Apollo 17 Lunar Surface Journal Banner

Down the Ladder

Corrected Transcript and Commentary Copyright © 1995 by Eric M. Jones.
All rights reserved.
Scan credits in the Image Library.
Audio clips by Dave Shaffer.
Last revised 17 January 2013.

MP3 Audio Clip ( 19 min 02 sec )

117:05:25 Cernan: Well, the next thing it says is that Gene gets out.

117:05:29 Schmitt: I don't see that.

117:05:32 Cernan: That's what it says on my (cuff) checklist. (Pause)

[They have completed all the steps on the EVA Prep cue card. Their EVA checklists are quite different, reflecting the division of tasks. Gene is on EVA-1 cuff checklist page CDR-6 and Jack is on LMP-6. Jack is joking, of course, because the first items on LMP-6 after "Cabin Depress" are "CDR Egress" and "Assist CDR".]

[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.]

117:05:38 Schmitt: Okay. Good heavens!

117:05:40 Cernan: That means you got to get out of the way so I can open the hatch.

117:05:44 Schmitt: Well, I'm going to have to turn around a little, I think, so I can help you.

[Jack will turn from facing forward to facing left so that he can reach over the open hatch (the top is waist high) and help push Gene down below the instrument panel.]
117:05:47 Cernan: Okay. (Pause) Boy, beware of that corner.

117:05:53 Schmitt: This high pressure...(Laughs)

117:05:55 Cernan: Yeah. I tell you at 4-1/2 (psi), you're really pretty heavy (means "stiff").

117:05:58 Schmitt: What was that that came shooting up here? A piece of bread? (Laughs) Would you believe that?

117:06:04 Cernan: Yeah, I'd believe it.

117:06:07 Schmitt: Why is our hatch open? Somebody opened our hatch. Are you getting cooling?

117:06:12 Cernan: I'm beginning to, I think. I still got a Water Flag. (But I'm) not hot.

117:06:18 Schmitt: Stand by. Okay. (Long Pause) How does the water pressure look, Houston?

[The cooling system is not yet up-to-speed; hence the warning flag.]
117:06:46 Parker: Challenger, they're looking just a little bit low. We're still expecting them to build up. It's going to take a little while.
[In order to get out of the spacecraft, Gene has to face left and get down on his knees. He then maneuvers himself to his left to get his feet pointing out the hatch. He will then move his legs out, gradually lowering his torso toward the floor so that he can crawl out backwards. There isn't much room - fore and aft - and it takes patient effort to get out.]
117:06:53 Cernan: Okay. I'm getting down on my knees out here. How am I looking, Jack?

117:06:57 Schmitt: You're just fine. I'm holding you away from the DEDA...(correcting himself) the DSKY.

117:07:04 Cernan: Okay. I'm going to put this visor down now, I think. (Pause) How does that look to you?

117:07:14 Schmitt: What?

117:07:15 Cernan: How are my legs? Am I getting out?

117:07:17 Schmitt: Well, I don't know. I can't see your legs.

117:07:19 Cernan: Oh, okay. (Laughs)

117:07:22 Schmitt: I think you're getting out though, because there's not as much of you in here as there used to be. Oh, hey, Gene, when I get down there, I got to fix your tool harness (on the PLSS). Hold it.

117:07:32 Cernan: Okay. Can you reach it?

117:07:33 Schmitt: It's come off the bottom again.

117:07:36 Cernan: Can you reach it?

117:07:37 Schmitt: Well, I can't do it now, because it's come off from the bottom. I'll have to...

117:07:40 Cernan: Oh, the bottom of the PLSS, huh?

117:07:41 Schmitt: Yeah.

117:07:44 Cernan: Okay. Well, my legs are out. Keep that hatch open.

117:07:48 Schmitt: Can you squat down any further, because you're hooked on...(Pause) You're making it worse. Okay.

117:08:05 Cernan: How's that?

117:08:06 Schmitt: Okay. Now, be careful because you might hook it on something down there.

117:08:10 Cernan: Oh, the tool harness?

117:08:11 Schmitt: Yeah. The back. It's loose on your back; on the back of the PLSS.

117:08:15 Cernan: Oh, man, I don't like that. Okay. I'll watch it.

117:08:17 Schmitt: Well, I'll fix it when I get out there.

