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Geology at Cone Crater

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 7 February 2014.

[Al and Ed have stopped to sample at the location marked C' (C-Prime) on the USGS map. See, also, the USGS post-flight shaded relief map ( 736k ); and a detail ( 0.5 Mb ) from the 28 November 2009, 0.5m/pixel LRO image.]
RealVideo Clip (8 min 23 sec)

MP3 Audio Clip (22 min 02 sec)

[Note that, until Al and Ed get back to the LM, the TV picture shows an unchanging scene - except for very minor changes in shadow length as the Sun rises 0.55 degrees per hour.]
133:24:26 Shepard: Okay, Houston. We are in the middle of a fairly large boulder field. It covers perhaps as much as a square mile. And, as the pan will show, I don't believe we have quite reached the rim yet. However, we can't be too far away and I think certainly we'll find that these samples (come from) pretty far down in Cone Crater.

133:25:00 Haise: Roger, Al. (Pause)

[By collecting samples from the large rocks near the rim, they are certain of giving the geologists back home a look at material dug out by the impact from the deepest part of the crater. One use of the samples is to estimate the age of Cone Crater. Rock that had been buried deep within Cone Ridge were not exposed to cosmic rays until dug out by the impact and it is possible to use geochemistry techniques to estimate how long the rocks have been exposed. In 1975, C.J. Morgan was able to determine that Cone is about 26 million years old. In turn, good ages for a number of lunar craters permit improved estimates of the ages of other craters for which the only available indication of age is the number of smaller craters per unit area on the ejecta blanket.]
133:25:13 Mitchell: (To himself) Okay. Come on! (Long Pause)

133:25:35 Shepard: Okay, you about to start taking documented samples?

133:25:38 Mitchell: Right here.

[Ed takes a cross-Sun stereopair of pre-sampling, "before" photos from the south, AS14-68- 9443 and 9444. He then steps around to the east of the sampling area and takes 9445. Saddle Rock (aka White Rock) is visible in the distance above and just to the right of the foreground split boulder. See the USGS post-flight shaded relief map ( 736k ).]
133:25:40 Shepard: All righty. Let me say, Houston, that most of these boulders are the same brownish gray that we've found. But we see one (Saddle Rock, which is numbered 1107 on the USGS map) that is definitely almost white in color. A very definite difference in color, which we'll document. We noticed that beneath this dark brown regolith, there is a very light-brown layer. And I think we'll get a core tube right here to show that. As a matter of fact, I think I'll do that right now.

133:26:14 Haise: Roger, Al. And for your information, we won't be doing the polarimetric experiment.

133:26:25 Shepard: I understand; you will not be.

133:26:27 Haise: That's affirm. You can delete that one. (Long Pause)

[The list of tasks planned for the Cone rim are listed on two checklist pages. The polarimetric experiment involves taking pictures at various orientations relative to the Sun with the Hasselblad lens covered with a polarizing filter.]

[Shepard, from the 1971 Technical Debrief - "We stopped and started taking samples. I feel pretty sure that we have some new and strange rocks. They looked - even to our eye, without looking at them through the magnifying glass - decidedly different from some of the rocks we had seen on the way up the slopes to the crater. I feel pretty sure there are going to be some types of rocks that they haven't seen before."]

[Almost all of the rocks collected at Fra Mauro are breccias, rocks containing numerous fragments of other rocks merged in large impacts. Variations in properties result from differences in the parent rock types. Although small breccia samples were collected at both the Apollo 11 and 12 sites, the Apollo 14 samples were the first large breccias returned from the Moon. Most of the Apollo 16 samples are breccias, as are the Apollo 17 samples collected on the slopes of the North and South Massifs at Taurus Littrow.]

133:27:23 Shepard: Okay, Al's going back to Min cool.

133:27:26 Haise: Roger, Al. And, Ed, I need an opinion. Do you think you'd be able to deploy and take the second and last LPM reading at this location?

133:27:43 Mitchell: Yeah, we can take it at this location.

133:27:46 Haise: Okay. What I have on the board here to perform at - and I guess we'll call it C prime - is (to) sample, and I guess you already got a pan, I thought somebody did, and the LPM then.

133:28:05 Mitchell: Okay.

133:28:08 Shepard: Okay. Let me suggest that we take one of these football-sized rocks from here, too, Fredo.

