or rock box) number 1.

115:26:22 McCandless: Roger. (Pause)

[Ed will mount the SRC on a holding bracket on the MESA and, once he has it open, will remove various pieces of gear, including the SESCs.]
115:26:27 McCandless: And, Al, have you gotten...

115:26:31 Shepard: (Garbled under McCandless) black-and-white television camera.

115:26:33 McCandless: Roger.

115:26:37 Shepard: Black-and-white TV camera's in the plus-Y (north) strut (means "footpad").

115:26:41 McCandless: Roger. With the white surface normal to the line to the Sun.

[Al positioned the camera so that the highly reflective, white-painted surface is facing the Sun.]
115:26:44 Shepard: (Garbled) footpad. (Listens) That's correct.

RealVideo Clip (3 min 24 sec)

115:26:50 McCandless: Roger.

115:26:51 Shepard: (Joining Ed at the MESA) Long dimension horizontal.

115:26:53 McCandless: Roger. And on (16-mm) magazine Charlie Charlie...

115:26:59 Shepard: (Garbled under McCandless).

115:26:59 McCandless: ...I show you still have 3 minutes remaining.

115:27:06 Shepard: Okay. We'll leave it on there, then (instead of installing a fresh magazine).

115:27:08 McCandless: Roger. (Long Pause)

115:27:25 Mitchell: Okay, SRC-1 is opened.

115:27:27 Shepard: Okay. (Long Pause)

115:27:47 Mitchell: (Turning toward the MET) Oh, damn; dropped the weigh bag. (Pause)

[The weigh bags were used to hold rock and soil samples as they were collected, usually in individual, numbered sample bags. The weigh bags have a metal frame at the top to form an opening. The Apollo 11 and 12 weigh bags were made of film plastic and, on Apollo 12, cracked badly. The Apollo 14 bags are made of Beta cloth and Ed is taking three of them out of the SRC so that they can be hung on the MET. For the J missions, the weigh bags were replaced by PLSS-mounted Sample Collection Bags (SCBs), which were also made of beta cloth.]

[Mitchell - "We called them weigh bags because they were just beta cloth bags that we could put a number of things in and hang them on a scale and measure the whole thing. And we used them simply as carrier bags, kind of like the ETB only the ETB was a bigger one."]

[Jones - "And you did the weighing back in the cabin."]

[Mitchell - "Yup. We had a simple scale and we just held it up. A spring scale."]

[Jones - "Calibrated to give you terrestrial pounds."]

[Mitchell - "Right. And it probably cost a hundred thousand dollars to make. It's a little different when you cut the scale by six."]

115:27:55 Shepard: Wait a minute.

115:27:58 Mitchell: I'll get it.

115:27:59 Shepard: I can give you some tongs, if you want them.

115:28:00 Mitchell: Okay. It'd probably save getting any dirtier than necessary. (Dropping a second bag) Hell, I dropped both of them. (Pause as Ed turns to Al to get the tongs) Get that...There.

115:28:23 Shepard: Okay. May as well put them (tongs) in the (MET) pocket when you're through.

115:28:27 Mitchell: Okay.

[Comm Break]

[It is easier to pick up the dropped bags with the tongs than to go down to one knee to get them. The internal pressure of the suit makes kneeling fairly difficult, especially this early in the first EVA, and, in addition, would get the suit legs dirty. The Apollo 12 crew had a severe problem with dust in the cabin, particularly once they got back to zero-g in lunar orbit. Al and Ed will try to minimize the amount of dust they bring into the cabin, partly by dusting each other at the end of each of the EVAs and partly by trying to stay clean. The J-mission crews discovered that, in order to get work done efficiently, it is impossible to stay clean. On the other hand, it was possible to do an adequate cleaning job with a largedustbrush - about the size of one used by a house painter - and to cover the suit legs with bags to contain the dust. Thanks to these measures, the dust problem was never again as severe as it was on Apollo 12.]

[Ed has picked up one of the weigh bags with the tongs and installed it on the side of the MET closest to the MESA. Now, he is trying to pick up the second dropped weigh bag and can't get a good grip on it with the tongs.]

115:29:30 Shepard: Okay, Houston. Magazine double-Dog (DD) and double-Easy (EE) going on the MET.

115:29:37 McCandless: Roger. Delta-Delta and Echo-Echo.

115:29:41 Shepard: (Garbled under McCandless) handle. (Long Pause as Ed finally gets the second bag)

[Although the details of what they are doing can't be discerned in the TV image, evidently they are working together to retrieve the bag.]
115:29:54 Shepard: Shake that baby off a little.

115:29:58 Mitchell: Yeah.

[One of them is probably shaking dust off the bag.]
115:30:00 Shepard: Okay; excuse me. And while you're getting that ready, let me slip these babies in there.

RealVideo Clip (3 min 10 sec)

115:30:09 Mitchell: Okay. That's what I'm sweating.

115:30:16 Shepard: Okay; good.

115:30:19 Mitchell: Damn, these...These boots are sure a lot stiffer than the training suits. (Pause)

115:30:30 Shepard: Well, the sand's a little different too.

115:30:32 Mitchell: Yeah. (Long Pause)

[Mitchell, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "I have the comment that, although my suit did exceptionally well, far better than the training suit ever did, it was still stiffer and took more effort to just hustle around than the training suit did, which was well broken in. I encountered a little bit of a problem with bending over, which I had not encountered in one g, and I think this is in proportion to the forces between the one-sixth g and the stiffness of the suit compared with the well-worked-in suit in one g. I found that I could not bend down to the MET level. I could not just bring my body forward like I could in the training suit and get down to the MET. I had to bend my knees or get down on a knee to reach things low on the MET, such as the weigh bags down on the side, or the camera retaining clips on the MET. It was more difficult for me to bend down for them (than it had been in training)."]