117:08:21 Cernan: (To himself) Okay. I'm still reading 4.0 (psi). Houston, the Commander is on the porch of Challenger.

117:08:30 Parker: Roger. We copy you, Commander, and your feedwater pressure is looking much better...

117:08:33 Cernan: How am I...(Stops to listen to Bob)

117:08:33 Parker: ...now, and you're probably getting cooling.

117:08:39 Cernan: Okay. Everything else look good to you?

117:08:42 Parker: That's affirmative.

[In reviewing tapes for all of the missions, it seemed as though the LMPs had an easier time getting in and out of the cabin; or, at least, didn't talk about their struggles as much.]

[Schmitt - "Most of the LMPs were smaller than the Commanders; that might have something to do with it. And you could open the door a bit more without someone standing behind it. And mostly, if somebody's there to help you, he's going to help you. And, if they're not there, you're not going to have all this conversation."]

[Cernan - "I think the main reason that the Commanders had a bit more trouble is that, with a fully-suited LMP standing over behind the partially open hatch, you couldn't get it open very far and you had to sort of get down on your knees and slip sideways. Then, once the Commander was out, the LMP could move over to the Commander's side of the LM, open the hatch full bore, and use the whole cockpit for moving around and squatting down."]

[In a final review of the manuscript, Jack suggested another reason. The LMP always got out later than the Commander and, therefore, had a less rigid suit.]

117:08:46 Cernan: Okay, Jack. I'm going to get the MESA (Modular Equipment Stowage Assembly).
[As per CDR-6, Gene is reaching for the D-ring to release the MESA, a table-like structure containing tools, replacement batteries, food, etc. When Gene pulls the lanyard, the MESA will fold outward about 120 degrees from the northwest face of the LM. Later, Jack will pivot the MESA back up to a comfortable working height. By allowing the MESA to pivot beyond 90 degrees, the designers have made it possible for the crew to use the MESA even if there happens to be a small crater right where they need to stand.]
117:08:49 Schmitt: Okay. And I'll have an ETB ready for you (as per LMP-6).
[The Equipment Transfer Bag (ETB) is a soft-sided, padded bag about the size of a piece of luggage big enough to fit under an airline seat, being about 2 feet long and about one foot in each of the other dimensions. On Apollos 11 through 15, a TV camera had been mounted on the MESA so that the Commander's climb down the ladder could be watched. On Apollo 16, TV coverage of John Young's first step was eliminated because of the need to conserve LM battery power after the six-hour landing delay. For Apollo 17, the camera is stowed and there will be no TV coverage until Gene puts the camera on the Rover at 118:07:49.]
117:08:51 Cernan: (Reaching for the D-ring) Oh, man; oh, man; oh, man.

117:08:58 Schmitt: Deploy, MESA!

117:09:00 Cernan: (Chuckling) Okay. Here it comes. (Pause) There she goes, Babe.

117:09:08 Schmitt: Hey, hey!

[The MESA was located below Jacks station, to the right of the ladder from his perspective in the cabin, and he could watch the MESA deployment out his window.]
117:09:10 Cernan: There she is. All the way down; it looks like. Okay. I jettisoned...Oh, you want an ETB?

117:09:19 Schmitt: That's up to you.

117:09:21 Cernan: Yeah.

117:09:23 Schmitt: You're the commander.

117:09:24 Cernan: I got it! I got it. And, the (suit) pressure looks like it's started to stabilize at 3.8. I don't know whether I'm getting cooler or not, but I feel pretty good.

117:09:40 Parker: Okay. We copy that.

117:09:41 Schmitt: How about a jett(ison) bag, too?

117:09:43 Cernan: Okay. (Pause)

[This is a bag containing the day's accumulation of empty food bags and other trash. Later, Gene will get the jett bag out of the way by kicking it under the descent stage.]
117:10:00 Cernan: (Using the lanyard to lower the ETB to the ground) Oh, Jack, I could swing it over the - it won't be any problem - over the strut. Okay; and the jett bag is swinging free.

117:10:13 Schmitt: You mean the ETB.

117:10:14 Cernan: ETB. Oh, man. This looks like a Santa Claus bag.

117:10:18 Schmitt: It is.

