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Back in the Briar Patch

Corrected Transcript and Commentary Copyright © 1996 by Eric M. Jones.
All rights reserved.
Scan credits in the Image Library.
Video credits in the Video Library.
Except where noted, audio clips by Roland Speth.
Last revised 7 December 2012.

[John and Charlie have completed all the procedures on the EVA Prep cue card and are now using their cuff checklists. John is on page CDR-4 and Charlie on LMP-4 but, as indicated in the following dialog, John hasn't yet read his and is going on memory.]

[Jones - "A lot of the time, you seem to be taking the traffic-controller role."]

[Duke - "Yeah; I did."]

[Jones - "Any comment? Personalities?"]

[Duke - "Yeah. Personalities more than anything."]

[Jones - "John plays the country boy..."]

[Duke - "Uh-huh. Just the way we were, personality wise. It just worked out that way; and John liked it and I did, too. I think I had, probably, a little more attention to the detailed procedure than John...He had so much on his mind: the overall mission planning and overall knowledge of the Command Module and those kind of major - let me call them strategic decisions and thinking - whereas I was more of a detail person. So, when we got down into this detailed stuff, that's where it came out. John had real good knowledge of the procedures and the overall thing but, down to the detail, nitty gritty, I was the guy responsible. That's the way we trained. Ken was responsible for the command ship. So that comes out in a way that looks like I'm the traffic cop; but that's because it was what we had trained for."]

MP3 Audio Clip ( 14 min 33 sec)

119:00:37 Young: Okay, give me the ETB, Charlie.

119:00:39 Duke: I'll give you that when you get out (as per LMP-4). Okay?

119:00:40 Young: Got to get my PLSS antenna, right?

[John is about to start the intricate process of getting out the hatch. The small area available to the crew at the front of the cabin is best illustrated by images taken during final Apollo 16 (LM 11, Orion) and Apollo 17 (LM 12, Challenger) LM close-out on the pad at the Cape prior to launch.]

[A view from above shows the LMP's PLSS (without the OPS) and two helmet bags (containing the LEVAs) filling the space. As detailed on pages LV-4 and 5 in the Lunar Module News Reference, the useable floor area measures about 55 inches (140 cm) from side to side and about 36 inches (91 cm) from the hatch to the base of the 18-inch (46 cm) 'midstep' behind the crew stations. Note that the PLSS dimensions are about 26 inches (66 cm) long, 19 inches (48 cm) wide, 9.5 (24 cm) inches thick at the base, and 8.75 (22 cm) inches thick at the top. The photographer was standing on the midstep, with its edge near the bottom of the frame.]

An Apollo 16 frame taken through the open hatch shows a member of the close-out team standing on tiptoes on the midstep, with the ECS on his right and stowed itens behind the Commander's station on his left. A similar Apollo 17 frame shows a member of the close-out team sitting on the Ascent Engine cover. Finally, an Apollo 16 frame shows the top of the engine cover with Velcro strips and cloth straps where the LM crew secured the helmet bags after re-installing the drogue and probe in preparation for undocking from the CSM.]

119:00:42 Duke: No, not 'til I...not now. That comes later. (Pause) Okay, check your feet out. Okay, your PLSS is partially over under the purse. Come this way a little bit. Okay. You've got your PLSS hung up. Your right corner is on the door over there. Throw your rear end to...There you go! You got it. (Long Pause)
[Compared to some of the other Commanders, John seems to have very little difficulty getting down to his hands and knees and out the hatch.]

[Young, from the 1972 Technical Debrief - "When our coolant became adequate, Charlie talked me out the door. I guess I had a little more trouble with the line-up than you did, (Charlie)."]

[Duke, from the 1972 Technical Debrief - "It is because of the hatch. The hatch is only about three-quarters open. I can't back up any more. Once you get the hatch full open, you can get centered in the hatchway. I could do it (being the only person in the cabin), but you couldn't."]

[Young, from the 1972 Technical Debrief - "I never had any concern about getting in or out. It was just a question of knowing what I was going to get caught on."]