[Shepard, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "I don't know whether it was unique to Ed's suit or not, because I didn't have that problem."]

[Suit flexibility varied from person to person, as evidenced by the fact that some people - notably John Young and Gene Cernan - could get down on both knees with relative ease and others couldn't do it at all.]

[According to Bob Wise of ILC/Dover, who was involved in the suit design, each member of the prime crew and the backup crew got a flight suit, a backup flight suit, and a training suit. Each was designed to last for 30 EVAs.]

[Ed is attaching the second weigh bag to the side of the MET closest to the TV. He drops it and, in order to retrieve it, gets the tongs and bends his left knee almost to a kneeling position.]

115:30:51 Shepard: Well, now...(Long Pause)

115:31:02 Mitchell: (Chuckles; Pause as he drops the weigh bag again) Damn it! There it goes again.

115:31:15 Shepard: Why don't you lift it (the MET) up and (speaking indistinctly) put it (the bag) on with your hand and then put it down.

115:31:22 Mitchell: Lift it up and do what?

115:31:24 Shepard: Lift it up with one hand and put it on with the other.

115:31:27 Mitchell: That's what I was going to do - this time. (Pause)

[Ed lifts the front of the MET to get the bag clip into easy reach and attaches the bag without further trouble.]
115:31:46 Mitchell: (Going to the MESA) Okay. Took a bit longer than expected. (Long Pause)

115:32:33 Shepard: Okay, Houston. I've got three core tubes, no (labeling) tabs.

115:32:41 McCandless: Roger.

115:32:46 Mitchell: And, Houston, I finally succeeded in getting two weigh bags (on the MET); and one SESC on so far. In addition to the other things, plus the core-tube cap assembly.

115:32:58 McCandless: Roger. (Pause)

115:33:12 Shepard: Okay, you putting on the other SESC?

115:33:14 Mitchell: I've got the other SESC now.

RealVideo Clip (3 min 30 sec)

115:33:18 Shepard: Okay, very good. (Long Pause)

115:34:06 Mitchell: (Grunting, possibly as he mounts the second SESC on the MET as per checklist) The problem here is that these new clips are so tight that it takes a monumental amount of force to get them (the SESCs and weigh bags) in there. (Pause) Of course, that's the way we asked for them; can't complain.

[Mitchell - "The original clips were not holding the equipment tightly enough in practice and we were frightened it was going to come falling off in the bouncing of the one-sixth-g environment. So they tightened up the clips for us, to make sure things stayed in place. When we got in the one-sixth-g environment - because everything's so light and the clips were so strong, again, when you tried to open up the clips to put equipment on, you were virtually turning over the equipment or lifting it up. The force to overcome the strength of the clip was just causing havoc. But my comment was 'Okay, that's what we asked for'."]
115:34:23 Mitchell: (Going to the MESA) And, Houston, I'm sealing the organic sample at this point.

115:34:28 McCandless: Roger.

[The organic sample is a roll of clean aluminum metal which Ed is sealing in a plastic bag and putting in the rock box. When the rock box is returned to Houston, the organic sample will serve as a control so that the relative amount of terrestrial contamination of the lunar samples - by volatile gases, primarily - can be determined.]
115:34:33 Shepard: (At the front of the MET) Okay, and we'll put this one (an EVA map) in the pocket. (Pause) We have a map on the front. (Long Pause)

115:35:23 Mitchell: (Going to the MET) And, Houston, I have the close-up camera.

115:35:26 McCandless: Roger. Still reading on even hundreds?

115:35:31 Mitchell: Wait a minute; I'm not there yet.

115:35:33 McCandless: Okay. (Pause)

[The close-up camera - also known as the Gold Camera after Thomas (Tommy) Gold, the principle investigator - is designed to take extreme close-up photos of the undisturbed surface. Gold was famous for his prediction that the lunar surface was covered with deep layers of very loose dust and caused a great deal of unnecessary trouble for NASA over the years. Although the notion that a landing spacecraft would sink out of site was dispelled as soon as the Ranger spacecraft returned photographs of small craters with elevated rims - rims that would not have stayed standing under Gold's hypothesis, Gold did not go away. Gold was an astrophysicist noted for a series of thought provoking ideas in various fields, some of which proved to be correct. He based his deep-dust hypothesis on radio-astronomical observations which indicated reflections from a fairy-castle-like structure. Such structures do exist, but only in the top few millimeters of the soil. The Gold camera was designed to photograph those structures. However, although the pictures have a striking beauty, their scientific value is small compared with the results of the other experiments. The only real virtue of the Gold camera was that it was easy to operate. McCandless' question about "even hundreds" has to do with a frame counter.]

[Training photo S70-45808 (scan by J.L. Pickering) shows the Gold Camera mounted at the front of the MET on the near side. Here, Al Shepard is reaching for the MET handle.]

115:35:46 Mitchell: Didn't want that to get away from me, but it did. Okay, that got it. Okay. Houston, it's turned on; and it's reading 300.

115:35:58 McCandless: Roger.

[Ed and Al are both at the front of the MET and may be jointly mounting the Gold Camera.]
115:36:06 Shepard: Okay, can you see that little flag, Ed?
[Mitchell - (After some thought) "The 'little flag' is on the Gold camera. It's some sort of indicator, and I don't recall now what it was. But it had to do with the positioning and use of the Gold camera. Kind of like when you look down into it, it was telling you something about the function."]

[An alternate possibility is that, having just finished putting the map on the MET, Al may be stowing the tether and that the 'little flag' is associated with it.]

115:36:11 Mitchell: Huh?

115:36:12 Shepard: Can you see that little flag all right?

115:36:14 Mitchell: Yeah, I think I can see that. Good show. (Long Pause as Ed goes over the MESA and gets the hammer out) Okay, and here's one hammer for you.