[Gene is using a lanyard rather than the clothesline-like Lunar Equipment Conveyor (LEC) used on Apollos 11 through 15. Jack recalls that the LEC was "just another case of somebody looking for spiders under rocks", assuming that things were going to be harder to do than they actually were. Gene is using the lanyard to lower the ETB because it contains the cameras and, therefore, he doesn't want to risk dropping it.]

[Cernan - " I think that when I was backup for Apollo 14 we had some kind of conveyor belt that we would use shipping things up and down. Quite frankly, as I recall, it was more trouble than it was worth and I don't believe we had it on 17. People sometimes would overreact and think up solutions to problems instead of sticking to the fundamentals that often worked better. If you wanted to take something up the ladder, you just carried it up, or put it over your shoulder. The things we had to haul in and haul out were not that heavy in one-sixth gravity. But here, obviously, we used a rope of some kind, probably with a hook on it, to lower the ETB straight down from the porch."]

[The Apollo 11 and 12 crews used the clothesline LEC to raise and lower all of the equipment they transferred between the cabin and the surface. On Apollo 14, Ed Mitchell carried some gear up the ladder without using the LEC. On Apollo 15, Dave Scott used the clothesline LEC for most transfers, although he, too, carried a few things up the ladder. It was the Apollo 16 crew that did away with the clothesline LEC and, like the 17 crew, they carried everything up and down except for the ETB, which they lowered with the lanyard LEC.]

117:10:22 Cernan: Oh, boy. There it goes. The Rover looks in good shape. ETB is down there. Okay. I've got all my visors down. Jack, I wouldn't lower your gold visor until after you get on the porch, because it's plenty dark out here.
[As on all Apollo missions, the LM was landed to the west, early in the local lunar morning. The ladder is on the forward, west-pointing strut and, therefore, will be in the LM shadow throughout the mission. As Gene stands at the top of the ladder, the Rover is stowed to his right, in the southwest sector of the descent stage. The Rover is stowed in a folded configuration. There is a thermal covering over the Rover but Gene can see at least part of the vehicle.]
117:10:38 Schmitt: Okay.

117:10:39 Cernan: Okay...

117:10:40 Schmitt: (Going down the items on cuff checklist page LMP-6) Tape recorder...

117:10:42 Cernan: ...I'm on my way (down the ladder).

117:10:43 Schmitt: ...is off. Sensitivity, max and max.

[Jack is turning off on-board recorder to conserve tape during the EVA. It won't be turned on again until about 140:04:26 during EVA-2 Preps. Jack is also setting voice sensitivity controls on the comm system. On Apollo 11, Buzz Aldrin did not set his sensitivity quite to maximum and, as a result, his transmissions were broken throughout the EVA.]
117:10:55 Cernan: Okay, Houston. The Commander is about three quarters of the way down. (Pause)
[Cernan - " Getting down the ladder in the suit wasn't any particular problem. It would have been a lot easier without a suit; but, of course, we wouldn't have been going outside without them and they performed just tremendously, admirably. There had been a tremendous amount of technological development in the suit between my EVA on Gemini IX and Apollo 17. I mean, walking on the surface with the mobility of a Gemini EVA suit would have been damn near impossible. It was just an order of magnitude difference in technological development. Many people don't realize the importance and significance of the suit. It was everything. It was radio communications; it was cooling; it was breathing; it was pressurization; it was protection from the sun; it was protection from abrasiveness. It had to provide mobility, dexterity, safety, and reliability. It was a sophisticated spacecraft in its own right, one that has been, I think, overlooked in terms of its importance to the mission."]
117:11:09 Cernan: I'm on the footpad. And, Houston, as I step off at the surface at Taurus-Littrow, we'd like to dedicate the first step of Apollo 17 to all those who made it possible. (Pause)

[As per CDR-6, Gene will take a moment to get familiar with moving around in one-sixth g. In doing so, he will kick the jettison pag under the Descent Stage and will comment on their surroundings.]
117:11:30 Cernan: Jack, I'm out here. Oh, my golly! Unbelievable! Unbelievable; but is it bright in the Sun. (Pause) Okay! We landed in a very shallow depression. That's why we've got a slight pitch-up angle. (It's a) very shallow, dinner-plate-like, dish crater just about the width of the struts (meaning the total span of the landing gear). How you doing, Jack?

117:12:12 Schmitt: Fine. Getting the circuit breakers verified (as per LMP-6).