[Jones - "Do you remember anything specific about the hassle of getting John down low enough to get out the hatch?"]

[Duke - "It was difficult. You had to get under the computer table and he had to sort of squat down and reach over sort of like this with his right hand. We were like two bulls in a china shop there at first. You'd bend over and that PLSS comes over and hits...And I had to get out of the way. And I had to look to help guide him, because it was difficult for him to see; so I had to be back against the right wall and, once the PLSS is on, you know, if you turn sideways...Well you couldn't get over far enough if you were facing front, so you had to turn sideways and bend over and just had to figure out how you could look down in there. We practiced a lot and, to be honest, it was more difficult down on Earth than it was up there because of the one g. The only thing that the one-sixth g did for us was it was difficult to bend the suit. Down on Earth with one g, you know, you had the weight helping you and the weight of the PLSS. But, up there, it was just your own strength. So, you now, we were rattling around a little bit; but it worked."]

[Charlie's remark about the difficulty of getting his head positioned so that he could see John triggered a question about his ability to move his head inside the helmet.]

[Jones - "Could you move your head much side to side inside the bubble?"]

[Duke - "Oh, yeah. You had quite a bit range in there. I can remember that I could turn my head around in the helmet. It had a pad in it and you could turn around and sort of scratch your nose on the side of the pad."]

[The helmets also had a valsalva device at the left side of the neckring. This was a raised rubber fixture which the astronaut could use to block a nostril to clear the other one. And, of course, it could be used for nose scratching. There is a piece of film in NASA's Apollo 11 movie "Eagle has Landed" in which Neil Armstrong is shown trying out the Valsalva device during pre-mission suit donning.]

119:01:23 Young: Okay, Charlie.

119:01:24 Duke: Okay. Can you stay there on the porch?

119:01:28 Young: Yeah, wait a minute. I can get the ETB now.

119:01:31 Duke: Okay, that's the jett bag.

119:01:33 Young: Okay; well, let me get it.

119:01:41 Duke: Okay. (Pause as Charlie hands the ETB out) Okay. There you go.

119:01:47 Young: Okay. Okay, Houston; I'm standing (actually, he's kneeling) out on the porch. I've got the ETB in one hand, and we're just sort of looking around here. My golly, what a view! I can see the big boulders Charlie was talking about (that are east of the LM).

119:02:06 Duke: How far back is it?

119:02:07 Young: (Garbled) (Pause)

119:02:15 Duke: Hey, Houston. How do you read us? Over.

119:02:24 England: Okay. You sound good there.

119:02:28 Duke: Okay; John's I guess about out.

119:02:31 Young: Yeah, I'm about out, Houston.

119:02:33 England: Very good.

119:02:34 Duke: Out on the porch. (Pause)

119:02:41 Young: I'll take the old ETB, and go down the steps here, Charlie.

119:02:43 Duke: Okay. (Long Pause)

[Charlie turns the 16-mm movie camera on and we see the left side of John's suit as he makes his way down the ladder. The jett bag is lying on the ground at the north edge of the LM shadow.]
119:03:02 Young: Boy! Isn't that nice? I tell you, the ETB is hanging right in there. (Annoyed) It sets it on the ground.

119:03:14 Duke: Are you on the ground?

119:03:16 Young: No, the ETB is, though.

119:03:18 Duke: It's touching the ground?!

119:03:19 Young: Yeah. (Lost under Tony)

[Prior crews used a clothesline-like device called the Lunar Equipment Conveyor (LEC) to raise and lower the ETB and other pieces of equipment. In using the LEC, the Commander stood at the bottom of the ladder, took hold of the LEC, backed away from the spacecraft to pull the LEC taut and then he and the LMP would move whatever piece of equipment was attached to the LEC up and down. By the time of Apollo 16, the astronauts had decided that the LEC was more trouble than it was worth. It sprayed dust all over the Commander and took a good deal of time and effort to operate. On Apollo 14, Ed Mitchell started carrying some gear up the ladder and, for Apollo 16, John and Charlie have abandoned the clothesline LEC entirely. In it's place, they have a simple lanyard with a hook so they can raise and lower the ETB - with its delicate load of cameras - over the side porch rail.]