RealVideo Clip (3 min 01 sec)

115:36:41 Shepard: Okay. Thank you. (Pause)

[Al puts the hammer on the HTC, as per checklist, while Ed gets the gnomon out of the MESA.]
115:36:50 Mitchell: Okay. We finally got to touch the flight gnomon.

115:37:04 McCandless: 21 Nancy.

115:37:08 Mitchell: (Laughs) Glad you're still with us, Bruce. (Pause)

[The original NASA transcription of Ed's statement at 115:36:50 was "We finally got to set the flight gnomon". During our 1991 mission review, we decided that what he really said was "got to see the flight gnomon". However, I now believe that it is "got to touch the flight gnomon."]

[Mitchell - "It sounded to me like I said 'set' but I think it was 'see' and I think the problem was (that) the damn thing was late in manufacture and we never got to see the flight gnomon in the final equipment check. And I believe that's the first time we got a chance to look at it."]

[During our 1991 mission review, we considered the possibility that the Apollo 12 and 14 gnomons were of different designs. In reality, the Apollo 12 and 14 gnomons were identical, but it is entirely possible that the crew was not allowed to use the flight article in training, even right at the end.]

[Jones - "Any idea about the '21 Nancy' joke?"]

[Mitchell - (After some thought) - "21 Nancy. I remember that only vaguely. You're right. It's an inside joke, and I don't remember what the heck it was."]

115:37:18 Shepard: (Taking the gnomon from Ed) Okay. Legs down.
[Comm Break]

[Al's 'legs down' comment may be a reminder to himself on how the gnomon is supposed to be stowed on the HTC. At the end of this comm break, Ed brings the large scoop over from the MESA. Ed is at the bottom of the 1+36 paragraph in his checklist.]

115:38:30 Shepard: Okay, let's put that baby over here. (Pause) That your last (checklist) item?

115:38:37 Mitchell: Let me double check. Let's see, 1, 2, 3...

115:38:42 Shepard: Okay, Houston. We'll start a rundown here. I think we are about ready.

115:38:44 Mitchell: Yeah.

[Al is about to do the equipment check at 1+39 in his checklist. They are two hours into the EVA and, therefore, are about 20 minutes behind.]
115:38:45 Shepard: Got the core tube cap assembly, extension handle, two sets of tongs. We have a numbered geophone anchor on the front. We have the tether, the gnomon, the hammer, the scoop. Three core tubes, 35-bag dispenser, close-up camera, two SESCs, two 70-millimeter cameras with color exterior (film, designated HCEX in the checklist), one 16-millimeter camera and one mag, four weigh bags, two maps, extra thumper/geophone flag, large scoop is on - right. Large scoop is on, and we're taking the trenching tool (also known as the "large scoop") with us.
[Jones - "There's a mention later on of a '100 foot tether'. Is this that tether and what was the purpose?"]

[Mitchell - (After some thought) "I don't know whether it came to pass or not, but the tether reminds me that there was a time when we talked about carrying a belaying line - or tether - in case, up on Cone Crater, we wanted to go down over the edge a little bit. I don't think we ever did that. We talked about it, but I don't know if we finally took one. But (other than that), I can't think what a tether's for."]

[The hundred-foot tether is listed in the Apollo 14 LM Stowage List and, in a subsequent conversation with the Apollo 12 crew, we concluded that they, too, had a belaying line, albeit only 10 meters long. It may have been included, originally, in case one of the astronauts got into a situation where he needed help in getting out of a crater or depression. During the 1969 Apollo 12 Technical Debrief, Al Bean suggested that later crews carry a longer, 30-meter tether for possible use as a belaying line so that one member of the crew could get to the bottom of steep-sided craters to collect samples. Neither the Apollo 12 crew nor the Apollo 14 crew used their line. In the case of Apollo 14, Houston had the crew take the tether up to the cabin after EVA-2. See the discussion after 135:22:24.]

115:39:24 McCandless: Okay, and you should have a 16-millimeter and two mags.

115:39:30 Shepard: That correct; we have a total of...I was just going to say, a total of three mags; one is almost used and the other two are clean.

RealVideo Clip (3 min 18 sec)

115:39:39 McCandless: Roger. Looks good.

115:39:42 Shepard: (Garbled as they both turn and look off to the west).

115:39:44 McCandless: And why don't you give us EMU status check before you set out?

115:39:50 Mitchell: Okay, the LMP is reading 3.75 (psi), and about 55 percent (oxygen), (pause) medium to low cooling. Feeling great.

115:40:10 McCandless: Okay. Say again the percentage, Ed.

115:40:16 Mitchell: It looks like I'm reading 50...No, sorry about that. (Pause)

115:40:25 Shepard: Man, it's hard to see.

[The oxygen gauge is on top of the RCU, about in the middle. The gauge is recessed and, therefore, is usually in shadow. Add a little dust on the gauge and it becomes very hard to read.]
115:40:26 Mitchell: Yeah. I'm reading 55 percent, Bruce.

115:40:29 McCandless: Roger.

115:40:30 Shepard: You're reading lower than that. It must be.

115:40:34 Mitchell: Pardon? No, I'm not reading more than that (garbled under McCandless).

115:40:37 McCandless: Go ahead, Al.

115:40:40 Shepard: Okay, Al is at 3.75, reading 62 percent, and I have no flags; I'm on Min cooling, and I'm very comfortable.

115:40:51 McCandless: Roger. Out. And we need to point the TV camera out to the ALSEP site.

115:40:58 Shepard: I'll go get it. Let me boom on out and get that. I think I'll aim it a little bit to the left of that bright crater on the side of the west wall of Doublet.

115:41:10 Mitchell: Hey, that's a good place, Al.