133:28:14 Mitchell: Yeah.

133:28:15 Haise: Roger, Al. Very good. (Pause)

133:28:24 Mitchell: This area that we're in right now is - (that) we're sampling in - is a pretty darn rugged, boulder-strewn area. One of the smaller rocks I've sampled is going into 7-N. (Long Pause)

[After bagging the sample, Ed takes post-sampling, "afters" AS14-68- 9446 and 9447.]
133:29:15 Haise: And, Al and Ed. When you can work it in, we'd like an EMU check.

133:29:27 Shepard: Okay. Al, 3.75 and reading 52 on the oxygen; and I'm in Medium flow and I'm comfortable; no flags.

133:29:39 Mitchell: Okay. I'm reading 3.75; I'm 48 on oxygen; I'm now in Min flow, having just shifted, and I'm comfortable.

133:29:48 Haise: Roger.

[Jones - "I'll go back and check it on the first EVA, but I think at this point, your oxygen use was considerably better than on the first EVA."]

[Mitchell - "I'm just noticing that here. In this reading, I'm only four points under Al."]

[At about 3 1/2 hours into the first EVA, Al had 50 percent oxygen remaining, while Ed had only 34 percent. In post-mission comments reproduced just prior to 138:00:24, Ed speculated that the improved performance of his seals might have been due to the fact that they lubricated the seals during the preps for this EVA, but not for the first.]

133:29:49 Mitchell: Okay. LPM (Lunar Portable Magnetometer) deploy. (Long Pause)

133:30:21 Shepard: Okay. The core tube sample turned out to only be about three-quarters of a tube. The area is apparently very rocky, but I did get down into the second layer - the underlying layer of the regolith - which was white as opposed to being dark brown.

133:30:50 Haise: Roger, Al. Understand you got down to another layer that looked white below the top brown.

133:31:02 Shepard: On second thought, forget that core tube. It's too granular and most of the material came out of the tube. I'll just scoop a couple samples, and bag it, of the two top layers.

133:31:19 Haise: Roger, Al. (Long Pause)

[Al takes a stereopair of the C-Prime core tube, AS14-64- 9123 and 9124.]
133:31: Mitchell: Oop. (Pause)

133:31: Haise: Okay...

133:31:49 Mitchell: Hey, Fredo; I'm having a hard time leveling the (LPM)...Okay, there it is.

133:32:02 Haise: And, Al. About what sample-bag number are you up to now?

133:32:08 Mitchell: 7-N was the last one I put in.

133:32:11 Shepard: Okay, Fredo, we're coming up on 12 here. I don't know whether that's consecutive or not. Maybe, not. (Pause) (Garbled).

133:32:27 Mitchell: Fredo, I'm back at the MET having left the LPM. Start my time.

[Ed does not take a "locator" of this LPM deployment. Consequently, the location is not shown on the shaded relief map ( 736k ).]
RealVideo Clip (13 min 42 sec)
[Note that, until Al and Ed get back to the LM, the TV picture shows an unchanging scene - except for very minor changes in shadow length as the Sun rises 0.55 degrees per hour.]
133:32:40 Haise: Roger, Ed.

133:32:41 Mitchell: The LPM is aligned about 3 degrees to the north of the east-west line.

[Jones - "Your statement suggests that there was an east-west alignment in addition to the bubble level, which makes it pretty tough."]

[Mitchell - "Yeah, that was the azimuth. As I said, we were always using the Sun for azimuth."]

[Jones - "Did it have a little gnomon to give you a shadow."]

[Mitchell - "(Not terribly sure) Now that you mention it, I think we did. I would obviously be using shadows of some sort to get that."]

133:32:49 Haise: Okay. 3 degrees to north.

133:32:55 Mitchell: And it is level, the bubble just about in the center.

133:33:02 Haise: About what's the size of the largest block y'all have passed, Ed?

133:33:09 Mitchell: That we've gone past?

133:33:10 Haise: That's right...

133:33:11 Mitchell: Oh, 25 feet long. (Pause)

133:33:24 Shepard: Hand me the shovel, please, Ed.

133:33:25 Mitchell: Rog. (Pause)

133:33:31 Shepard: Thank you. (Long Pause)

133:33:48 Mitchell: Okay, Fred, you ready to read the LPM? (Pause) Fredo! Houston, you still with us?