[Jones - "I gather John is hooking the ETB on the new LEC and lowering down to the ground. Do you remember any pre-flight discussions about the change in the LEC? The 15 guys were still using it in the clothesline mode."]

[Duke - "We didn't do that. No, I don't remember anything out of the ordinary. In fact, I don't remember John lowering the ETB to the ground like that. But, apparently he did. I thought he just kept it in his hands and walked down the ladder with it. Towards the end of the EVAs, he could do that. I mean, he'd go up the ladder with a rock box in his hand. What we did is, we just hung things from the side and, once we got up on the top of the ladder, we just reached over and pulled it up with the rope."]

[Jones - "Obviously, you decided that the clothesline thing was more trouble than it was worth."]

[Duke - "Uh-huh."]

[Jones - "Ed Mitchell (on Apollo 14) was the first one to carry things up by hand; but they still used the clothesline LEC for some things."]

[Duke - "I don't think we did. I can't ever remember getting that thing hooked up inside."]

[Jones - "But you trained on it for 13."]

[Duke - "Yeah. Uh-huh."]

[Jones - "There is a note in the technical debrief that you had adjusted the LEC so that the ETB would be hanging free so that it wouldn't get dirty; but, somehow, it didn't arrive at the Moon at that length. Do you remember that?"]

[Duke - "Yeah, I remember that, now. And we were surprised. You could tell by my voice that I was surprised. And what was going through my mind then, maybe, was either we stroked the struts or something was adjusted wrong."]

[Young, from the 1972 Technical Debrief - "Once I got outside, I had our new LEC strap. The (length) adjustment feature on that strap is at the top of it. We marked it pre-flight how we wanted it adjusted. I don't think it was (actually) adjusted that way because, when I lowered the ETB to the ground, it landed on the ground, and we were trying to avoid this. We didn't want any dust on the ETB so we could keep the dust out of the cockpit. We had to adjust it on the later EVA. What I recommend is that they put the adjustment strap on the bottom so, if you do land on a slope or if you land (hard) and you stroke a gear and you want to re-adjust the strap, you can adjust it to you eye level on the ground, and not while you are hanging on the ladder with one hand."]

119:03:20 England: And, John, verify you got the MESA.

119:03:26 Young: Oh, yeah. I've got to get the MESA. Excuse me. (Pause)

[John reaches out to his right and pulls the release lanyard. We see the shadow of the MESA deploying.]
119:03:39 Young: There goes the MESA!

119:03:40 England: Outstanding.

[The Modular Equipment Stowage Assembly (MESA) contains tools, equipment, food packages, spare batteries, and other gear and is folded up against the side of the spacecraft to the left of the ladder as seen by someone looking at the spacecraft from the west. The MESA is hinged at the bottom and, when John pulled on a release lanyard, the MESA swung down about 120 degrees to what would be a good working height if the LM were perfectly upright on a level surface. John can adjust the MESA height once he gets down to the surface.]
119:03:41 Young: Ought to shake the vehicle when it hits the bottom, Charlie.

119:03:43 Duke: I saw it.

119:03:45 Young: Okay. (Pause) Oh ho, boy!

[Jones - "Were you watching him out the window?"]

[Duke - "Uh-huh. I was watching all that."]

[Jones - "Could you see him on the porch?"]

[Duke - "Partly. And then down the ladder. And I saw the MESA go down."]

119:03:51 Duke: (Eager to get out) Hey, John, hurry up!!

119:03:54 Young: I'm hurrying. (Pause) Okay.