[Al runs over to the TV with confidence, pumping his arms slightly as he rolls from foot to foot. He takes about 16 steps before going out of the field-of-view and, if we estimate that he took 20 steps in all, they average 2 1/2 feet in length. The run takes about 15 seconds at an average speed of about 3 1/2 km/hr.]
115:41:12 McCandless: Say, Al, if there's any uncertainty as to the deployment area, we'd rather go to a zoom of 100(mm focal length) instead of a zoom of 150; but if you think you've got a good site picked out now, why, we can go to 150.

115:41:27 Shepard: I think we can find a good site. We may be a little closer to Doublet than the map shows, because of the grade going up there; but I think there's a level site fairly close to the south rim of Doublet, and we'll aim the camera in that general direction and give you 150 zoom.

115:41:45 McCandless: Roger. Out.

[The Westinghouse Operations and Training Manual ( 4Mb ) for the color TV camera indicates that, at maximum zoom (150-mm focal length) the horizontal field-of-view is 7 degrees. At the nominal deployment distance of 300 feet from the LM, the field-of-view spans only about 37 feet. Although the main portion of the ALSEP array only covers about 30 feet (north-south). If they are to stay in view throughout most of the deployment, placement of the Central Station will be severely constrained.]

[On the post-flight USGS map the LM location is indicated by the diamond-shaped symbol at the convergence of the various traverse routes. The Doublet Craters are on the upper right edge.]

115:41:46 Shepard: Focus at infinity. (Pause) Okay. Now, you should be able to see, on the right side of your picture when I settle down here. You should be able to...Hold on.

115:42:11 Mitchell: Al, you can get quite a ways further out if you want to. You've got a little cable left.

115:42:14 Shepard: You should be...We're aiming right for the south rim of Doublet now, south rim of south Doublet; and you'll probably be able to see that bright star crater right in the very edge of your field-of-view. The f-stop okay?

[It is not clear what Al means by "that bright star crater". Page 35 in the Apollo 13 Press Kit shows a site map sketch with a large crater ENE of the LM labeled Star Crater. However, a comparison with LROC image 102265088L shows that this crater is about 90 degrees clockwise from the direction of the south rim of South Doublet and, because the TV field-of-view is about 35 degrees, would be well out of view.]
115:42:29 McCandless: Yeah, f-stop's fine. I've got what looks like (counting) one, two ridges and then the horizon in the picture; and just past the second ridge, I see (what) look like two craters in line. Over.

115:42:51 Shepard: Well, they may be two small boulders.

RealVideo Clip (3 min 12 sec)

115:42:54 McCandless: Okay, may be. (Pause)

[The two craters may be in the upper half of the image while the two boulders may be to the right of center. McCandless is mistaken; the horizon is not in the picture.]
115:42:59 Mitchell: Okay. I think we can find something out there that fits the bill. (Pause) Okay. I'll go pick up the barbell.

115:43:09 Shepard: All right.

[As indicated at 1+44 in his checklist, Ed will carry the ALSEP barbell out to the deployment site.]
115:43:11 Mitchell: The LR-Cubed is here on the front step.
[As indicated at 1+44 in his checklist, Al will take the MET and the LR-Cubed out to the ALSEP site, carrying the latter by hand.]
115:43:17 McCandless: Al, this is Houston. We'd like to try f/22 and peak (sensitivity on the TV).

115:43:25 Shepard: Okay; you caught me just in time! (Long Pause)

[Al was just about to go back to the LM to get the MET and the LR-Cubed.]
115:44:04 Shepard: Okay; f/22 and peak. How does that look to you? (Long Pause)
[Because the astronauts will be working directly down-Sun of the TV, their white suits will reflect a great deal of light and their images will be badly saturated. In hindsight, maximum sensitivity was a poor choice.]
115:44:23 McCandless: Roger, Al. And we'd like to elevate a little bit so that we get the horizon in.

115:44:33 Shepard: All right, we'll try. How's that?

[The horizon is now about 1/3 of the way up from the bottom.]
115:44:41 McCandless: See if you can depress a little now. (Pause) It's real touchy at this long focal length.

115:44:52 Shepard: Okay. We'll try to depress a little bit. (Long Pause) Okay, you still have the horizon?

[The horizon is now vertically centered.]
115:45:20 McCandless: Okay, that looks good for elevation; and if you've got us aimed at your proposed deployment site, we're Go.

115:45:29 Shepard: Well, it looks like that's the way we're going.

115:45:32 McCandless: Okay. Very good.

115:45:34 Mitchell: We'll just have to stay in that line of sight, Bruce.

115:45:44 McCandless: Roger. (Pause) You want a GCA (Ground Controlled Approach)?

[McCandless is asking if they want him to steer them.]
115:45:49 Shepard: Yep. I think...

115:45:53 McCandless: Well, our ASR (Area Surveillance Radar)...

115:45:54 Shepard: (Garbled under McCandless).

115:45:54 McCandless: ...isn't working very well; but once we can get you in the field-of-view, we'll acquire you.

RealVideo Clip (4 min 01 sec)

115:46:01 Mitchell: Rog. I'm headed over that way. (Long Pause)

115:47:00 Mitchell: (Tongue-tied) Can you...field-of-view yet, Bruce?

115:47:04 McCandless: Negative, Ed. I believe you're off to our left. (Pause) Okay, you're coming in, now.

115:47:10 Shepard: (Garbled) field-of-view until we get up pretty close to the site.

115:47:14 Mitchell: Okay. (Pause) Okay. I'm going to stop here and rest for a minute, Al. This darn thing (the ALSEP) is heavier than I expected.

[Ed is carrying the ALSEP in his hands, with his arms hanging straight down. When he stops to rest, he simply releases his grip on the carry bar and lets the packages drop a foot or so to the ground.]