117:12:19 Cernan: The LM looks beautiful. (Pause) Oh, do we have boulder tracks coming down (the side of North Massif). Let me see exactly where we are. I think I may be just in front of Punk.

117:12:43 Parker: Okay. We copy that, Gene; and are the boulder tracks...

117:12:46 Cernan: I'm beginning to...

117:12:46 Parker: ...to both the north and south?

117:12:53 Cernan: (Responding to Bob's question) Okay. On the North Massif we've got very obvious boulder tracks. A couple of large boulders come within 20 or 30 feet of the (break in slope)...Looks like where we can get to them; there's a couple I know we can get to. Well, the Sun angle is such that, what I saw on the South Massif earlier, I can't see very well. But, I know there were boulder tracks over there. Bear Mountain...Boy, it's hard to look to the east (toward the Sculptured Hills). Bear Mountain and the Sculptured Hills have a very, very similar texture on the surface. The Sculptured Hills' (texture) is like the wrinkled skin of an old, old, 100-year-old man. (That) is probably the best way I could put it. Very, very hummocky, but smoothly pockmarked. I do not see any boulders up on the Sculptured Hills from here. But it's awful hard to look to the east and to the southeast.

117:13:04 Parker: Okay. We copy that, Gene. Have you got an LMP with you yet?

117:14:09 Cernan: Well, here come his feet. Jack, let me make sure...We didn't have an awful lot of dust on landing; but I can dig my foot in 8 or 10 inches, and I know we're at least that thick.

[That is, the regolith is at least 8 to 10 inches deep.]
117:14:20 Cernan: There's a small little 1-meter crater right in front of us with a whole mess of glass right in the middle. That's right in front of the MESA, as a matter of fact. Right where I want to park the Rover. Jack, you're looking good.

117:14:38 Parker: Beautiful, guys; beautiful.

117:14:42 Cernan: (Gene is walking around the LM to get his bearings) I'm going to take a quick look back. I think this is Poppie, and I can give you a real better idea where we are.

[There is a 20-meter-diameter, sharp-rimmed crater about 30 meters east of the LM. Gene may be thinking this is Poppie and is probably walking over to it at this point. At 117:45:45, Jack will take a color pan from behind the LM and a little north. Frame AS17-147-22511 shows the crater east of the LM and a set of footprints going out to it. Close examination of the foreground prints show that they are deepest on the west and that there is a fan of dust spray to the east of each print, both indicating that Gene was going east. Out near the crater, there are also indications that Gene left the Crater in a southwesterly direction to go over to Poppie. This set of tracks continues in frames 22512, 22513, and 22514.]
117:14:48 Schmitt: (As per LMP-6) Hatch is closed, barely.

117:14:51 Cernan: Hey, Jack, don't lock it.

117:14:53 Schmitt: I'm not going to lock it.

117:14:54 Cernan: We've got to go back there. You lose the key, and we're in trouble.

[By now, this was an old Apollo joke, having been used in some form by the 11, 12, 15, and 16 crews.]
117:15:01 Schmitt: Oh, I'm on the porch!

117:15:05 Cernan: Who said this place was smooth? Oh, boy! There's a lot of local depressions here I didn't figure existed.

117:15:17 Schmitt: Hey, who's been tracking up my lunar surface?

117:15:21 Cernan: Hey, Bob, I'm east of the LM now. I'm east of the LM, and the back strut of the LM is...Well, the LM straddles this crater I talked about, and that's where we get the pitch angle; the back strut is probably right down in the eastern one-third of that crater. Just a very subtle crater.

117:15:47 Schmitt: Hey, man; you had some forward velocity.

117:15:50 Cernan: That's what I wanted to have. (Pause)

[The footpad imprints indicate a little forward motion at touchdown.]
117:15:58 Cernan: Boy, I look at some of these rocks that are filleted here, Jack, and there sure are a lot of sparklies in them. Awful lot of sparklies.
[Cernan -"Fillets were not a surprise. We expected to see fillets on some sides of a boulder and not on others and saw fillets almost everywhere we went. On some of them, you could almost draw lines in the direction that the stuff had come from. We had a good background from training and knew where to look and how to interpret what we saw."]
117:16:08 Schmitt: You landed in a crater!

117:16:11 Cernan: That's a pretty good shot.