133:34:04 Haise: Affirm, Ed. You go ahead with the reading...

133:34:08 Mitchell: I'm going to read the LPM.

133:34:12 Haise: Go ahead, Ed.

133:34:13 Mitchell: Okay. I'm on low scale, 4.9 on X; Y, 4.6; Z, 6.5; X, 4.9; Y, 4.6; Z, 7.0; X, 4.9; Y, 4.5; Z, 7.5. And it's still going up on Z. (Pause) Better give you one more set. X is 4.6, Y is 4.4, Z is 8.0, and it seems steady at that level.

133:35:12 Haise: Roger, Ed, copied all four sets. And all were taken on low settings, and you can discard the instrument at this point.

[Jones - "You're going to discard the instrument at this point by basically unhooking it from the MET?"]

[Mitchell - "Yeah, we just unhooked it and left it."]

[Jones - "So it's sitting up there with a Smithsonian owner's tag on it."]

[Mitchell - "Right."]

133:35:30 Mitchell: Okay. It is done.

133:35:32 Haise: And, Al. Did you say you had taken a sample of the white boulder or was that too large to sample?

[Al and Ed have a geology hammer they can use to chip samples off of boulders but, as yet, have not used it. Ed will chip some samples off Saddle Rock but, compared with the later crews, they will use it sparingly. As is demonstrated by the relative ease with which geologist Jack Schmitt could chip sizable samples - and the somewhat greater difficulty that Gene Cernan had - experience helps.]
133:35:48 Shepard: No. Right now I'm sampling a layer that is sort of a light gray just under the regolith. That went in bag number 9; and bag number 10 was a sample of some of the surface rocks that were right around that area. It looks like kind of a secondary impact that has disrupted the surface regolith and gone on down into the gray area.

133:36:16 Haise: Roger, Al.

[The NASA Public Affairs commentator reports that Al's heart rate is 108 and Ed's is 86. Al has been working harder, digging a shallow trench to expose the light-colored layer. Al took three photos of this sampling site: AS14-64- 9125 to 9127.]
133:36:18 Shepard: Okay. You want to...

133:36:21 Mitchell: Oh, we'll make a grab sample here as well as documenting. (Garbled). (Pause)

133:36:43 Haise: Okay. And, Ed, is the LPM still in your immediate area?

133:36:52 Mitchell: Yeah.

133:36:53 Haise: Okay. They wanted a temperature reading off of it.

133:37:02 Shepard: Okay, he'll get it for you in a minute.

133:37:04 Mitchell: I'll get it (Pause) (Garbled). (Pause)

133:37:23 Haise: Okay. And, Al...

133:37:25 Shepard: Do you want the gnomon?

133:37:26 Haise: ...did you mention either seeing a white boulder or a brownish gray boulder earlier?

133:37:39 Shepard: I mentioned there's a boulder definitely whitish in color, Fred. We'll be over there in a minute. Not in our immediate vicinity. But it definitely looks worthwhile sampling.

133:37:50 Haise: That's affirm...

133:37:51 Mitchell: Fred, the (garbled under Haise).

133:37:52 Haise: ...They concur here and would like a sample from the white boulder. Go ahead, Ed.

133:37:58 Mitchell: 125 (degrees Fahrenheit or 52 Celsius)) on the LPM.

133:38:01 Haise: Roger, copy.

[Ed has just looked at a patch called a tempa-label on the LPM. It has a series of spots which change from white to black 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.]
133:38:10 Mitchell: Okay. Where is it you're headed for, Al?

133:38:13 Shepard: Well...

133:38:14 Mitchell: I'll get the bag.

133:38:15 Shepard: ...the first thing that we ought to do, if we want to drag the MET with us...See that white boulder down there?

133:38:23 Mitchell: Yeah. I saw it. Let's grab a...

133:38:26 Shepard: We can sample both types of boulders right down in that area, so let's go on down there.

133:38:31 Mitchell: Right.

[The white boulder is at station C1, their closest approach to the rim. The white boulder is now known as Saddle Rock and is visible on the traverse map at CY.5/89.0. It is labelled 1107 on the USGS map. See, also, a detail ( 0.5 Mb ) from the 28 November 2009, 0.5m/pixel LRO image.]