[Apollo 13 photo KSC-70PC-15 shows Jim Lovell carrying the ALSEP packages during training. 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.]

[Mitchell - "That was a heavy package. I don't remember how much it weighed, now; but I was pooped, lugging that thing out there. And it was flexing on me. I think it was a pretty stable package, but that bar was flexing up and down and that was making it a lot more difficult to carry."]

[Jones - "You said in the technical debrief that you eventually carried it on your arms, in the crook of the elbows."]

[Mitchell - "I did it that way too. That was because it was bouncing and flexing. It was throwing me totally off stride. It had a natural frequency of vibration that was not a natural frequency of my movements. It was just kind of flopping around and throwing me totally off balance."]

[Jones - "It's hard to see in the TV what kind of stride you were managing, but Jack and Charlie were both walking pretty flat-footed. Walking, as opposed to striding."]

[Mitchell - "I think that's right. Because I was trying to move rapidly here, and it was very difficult. Like trying to carry an up-to-speed gyro. The damn thing's going to go the way it's going to go, no matter where you try to take it."]

[Mitchell, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "They were heavier than I expected. Let me explain it this way. In carrying the ALSEP package, the carrying bar flexed and, as I bounced along, it was just flexing up and down. The dumbbells were vibrating out on the end, and it made it kind of a wriggling mass. It was somewhat hard to handle. Carrying it out like this (in his hands, probably with his arms hanging down), my hands got very tired with all this motion going on and flexing of (internal suit restraint) cables. I eventually ended up carrying it across my arms (in the crook of his elbows). That worked pretty well, but it was considerably heavier than I anticipated, since the one-sixth g, lightweight mock-up didn't really respond that way. It was much easier to handle. Furthermore, in one-g training, we never carried it that far. We only carried it a few feet. In this case, we were carrying it a couple of hundred yards. It was heavier and more difficult to handle than I thought."]

[Shepard, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "I'd like to make a recommendation about the training at the Cape. We would get to the point in the EVA where we were to walk out to the ALSEP site. We would walk to the door (of the training building), get in the truck, and ride out. Somebody else would drag the MET out for us. At least once, we ought to go ahead and carry the thing out there to give a feel for it."]

[Mitchell, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "(When you stop to take a moment's rest), if you do not strain against the suit, the suit's going to put you in a position - slightly bent forward at the waist to keep from toppling over(from the weight of the PLSS) - which is the best rest position. If you just relax, the suit will put you in the best rest position. It's a natural position; the position of the Neanderthal man, slightly bent forward with arms hanging down."]

115:47:23 McCandless: Okay, Ed. We've got you in the field-of-view over to the left, now.

115:47:29 Mitchell: Okay. Al should be coming in (to the field-of-view) right now, too. (Long Pause as Ed rests and Al comes up to join him)

[Although not much detail is visible in the TV picture, Ed is standing still with his arms hanging loosely, slightly out in front of him. The Apollo 17 video shows Gene Cernan taking occasional rest breaks while he drilled three deep holes. He usually stood with his arms up at about chest height, undoubtedly because his arms were in that position for the drilling and, to assume any other arm positions, he would have to move them against the friction in the cable-style bearing and against the internal pressure of the suit. Because of the stiffness of the suit, he didn't actually have to use his muscles to hold his arms up but could let them rest on the suit, rather like somebody resting with their arms on a table. A more important consideration in resting is probably the position of the hands. The natural rest position of the human hand has the fingers slightly bent and curved in; and the Apollo gloves were built to assume that position in the absence of any exerted force. An astronaut holding anything larger or, particularly, anything smaller than the natural opening of his hand would quickly feel forearm fatigue and the ability to rest the hand from time to time was critical.]
115:47:51 Shepard: Looks as if it might be a little secondary impact crater here by me.

115:47:54 Mitchell: Man, there's so many different types of craters around here, we could spend the whole EVA within a hundred yards of the LM. Okay, lead on and I'll follow and watch the MET for you.

[This is normal procedure, as can be seen in NASA photo S70-53479 (scan by Kipp Teague) which was taken during a training exercise done at one-sixth g on the NASA KS-135 aircraft. Because of the low ceiling inside the aircraft, they would not have been able to try out the loping gait they learned to use on the Moon.]
115:48:06 Shepard: Okay. Going to your right. (Long Pause) Okay, Houston. We're proceeding over a very fine-grained regolith (that) we described before. Undulating surface...

115:48:36 McCandless: Okay. You need to angle left just a little bit.

115:48:39 Shepard: ...a gentle upslope...(Listens)

115:48:42 Mitchell: Left?

115:48:43 McCandless: Yeah, you're doing fine, now.

[Journal Contributor Lennie Waugh has created a labeled version of a TV frame grabbed at about this time. The frame shows some of the detail that can be seen while Al and Ed are still relatively close to the LM.]
115:48:45 Mitchell: Okay.
[Mitchell - "The ALSEP packages may not look like they're making a lot of motion in the TV, but it was making a lot of motion as far as I was concerned."]
115:48:51 Mitchell: Say, Houston. This looks like brown talcum powder (because) it's so fine, in most places.

115:49:01 McCandless: Roger. The MET's going off to the right.

115:49:03 Shepard: I think the Sun angle is increasing, now. (Listens) The MET's trying to find a smooth place to go!