[We don't see any of John's climb down the ladder but, evidently, he steps off the footpad as he says 'Okay' and immediately comes into view on the north side of the ladder.]
119:04:05 Young: There you are: Mysterious and Unknown Descartes. Highland plains. Apollo 16 is gonna change your image. (16-mm camera off) I'm sure glad they got ol' Brer Rabbit, here, back in the briar patch where he belongs.
[This is a reference to the Joel Chandler Harris story "How Mr. Rabbit was too sharp for Mr. Fox". In the story, Brer Rabbit has become entangled with the Tar Baby and is caught by Brer Fox. Brer Fox thinks he might roast Brer Rabbit, who says, "I don't care what you do with me, Brer Fox, just so you don't fling me in that briar patch." As it turns out, there is no firewood handy, so Brer Fox thinks about hanging Brer Rabbit, who says that would be much better than being thrown in the briar patch. And so on. On his fourth spaceflight, NASA has finally thrown John in the briar patch.]
119:04:25 Duke: Okay, Recorder's Off. Vox Sensitivity to Max, Utility Floods are Off. Side Panels are Off. (To John) Here I come, babe!

119:04:34 Young: Okay. Jett bag is going under the engine bell. I don't see any...Oh, look at those beautiful rocks! (Pause)

[Young, from the 1972 Technical Debrief - "When I got down on the Moon, the environment was just as good as I thought it was going to be. The second thing I did was reach down and pick up a rock, just to see if I could do it. And, sure enough, that was a piece of cake; so I really thought we were going to be in business with that suit mobility."]
119:04:43 Young: I don't see any particular...Well, we broke the probes off, going straight down. The probes are all standing straight up.

119:04:54 Duke: Okay, great.

[There were probes hanging down from three of the four footpads to trigger the Contact light. Each probe was 68 inches (1.73 meters) long. No probe was put on the forward footpad to avoid interference with the crew going up and down the ladder. During the landing, the probes bent as the spacecraft fell the last few feet to the surface; and the probe orientations were a good indication of spacecraft motions during the last seconds of the landing.]
119:04:55 Young: Oh, is this ever neat, Charlie!

119:04:57 Duke: Okay, I'm out. Almost.

119:05:02 Young: Well, don't come out until you see what we just passed over.

119:05:06 Duke: It was a big rock, I tell you.

119:05:09 Young: No, it was a big hole.

119:05:10 Duke: A big hole, huh?

119:05:11 Young: Yeah. You ain't going to believe this.

[John is talking about the twenty-five-meter crater he flew over during the final approach. See pan frames AS16-107- 17430 to 17436.]
119:05:13 Duke: Okay. Close the hatch.
[Jones - "I gather that it was easier for the LMPs to get out because you could get the hatch all the way open."]

[Duke - "No, I don't think it was any different."]

[Jones - "Or was it just that there wasn't anybody in there talking about it."]

[Duke - "Yeah. You just had to wiggle around a little bit. I don't remember this time; but, some of the time, getting back in, he had to help guide me in, by standing on the surface looking up."]

119:05:15 Young: Okay. (Reading CDR-4) "LEC on the rail. Lower the ETB. Comment on surroundings."

119:05:23 Duke: Okay, Tony, how far do you want me to close the hatch?

119:05:29 England: Okay. Just pull it snug, Charlie.

119:05:32 Duke: How far do you want...(Hearing Tony; to John) What'd he say?

119:05:36 Young: Just pull it snug.

[None of the astronauts could explain why the hatch was pulled closed. Neil Armstrong suggested that it was closed to avoid somebody asking them if they had been 'brought up in a barn', but there may also have been thermal reasons for closing it. Readers may wish to note that Charlie is the only LMP who did not joke about "not locking the hatch" with them on the outside.]
119:05:38 Young: Okay, I'm gonna open the MESA (thermal blankets) here (as per CDR-5).

119:05:40 Duke: (Having closed the hatch) It is.

119:05:41 Young: Ho, ho. Is this ever nice...

[Young, from the 1972 Technical Debrief - "I went around to the MESA and the first thing I noticed on the MESA was that the height was too low but I didn't do anything about it at the time."]

[Note that they will not deploy the TV so that they can conserve LM electrical power.]

119:05:43 Duke: (Probably hopping down the ladder) Hot dog!! Is this great!

119:05:46 England: Sounds great.

119:05:58 Duke: (Excited; Garbled) You can see the...This is easier than we...Okay, John. You can see in the shadows just great!

119:06:03 Young: Yep.