[Mitchell - "The elevation at C1 is lower than C-Prime. C-Prime is on a ridge. Remember, Al was headed for a ridge that he thought was the rim. We got to that and it was an elevation, it was this ('east') ridge that runs off the south flank of Cone Crater. The only problem is, it was on the south, not on the west. But it was a higher point. And as you can see on this map, there is this breech in Cone (that, is the southern rim is not raised). It's not a well-defined rim, right here on the south edge. So C-Prime was sloping down and that was relatively level terrain right in there on the approach to the rim. And C-Prime was a higher point than C1. Yet we still could not see into the crater. After the fact, that was the only thing we missed (out of their pre-mission goals) - the actual view into it. Otherwise, we were right there."]

[An added problem in finding Cone is the fact that the north rim is significantly lower than the south rim, removing another potential visual clue. As can be seen in a detail from the USGS map, the north rim is roughly 40 meters below the south rim near C1.]

133:38:33 Shepard: And can you give us a feel, Houston, about when you'd like us to leave the area.

133:38:41 Haise: Okay. Estimated time of departure is in about 8 minutes, 7 and a half minutes (from now).

133:38:50 Shepard: Okay.

133:38:51 Mitchell: Okay. Want the hammer? I'll grab it.

133:38:59 Shepard: Okay. I guess we just (pause) run down there this way, huh?

133:39:08 Mitchell: Yeah.

133:39:11 Shepard: Okay.

133:39:15 Mitchell: (Garbled). One of these boulders, Fredo, is broken open. They're really brown boulders on the outside, and the inner face that's broken is white, and then another one that most of it is white. They are right in the same area.

133:39:33 Haise: Okay, Ed. I assume you're going...

133:39:34 Shepard: Okay, I believe that's probably a...

133:39:34 Haise: ...to sample some of those.

133:39:39 Mitchell: That's where we're headed right now. It's about 50 yards (45 m) away.

[The distance from C' to Saddle Rock is about 60 meters, so Ed's estimate is reasonably good.]
133:39:45 Shepard: Why don't you go on down and start, and let me bring the MET down.

133:39:48 Mitchell: All right. Yeah. It's further than it looked.

133:39:53 Shepard: That's the order of the day. (Long Pause)

133:40:24 Mitchell: Okay, Fredo. I'm right in the midst of a whole pile of very large boulders here. Let's see what I can do to grab a meaningful sample.

133:40:40 Haise: Roger, Ed.

133:40:48 Mitchell: First of all, let me start by photographing (pause) this whole area. (Long Pause) They (meaning the boulders)'re all so darn big that there's hardly anything that I can find (that's small enough to put in a sample bag) Let's see if I can chip one. (Pause)

[Mitchell - "There's no small rocks here. They are all really big boulders. Volkswagen-sized boulders."]

[Ed's reference is to the Volkswagen "Beetle" or "Bug", a small, rounded, bulbous-nosed, practical car that was developed in Germany prior to World War II and, after the war, was sold in large numbers in the United States - and elsewhere - up until the early 1970s. In 1994, Beetles were still being made in Brazil and Mexico for sale in Latin American markets. According Gert-Jan Bartelds, Mexican-made Beetles returned to European markets in 1995. A VW Bug is about 1 1/2 meters high, 1 1/2 wide, and 3 meters long. In 1998, Volkswagen introduced a new car with the same name and some resemblance to the original.]

[The frames in Ed's mini pan are AS14-68- 9448 to 9452.}

[Keith Cowing of the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project has put Saddle Rock in the context ( 2.2Mb ) of restored Lunar Orbiter frame 133-H2. See, also, a detail ( 0.5 Mb ) from the 28 November 2009, 0.5m/pixel LRO image.]

Ed's Station C1 Mini-Pan ( frames AS14-68- 9448 to 9452 )

133:41:52 Haise: Okay, Ed and Al.

133:41:53 Mitchell: Okay, Fredo, I...(Listens)

133:41:57 Haise: To get...

133:41:58 Mitchell: Go ahead.

133:41:59 Haise: To get us back on the old timeline here, when you depart C here, we'd like to proceed directly to (Station) F, Weird (Crater) (at about CR/73 on the traverse map). And we'll pick back up from that point. En route you can make grab samples as you see fit.

133:42:20 Shepard: Okay.

133:42:22 Haise: And another note I'll remind you of...