[McCandless doesn't appreciate the number of craters that are forcing Al and Ed to snake their way out to the deployment site. Certainly, he is offering too much guidance and, after Al's comment, backs off.]
115:49:11 Mitchell: Al, I think you'll have to go around this crater, here. Go to the left. I think we can find our way down. (Pause)
[Al has gone out of the picture to the right while Ed has walked over to the left side of the picture. He stops and looks down into the crater. Photo AS14-66- 9338 shows the path that Ed and Al will take on the trip out to the ALSEP site and back. Ed Mitchell took this splendid picture after he and Al Shepard jettisoned the PLSSs in preparation for launch. The ALSEP Central Station is about 180m from the LM. Note the excursions made around the rimless crater in the foreground and the large depression in the middle distance that they will traverse in both directions. Without the visual clues provided by the tracks, the depression is not easy to pick out in this down-Sun photo.]
115:49:22 Mitchell: Good heavens, that's a deep hole! (Pause) Yeh, I guess we can make it either way (that is, either left or right around the crater).
[Ed turns to his right and follows Al around the north rim of the crater. The barbell is forcing him to walk flat-footed. He seems to be trying to get a little speed but he is not really getting off the ground. Al reappears at the right edge of the picture.]

[Journal Contributor Lennie Waugh has created a labeled detail from AS14-67-9367, indicating the paths taken by the crew around the crater. Al will take the picture from near the Central Station at the end of the ALSEP deployment. In the labeled detail, Waugh has indicated the edges of the TV line-of-sight (LOS) and identifies the crater as the one labeled "1502" in a detail from the USGS post-flight site map.]

115:49:34 Shepard: Say again.

115:49:35 Mitchell: I said we could make it either way.

115:49:37 Shepard: Okay. (Pause) See those two (craters) over there at 10 o'clock? Well, we can see those are on the map.

115:49:49 Mitchell: The two at 10 o'clock?

115:49:50 Shepard: Yeah.

115:49:53 Mitchell: Yeah.

RealVideo Clip (2 min 57 sec)

115:49:58 Shepard: Okay, Houston. We'll be dropping down out of sight for a while, probably.

115:50:02 McCandless: Roger.

115:50:04 Shepard: Going down in a depression.

115:50:09 Mitchell: A very deep depression, compared to what it looked like (on the map). (Pause)

[They are both near the center of the picture. Ed is visible from about the waist up while Al is visible only above about chest height. The depression in question may be centered at about CQ/64.5. The LM is at about CQ.3/65.8 and the planned ALSEP deployment area is at CQ.3/62.4. On the USGS map, the depression is surrounded by the closed contour labeled '570'.]
115:50:29 Shepard: Well, I don't know.

115:50:32 Mitchell: I don't know either. Let's stop a minute, Al.

115:50:37 Shepard: I'm not sure but what we've picked just about as good a spot as anywhere.

115:50:40 Mitchell: I think so.

115:50:44 Shepard: It looked a little smoother out here (prior to leaving the LM) because of being closer to zero-phase, perhaps.

[Zero-phase, or down-Sun, is the direction directly opposite the Sun and is exceptionally bright because of a process called Coherent Backscatter. In addition to the general brightness of the down-Sun scene, there are no visible shadows to give any definition of slopes. Toward zero-phase, the scene has a washout appearance.]
115:50:51 Mitchell: I think that's it, but it's not a bit smoother than the other (directions). (Pause) I'll be darned if I know what to do.

115:51:04 Shepard: Well, we'll move on a little closer to Doublet.

115:51:09 Mitchell: Okay. (Pause) (Picking up the barbell) Okay. (Long Pause)

115:51:36 Mitchell: Well, I think the first ridge over there about another 75 yards might be our answer. Right beyond these next two craters.

115:51:49 Shepard: Yeah, I think so. It's probably a pretty good spot. How about right up there?

115:51:54 Mitchell: Yeah. (Pause)

115:52:05 Shepard: Okay, Houston. We're in the general area of the planned ALSEP deployment now...On the chart. It's in a depression, and I think we'll move on a little closer to Doublet to give you the higher elevation (so that Houston can watch the deployment).

[The planned deployment spot is CQ.3/62.4. They may not have gone quite that far yet. On the USGS map, they may be in the vicinity of the 'Comprehensive sample' that they will do on their return to the LM.]
115:52:18 McCandless: Roger. You're visible from, oh, about the armpits up, right now.

115:52:27 Shepard: Okay.

115:52:31 Mitchell: Think you ought to press a little...bear a little to the left, Al.

115:52:33 Shepard: Yeah. I guess we'll have to. (Pause) Nothing like being up to your armpits in lunar dust! (Pause)

RealVideo Clip (3 min 07 sec)

115:52:48 Mitchell: I think just to the left of that rock that's ahead of us; (garbled) provide a path through here. (Pause)

115:53:00 Shepard: The MET seems to be riding very well, Houston.

115:53:03 Mitchell: It's bouncing a little bit, making nice tire marks, but not about to turn over. It jumps about a foot every time it hits a small rise, but very stable. (Pause)

[Shepard, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "Although we didn't start off at high speed with the MET, I could tell from the configurations of the handles when the MET was tending to tip from one side to the other. It does it very slowly, so you can, by twisting your hand, counter that tendency to go over."]

[During the MET training exercises (scan by Kipp Teague) done in the KC-135 aircraft, they would not have gotten a feel for the MET's one-sixth-g response to a rough surface.]

115:53:20 McCandless: Are you getting any dust thrown up by the tires?

115:53:25 Mitchell: No. There is a little bit, Bruce, but it's not...This dirt feels to be kind of clumpy. (Long Pause)

[Ed means that it tends to be cohesive and compress - rather like a wet soil - rather than to scatter as a dry beach sand would do.]
115:53:53 Shepard: Okay, I guess that ridge is the best place.

115:53:56 Mitchell: I think so.

115:53:57 Shepard: How are you doing?

115:53:58 Mitchell: Fine.

115:54:00 Shepard: We still on your television, Bruce?

115:54:02 McCandless: Yes, indeed. You're very well centered. And I can see your...

115:54:09 Shepard: We're just coming back in now (that is, coming up out of the depression that has been obscuring their legs); we're coming up the grade here.