119:06:05 Duke: Oh! Look at that landing. You almost got a big rock - about a 50-centimeter rock - with the right leg...(Correcting himself) The left (south) leg.

[Note that Charlie is using the frame of reference they use in the cabin, with right being north. In the Journal, I usually use the frame of reference of a person facing the spacecraft.]
119:06:13 Young: Charlie.

119:06:14 Duke: What? That was a slight miscalculation on the ETB (meaning the length of the LEC).

119:06:22 Young: Yeah.

119:06:24 Duke: (Stepping off the LM) Fantastic! Oh, that first foot on the lunar surface is super, Tony! (Pause) Okay, Tony, we're making little footprints here about 1/2-inch deep; not kicking up really very much (dust).

[Duke, from the 1972 Technical Debrief - "My egress went right by the checklist. I came right on out. It was even better than I expected and easier to do. I felt right at home the minute I hit the ground."]
119:06:40 Duke: We're going to have to pull that MESA up, John; that's too low.

119:06:49 Young: Yeah, I know it. (Pause)

[Duke, from the 1972 Technical Debrief - "My first job was to take out the drill and the core stems and I couldn't. The way the MESA was hanging, you never would have gotten them out. It was almost like you were looking at it flat (like a picture on a wall). Normally, it sits up, but it was almost all the way down."]

[Young, from the 1972 Technical Debrief - "The MESA was supposed to be adjusted to the green line and it wasn't adjusted to that green line. It was about 18 inches lower than the green line so the MESA (front bottom edge) was lying right on the ground. Maybe this is a pre-flight problem. If it had been adjusted to the green line - which is where we adjusted it to - it would have been in perfect position."]

119:06:55 Duke: Let's do that...

119:06:57 Young: Okay; let me get these (thermal) blankets down.

119:06:59 Duke: Okay. (Pause)

119:07:06 Young: Ah, is this ever superb! I'll pick it (meaning the MESA) up.

119:07:12 Duke: Okay. (Pause)

[Jones - "What can you tell me about how you adjusted the MESA? Was there a strap or something you pulled?"]

[Duke - "Yeah. I've forgotten whether John held it up or I held it up; but we could just get under it and just pull it up like this and then there was a strap that you could pull in and that would hold it. If I remember, there was two straps - maybe there might have only been one - but, as the thing came down, these straps got tight. And we had adjusted it, hopefully, so we could sort of work at sort of desk level - you know, waist level. But, for some reason, this thing got all the way down and we had to bend over and it was just too low. So, we picked it up; and I held it up at about waist level, I remember - or John did - and then we just adjusted these straps and that held it in place. And from then on it worked great; it was the right height so that we could reach back over and we could get the stuff in the front."]

[Jones - "Both of you seem to adapt to one-sixth g really quickly."]

[Duke - "Yeah."]

[Jones - "Does anything particular that comes to mind about why the adaptation was so easy?"]

[Duke - "Well, I think the reason was that we were the fifth landing and we had all the experience of the other guys and watching them on the tapes and seeing that they didn't have any problem. And we practiced in the one-sixth-g airplane, which was real (good training). And after practicing there and watching what the other guys had done, we just knew we were going to be okay. That the training was good."]

[Jones - "Did you have the POGO - the strap contraption (in the centrifuge)?"]

[Duke - "Yeah. Uh-huh"]

[Jones - "Did that help?"]

[Duke - "Not so much. Like I say, we used that when we jogged for that four hours or whatever it was. But it had a tendency to hold you upright. The one-sixth-g airplane was the best."]

[Jones - "Even though that's only thirty seconds at a time?"]

[Duke - "Yeah. Uh-huh."]

119:07:17 Young: How high do you want it? Right about here? (Pause)
[Evidently, John has lifted the MESA and is holding it at what he thinks will be a good height. Charlie will adjust the straps.]
119:07:21 Duke: Wait a minute.

119:07:23 Young: You got to loosen this here thing.

119:07:25 Duke: I know it. (Long Pause)

RealAudio clip by Siegfried Kessler (26 min 57 sec)

119:07:40 Young: Wait a minute, Charlie, let me get it.