133:42:24 Mitchell: Hey, Fredo; I've chipped some...

133:42:25 Haise: ...later on. Go ahead. I'm sorry.

133:42:31 Mitchell: I've chipped off one of the white rocks. I put it in bag 13-N. I'll photograph it. There don't seem to be any samples of the white rocks lying around that are small enough for me to sample and be sure they're what I'm looking for.

133:42:52 Haise: Roger, Ed. 13-N. (Long Pause)

[Ed's "after"photo of his chip sample at Saddle Rock is AS14-68- 9453.]
133:43:12 Shepard: And Al is just going around picking up hand-size grab samples (possibly with the tongs) from the immediate vicinity of where Ed is operating. I have a couple that are going in bag 16.

133:43:30 Haise: Roger, Al. (Long Pause)

[Al takes a stereopair documenting the large rock he is about to collect. These pictures are AS14-64- 9128 and 9129.]

[Erwin D'Hoore has produced a red-blue anaglyph.

133:44:29 Mitchell: (Garbled) help with that one?

133:44:30 Shepard: That's all right, I think I got it. There's a football-size rock, Houston, coming out of this area, which will not be bagged. It appears to be the prevalent rock of the boulders of the area. Got it?

133:44:41 Mitchell: Got it.

133:44:55 Haise: Roger, Al, we copy.

[A football-sized rock would be too big to pick up with the tongs, so Al had to get down low enough to get it with his hand. There are several examples in the TV from later missions of the gymnastics required to pick a large rock up off the ground. The most entertaining and instructive example shows Apollo 16 astronaut Charlie Duke collecting the 11.6 kilogram rock known as Big Muley at the rim of Plum Crater. The rock being collected here at Saddle Rock is sample 14321, a 9.0 kilogram breccia now known as Big Bertha. It is by far the largest rock collected during Apollo 14 and rivals not only Big Muley, the largest rock returned from the Moon, but also the runner-up, a 9.6 kilogram Apollo 15 basalt known as Great Scott. In collecting Big Muley, Duke got down on one knee, using a long-handled tool in the opposite hand to help keep himself balanced. He then used his free hand to roll the rock against his knee, getting the rock far enough off the ground so that he had his finger tips on the lower curve of the rock. Then, holding the rock against his knee, he rose to his feet and worked the rock up higher on his leg until he could get back to the Rover, put his tool down, and grab the rock with both hands. Scott used a similar technique. Here, the dialog suggests that Ed helps Al get the rock and, apparently, takes it from him once he is up.]

[NASA photo S71-29184 shows Big Bertha in the Lunar Receiving Lab.]

[The name 'Big Bertha' derives from a massive World War I howitzer produced by the Krupp Armament Works in Essen, Germany and named for Gustav Krupp's wife. The gun was capable of throwing a 1000-kg shell over a distance of more than 14 kilometers. Two of these guns were used to devastating effect in the battle for Liege in August 1914.]

133:44:56 Mitchell: Have to go in one of the Z-bags.

133:45:00 Shepard: Okay. Do you have a sample of that white rock?

133:45:03 Mitchell: Yeah, I got one batch of particles.

133:45:06 Shepard: Put it (that large rock) right in here.

133:45:09 Mitchell: I don't think it'll go.

133:45:10 Shepard: Yeah. Core tube's out of the way. Put her down.

133:45:22 Shepard: Okay. We'll just carry it back that way.

133:45:24 Haise: Okay, Al and Ed. We have...

133:45:26 Mitchell: (Garbled under Haise).

133:45:26 Haise: ...about 1 more minute here at C.

133:45:33 Shepard: Okay. We're moving on down the hill now. (To Ed) Okay; can you see Weird from here?

133:45:41 Mitchell: No...

133:45:44 Shepard: Kind of hard to find.

133:45:47 Mitchell: I can't even see Triplet from here. (They laugh)

133:45:52 Shepard: Okay, let's...

133:45:53 Mitchell: Wait a minute, Al. Let me take one quick look at the map before we move. Waste a minute looking.

[See, also, the eastern portion ( 0.8 Mb ) of the pre-flight geology map.]
133:45:59 Shepard: Why don't you take the map and I'll just head down to the general area (means "direction") of the LM, and you'll probably get enough elevation view from down there (meaning the crest of 'Flank ridge') so we can see Weird.


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