115:54:14 McCandless: Roger. I can see your shadows now, so I guess...In fact, I can see your feet; so, you're well in view.

115:54:23 Mitchell: Okay, about another 30, 40 feet, Al, and I think we're as good as we're going to get.

115:54:29 Shepard: Yep. (Pause)

115:54:35 Shepard: What we're discussing here, Houston, is the grade going up to south Doublet (and it) is fairly consistent, and it's difficult to find a level place.

115:54:52 Mitchell: (Releasing the barbell) Okay. Let's set it down and look for a minute, Al.

115:54:58 Shepard: All righty. See if we can figure where we are. (Pause)

115:55:09 Mitchell: I don't know but what this - this rise we're standing on right here isn't about as good as any.

115:55:20 Shepard: Okay, now, there's a 20-meter crater there. (Pause)

[Ed joins Al at the MET. The images are too saturated to let us see where they are looking during the following conversation.]
115:55:37 Mitchell: Okay. You got that other map on there, too?

115:55:40 Shepard: Yeah, it's in the pocket.

RealVideo Clip (3 min 04 sec)

115:55:42 Mitchell: Now, let's see. (Pause) Okay, the one...That one right there. Let's see if we can find those. The big one. May I see it a minute? Can we spot that one and those two?

115:56:05 Shepard: That one's right over there, I believe. Isn't it? That's an old rounded one right there (possibly the crater at CP.4/62.4). (Pause) See what I mean?

115:56:13 Mitchell: Yeah, that may be. What's this one right here? Another one right beside it. (Pause) Oh, I don't know whether we're that far out or not, Al. (Pause)

115:56:45 Shepard: (Garbled) that little, looking for that little distance thing. (Pause) Here we go. (Long Pause) Okay, I'd say we're probably about 400 feet out, almost directly out in front. Plus-X (means plus-Z, west of the LM).

[For a discussion of the various coordinate axis designations used in Apollo, see the text following 1351841.]
115:57:34 Mitchell: Okay.
[The Preliminary Science Report gives a distance of 180 meters or 600 feet, which would put them at about CQ.3/62.2]
115:57:35 Shepard: (Garbled under Mitchell).

115:57:35 Mitchell: I think...

115:57:36 Shepard: ...80 meters along the track.

115:57:39 Mitchell: Yeah. Look here. See that crater right in between those two traverse tracks?

115:57:43 Shepard: Yeah.

[Ed is looking at map 1-LS-1, EVA-1 and the crater in question is probably the one at CQ.9/61.8.]
115:57:45 Mitchell: Okay, those two craters and that crater that you pointed out.

115:57:47 Shepard: Right.

115:57:48 Mitchell: Okay, I think that one between the traverse tracks is that one right there...

115:57:53 Shepard: Okay.

115:57:54 Mitchell: ...on the hill. Those (two) right over there and the one you pointed out - this one - is that one over there and the big one behind it...No, I think it's out of sight, unless it's that one over there.

115:58:10 Shepard: Well, where do you think we are?

115:58:12 Mitchell: I think that we are to the north...I think we're about CR. And let's see, we're south of that. We're about CQ 0.8 and 62.5...(correcting himself) 61.5.

115:58:37 Shepard: Did you read that, Houston?

RealVideo Clip (3 min 36 sec)

115:58:38 McCandless: Roger. Charlie Quebec 8 (and) 61.5.

115:58:45 Shepard: Okay. Let's move directly toward that big rock up there, about halfway between here and there? (Garbled) it's about right up in there.

115:58:56 Mitchell: Yeah, because I need this clear area down here for that thumper.

[Ed has a sketch map of the planned ALSEP deployment in his cuff checklist and, as mentioned previously, also has a good feel for the siting requirements. This exchange gives an indication that Ed is the better map reader and that, at least in this instance, Al is ready to defer to his judgment. During the climb to Cone Crater, Al will not defer to Ed and they will wind up south of the rim, out of sight of the crater.]
115:58:59 Shepard: Okay, let's put it right up in there.

115:59:01 Mitchell: Right up there, on that spot?

115:59:03 Shepard: Yep.

115:59:04 Mitchell: You got it.

115:59:07 Shepard: Okay, Houston. We're going to move about 10 meters to the west-northwest from those coordinates that Ed gave you. That will be where...

115:59:16 McCandless: Roger.

115:59:17 Shepard: ...the ALSEP central station will go.

115:59:20 Mitchell: We reserve the right to change our mind as to where we are when we get up on the hilltop.

115:59:26 McCandless: Okay. (Pause)

115:59:31 Shepard: Okay. (Long Pause)

[While Al heads off to the right side of the TV picture, Ed has gone over to the barbell, picked it up, and starts to follow along.]
115:59:48 Shepard: Well, I have to pull it over here a little, Ed; there's a crater there.

115:59:52 Mitchell: Al, I'd stop right about where we are.

115:59:55 McCandless: Okay, we've lost the MET off to...

115:59:58 Shepard: (Garbled under McCandless).

115:59:58 McCandless: ...the right of our picture.

116:00:05 Mitchell: (To Al) What's wrong with right about here? It gives me a nice clear shot down there with the thumper.

116:00:11 Shepard: Can you still see Ed, Houston?

116:00:12 McCandless: Yeah, he's at the extreme right-hand edge of our picture, Al; and you're off.

116:00:19 Shepard: Okay. We're coming back on. This is where we're going to deploy.

116:00:22 McCandless: Well, I guess the primary consideration, of course, is to find a good site; and our being able to watch you is secondary.

[They move south about 10 feet, back into the field-of-view. Once Ed puts the barbell down, he doesn't appear to move it again. On the USGS map, they will deploy the Central Station at the location labelled 'CS', 190 meters from the LM.]
116:00:31 Shepard: Yeah. We understand, but it's all pretty much the same; the upslope is about, oh, 4 or 5 degrees, pock-marked by all types of craters. They're all old craters; but nonetheless, they produce a fairly uneven surface. And I think we've found a spot here as reasonable as we'll find anywhere.