119:07:42 Duke: Okay. (Pause) Boy, the view of Stone Mountain, Tony, is superb. (Pause) Good Lord! Look at that hole we almost landed in! (Lost under Tony)

119:08:01 England: The MESA blanket, John, that you usually fold up and put away there, we'd like you to put it over the TV until we use the TV.

119:08:14 Young: Rog.

119:08:16 Duke: Getting that thing, John? Doesn't it come off, straight up? Looks like to me it comes up.

119:08:28 Young: Houston, how do you get this MESA blanket thing up?

119:08:31 Duke: Tony, we need to jack the MESA up and we can't get the lock off. (Pause) The MESA is touching the ground. The old low case.

119:08:49 England: You should be able to just pull up on it there.

119:08:56 Young: That's what I thought.

119:08:59 Duke: Is it taking in?

119:09:00 Young: Uh-uh.

119:09:01 Duke: Hey, you want me to pull up on the black - the black stripe, don't you? The black?

119:09:07 Young: Wait a minute, Charlie, take up on the MESA and let me pull this cord.

119:09:10 Duke: I just did that, John.

119:09:12 Young: You're not...You're not pulling back, you're pulling...Charlie, pull down that way. Tighten up the cord. Pull down.

119:09:20 Duke: Right here?

119:09:21 Young: No, right...Just pull in a straight line.

119:09:24 Duke: Okay.

119:09:25 Young: See what I'm talking about?

119:09:27 Duke: Yeah.

119:09:28 Young: Don't fall down, now. (Pause)

119:09:36 Duke: Looks like it's hung up on the side here.

119:09:39 Young: It's not working. (Pause)

119:09:43 Duke: (Garbled)

119:09:44 Young: Well, the heck with it. Let's go on.

119:09:46 Duke: Wait a minute. (Long Pause) Well, I can't get it.

119:10:03 Young: You want to move out of the way and let me see?

119:10:05 Duke: Yeah. Tony, don't you just pull straight up on the black line? (Pause)

119:10:22 England: We're checking on that, Charlie. (Pause)

119:10:34 Young: There's some block you have to release, Charlie.

119:10:37 Duke: I think so, too. (Pause)

[Duke - "It was just a bitch to get it adjusted. I don't remember the details of the strap, but we couldn't get the strap to work, for some reason. It sounds like we're a bunch of klutzes, that we hadn't practiced on it. We had practiced the different cases."]

[Jones - "But apparently not for quite some time."]

[Duke - "Yeah. Anyway, we overcame it; so I don't think it wasted too much time."]

[Duke, from the 1972 Technical Debrief - "It was hanging down on about a 60-degree angle. I looked like the 'spec high' case to me. That is where the vehicle is high and you have to drop the MESA down to reach things. It looks like you should pull the black strap to adjust it, because it has a pulley arrangement and you think that is the mechanical advantage. You pull, and pull, and pull, and it is locked down. The strap you want to pull is the green one up above. This (green) strap has no mechanical advantage except the gravity field. We finally figured that out after about 5 minutes. We wasted 5 minutes."]

[Young, from the 1972 Technical Debrief - "I recommend that they adjust it to the green line where it belongs; and that, late in the EVA training program, we (practice) adjust(ing) the MESA. We had been checked out on how to raise and lower the MESA height, but I forgot how to do it."]

[Duke, from the 1972 Technical Debrief - "We did it a long, long time ago."]

[Young, from the 1972 Technical Debrief - "It was far back (in time) from where we did it the first time."]

[Duke, from the 1972 Technical Debrief - "Maybe in training, Stoner and his people could give us various cases, instead of the flat-floor case, which we always get to keep you familiar with it - or put a decal on it that says 'pull here for adjustment'. That snowed us."]

[Young, from the 1972 Technical Debrief - "It not only snowed us, it snowed the ground, too. It took them a while to figure out how to do it; and there's 5 minutes down the tubes."]

119:10:47 Duke: John, let's see if we can do it with this. Why don't you see if you can pick it up.

119:10:54 Young: Look at that red line on there, that's where it was supposed to be at. (Pause) Okay; I'll pick up the MESA. Okay?

119:11:04 Duke: Okay, let me see if I can get this thing. Here. We need to take...Okay, I got it. Why don't you...No, I've got it. Why don't you see if you can pull that gray line up. There you go. Keep going.

119:11:20 England: Charlie, there should be a green strap that you should be able to pull up on that'll lift it.

119:11:28 Young: Okay, Charlie. Keep lifting.

119:11:30 Duke: Okay.

119:11:31 Young: Is that enough?

119:11:32 Duke: Keep going. (Garbled); that's great.

119:11:34 Young: Okay.

119:11:35 Duke: We got it. (To Houston) Okay, we got it, Tony.

119:11:38 England: Outstanding. (Pause)

119:11:47 Young: Okay, (Skimming the tasks on CDR-4 and CDR-5) "Blanket. Adjust the height. MESA blanket and TV tripod, unstow and deploy." Okay, we'll put the white blanket over there for such times as we use it. (Pause) (Next, we) off-load the LRV, Charlie Well, we've gotta get our PLSS antennas up.

119:12:08 Duke: Okay, here...

119:12:09 Young: Don't need that (TV tripod).

119:12:11 Duke: Well, I've got to get it out of the way...

119:12:13 Young: Okay.

119:12:14 Duke: ...to get this other stuff. See. (Pause)

[As per LMP-4, Charlie will deploy a "table" on the MESA to hold a Sample Return Container (SRC or rock box), remove the Apollo Lunar Surface Drill (ALSD) and some core stems, and put the ETB on the MESA. Normally, John would have deployed the tripod by this time and, in order to do his work, Charlie has to get the tripod out of the way.]
119:12:27 Duke: Okay, I'll put your antenna up.

119:12:29 Young: Okay. (Pause)

119:12:43 Duke: Partially out.

119:12:45 Young: Okay. (Lost under Tony)

119:12:46 England: And we'd like an EMU check from both of you.

[Houston sometimes used a request for an EMU check as a veiled request that the crew slow down - but not always.]

[Jones - "Was this a request from Houston for you to slow down a touch?"]

[Duke - "No. Not at this point. It was a legitimate check."]

119:12:54 Duke: Okay, I got clear flags, 94 percent; and 3.8; Min in cooling.

119:13:01 Young: I got clear flags...(Long Pause)

119:13:19 Duke: Well, Houston, here we are. Sleepy little Descartes. Boy, the old Cayley Plains are really something. Tell you, there are rocks all over the place, as we described.

119:13:33 Young: At least 92 percent.

119:13:34 Duke: Hey, John, come on.

119:13:35 Young: Eighty-five.

119:13:36 Duke: Come get my antenna.

119:13:37 Young: Okay.

119:13:38 England: Okay; you were doubling; we didn't get the CDR's EMU.

119:13:46 Duke: Ninety-five percent.

119:13:48 Young: Did you see it, Charlie?

119:13:51 Duke: Yeah, I saw it. (Pause)

119:13:59 Young: It (meaning Charlie's OPS antenna)'s up, Charlie.

119:14:00 Duke: Huh?

119:14:02 Young: It is up.

119:14:03 Duke: Okay; thanks. (Pause) I'm going to get the drill out. (Pause) Man, I never saw that big hole back there.

119:14:13 Young: Yeah, that's what I was telling you about.

119:14:15 Duke: Yeah. Tony, right behind the LM here, within 3 meters of the minus-Z footpad there's a hole - a crater - that's probably 10 meters deep. Five meters maybe, but 30 degrees angles on the side. Okay, the drill is out and it runs.

119:14:56 England: Very good.

[In the next section of the Journal, John will begin to off-load the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV). That comes at 0+30 in his checklist. The EVA started at 118:53:33. Although they lost some time because of the difficulty they had adjusting the MESA, John didn't have to deploy the TV and, consequently, they are about eight minutes ahead.]

Journal Home Page Apollo 16 Journal Index Deploying the Rover