116:00:51 McCandless: Roger. Out.

116:00:53 Mitchell: Let's see, Al. (Pause) But those two craters right there are going to be in the way. I think I'd like to move back here about 5 feet. Better than having to run through those going south. (Pause) Or, I can leave the Central Station about where I've got it...I mean, the power generator (the RTG). Think that'll be all right?

116:01:22 Shepard: Are you done with your thumper geophone line?

116:01:24 Mitchell: Yeah, I'm through.

116:01:25 Shepard: Your line will put you right through those two craters. That'll give you a good reference.

116:01:28 Mitchell: Well, I'm going to have to go this way, because I can't fire (the seismic mortars he will deploy later) into that ridge. I've got to put it more north, right up that way. Then, I'm going to go right down across through there. (Pause) Okay, this looks good to me if you're happy with it.

[Ed has not picked up the barbell during any of this, nor moved it.]
116:01:45 Shepard: Let's see. Southwest is right...The best spot is right through those two craters.

116:01:49 Mitchell: I'm going to have to go almost due south with the thumper.

116:01:52 Shepard: I mean, southeast of these.

116:01:53 Mitchell: I'm going to have to go due south.

116:01:57 Shepard: Okay, you can go by the right edge of that baby.

116:01:59 Mitchell: Yep, right across...

116:02:00 Shepard: Okay, very good.

116:02:01 Mitchell: Right across there.

116:02:04 Shepard: Okay, we've got a spot, Houston. We'll proceed with the deployment.

116:02:06 Mitchell: We're not quite as far from those coordinates as we thought we were.

RealVideo Clip (3 min 29 sec)

116:02:09 McCandless: Roger, Antares.

[Jones - "I guess I don't quite understand the amount of time you devoted to where you were - to figuring out what the map coordinates were."]

[Mitchell - "They wanted to know where it was. They wanted to know, generally, where everything was with respect to everything. And we had to...I was concerned about laying that geophone line out and in line with the mortar - which never got fired, by the way, but which, at that time, we didn't know. The geophone line and the mortar were supposed to be in a north-south line and on relatively level terrain. And there wasn't any relatively level terrain, as it turned out. So, trying to find a way to lay that mortar line and that geophone line down, and find a spot to get the CPLEE (pronounced 'cee-plee', the Charged-Particle Lunar Environment Experiment) and the PSE (Passive Seismic Experiment) and all of these various things laid...Well, I said a north-south line. Actually, the way this is laid out was a northwest-southeast, but I think we turned...We ended up where we were damn near north-south. Which obviously was just the only orientation that was going to work. And I guess the geologists and the scientists in charge of that stinking station made a point with us all the time that they wanted to know exactly where it was."]

[Jones - "Now, on the other missions what they did was take pictures back to the LM and then you could determine (the relative location)."]

[Mitchell - "You could triangulate on the pictures. That's quite right."]

[Jones - "What you're saying (makes it) sound like that was worked out after this exercise."]

[Mitchell - "Well, we expected to do the same thing, too. We took locator shots from all positions. But, on the other hand, to triangulate it on that position we'd have had to have another location to triangulate on. We didn't really have any way to triangulate back."]

[Jones - "The theory that was in use by the time of the J-missions, anyway, was that you used the size of the LM image to tell you how far away you are and then the orientation of the LM. Of course, they had the mountains in the background..."]

[Mitchell - "You had horizon features to help you. We didn't expect to have that (but) it turned out that we did. See, we were really expecting to have a lot flatter, smoother surface than we ended up having. We expected to be relatively terrainless...Sure, we expected craters on it. But not anything like what we got. And that would have made...Had the relief on the surface allowed the kind of landmark identification and triangulation that you've talked about on the later missions, it would have solved a lot of problems. But that was a part of our surprise. That was a part of what we didn't know."]

[Jones - "And, also, if you were expecting a flat terrain where you could figure out where you were quickly, then people wouldn't have expected it to be a time-consuming exercise."]

[Mitchell - "That's right."]

[Mitchell, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "(In addition to finding a spot that had a little elevation), the real problem we had in trying to psyche out the right spot was in trying to find an area flat enough for the Central Station and still have a reasonably straight line for me to lay the thumper out, with the constraints of not getting the north ridge with the mortar pack and not being able to cross the crater and not cross a ridge, and going south with the geophone wire. So, with the undulations and the roughness of that terrain, it was a little bit difficult to find a proper site."]

[Shepard, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "For future crew information, I think you ought to have all these requirements for ALSEP equipment location planned so that a few minutes should be allotted in the timeline to look around and get all the parameters of placement satisfied. Which, of course, we didn't do. We just walked up to the sandpile (at the Cape) and said 'this is it', and then off we went (doing the deployment). I'm not talking about east versus west of north versus south. I'm just talking about how to fit it in the local terrain."]

[Based on the transcripts of the later missions and the reviews conducted with the crews, it appears that, partly as a result of the Apollo 14 experience, more attention was paid during training to the problem of how to decide, in real time, where to put the Central Station in order to satisfy the constraints imposed by the various experiments. For Apollo 15, a list of ALSEP site constraints was added to the Commander's cuff checklist so that, when he drove the Rover out to the planned site, he could pick a good spot while the LMP was walking out with the barbell assembly. On Apollos 16 and 17, the Commanders were delayed in departing the LM and the LMPs were the first to reach the planned deployment sites. In both cases, they put their training experience to good use and, in just a few minutes, were able to pick good spots.]

[They are at 1+57 in Al's checklist and 2+23 in the EVA.]


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