[Schmitt - "At some point, and maybe it's here, I stepped down off the ladder onto the sloping side of a boulder which had little balls of glass and debris that made it very slick. And I slipped and my left leg went out from under me. Fortunately, I was still hanging onto the ladder."]
117:16:15 Cernan: Okay. I'm going to get to work in a minute, just as soon as I take a look at Trident (actually Poppie).

117:16:18 Schmitt: Why don't you come over here and let me deploy your (PLSS/OPS) antenna (as per CDR-6 and LMP-6).

117:16:22 Cernan: Okay. Just walk around for one second.

[Gene is suggesting that Jack take a moment for familiarization, as per LMP-7.]

[Cernan - "You adapt very, very quickly. You very quickly realize, probably in the first couple of minutes, that you don't need to take baby steps or regular steps to get anywhere. Somehow your brain and your body coordinate your movements and, if you're going to go any distance - 10 or 12 or 15 feet or further away - you start skipping or hop-skipping to get where you're going. And it's not like you start running. It's just that you move with such ease. Later on, when you start moving at faster paces than we were doing here, if you decide to turn or change directions you have to think about your high center-of-mass and plan how you're going to handle that - or you're going to go tail-over-teakettle. But you adapt very readily, very quickly, physiologically and psychologically. You're conscious, as soon as you're on the surface, that you're in this one-sixth g environment and that you can move around so much more easily. I don't think we ever really said anything about it, but in five or ten minutes you knew in a general way what you could do and what you couldn't do in terms of using one-sixth gravity to your advantage. Within the first few minutes, after we got the Rover down, we just picked it up - one of us on each end - and turned it around. The human being is a very unique, very adaptable creature."]

[Readers should note that Gene's trip to the small crater east of the LM and then to Poppie is roughly twice the length of the 60 meter trip Neil Armstrong made to an unnamed crater east of the Apollo 11 LM. Neil's excursion was made near the end of his 2 1/2 hour EVA while, in contrast, Gene has only been on the surface for 5 minutes. This comparison illustrates the confidence that Gene and Jack had in their ability to adapt quickly, confidence that was based on the experiences of the prior crews. Gene's nonchalance about strolling off to look at craters is a foretaste of just how active he and Jack will be during their EVAs. Only the Apollo 16 crew was their equal in this regard.]

117:16:25 Schmitt: (Laughs) Hey, man, put your visor down.

117:16:30 Cernan: And, I'll be over there, and you can fix my tool harness. I don't like that thing loose.

117:16:35 Schmitt: I don't like it loose, either. What are you doing over there (by Poppie)? We're supposed to be working.

117:16:39 Cernan: I was just going to give them a fix (meaning another estimate of where they landed). All these little craters, Jack, have got glass in the bottom of them. Here's another one.

[Gene remembers that they trained to recognize glass, an indication of very fresh impacts.]
117:16:46 Schmitt: (To Houston) There's very clear sweeping of the surface by the descent plume out, oh, about 10 meters. No, 15 meters. (Pause) (To Gene) Come over here, and I'll fix your antenna.

117:17:10 Cernan: Okay. Hey, Bob, how big is Poppie supposed to be?

117:17:14 Parker: Stand by. (Pause)

[Gene has probably started back to the LM. Frames AS17-147- 22513 and 22514 show two sets of footprints. Both were made by Gene - one on the way out, one on the way back.]
117:17:17 Parker: It looks on the map...

117:17:19 Cernan: I didn't hear you. You cut out.

117:17:21 Parker: Okay. It looks on the map like it's about 75 meters in diameter. Fairly subtle.

117:17:28 Cernan: Okay. Okay, I tell you where I think I landed...Oh, about 100 meters from Poppie at 10 o'clock.

[Gene may be referring to an unnamed, 200-meter-diameter crater NNE of the LM. The near rim is about 150 meters from the LM. An alternative interpretation is that Gene is referring to the crater he just walked to, which is Poppie. This interpretation would seem to require that Gene has mis-spoken. They are about 100 meters NNW of the center of Poppie or, roughly, at 2 o'clock. I am inclined to believe that Gene has mis-spoken and has, for the moment, correctly identified Poppie. However, at no time during his three days on the Moon, will he be absolutely confident that the crater just to the south of the LM is Poppie.]
117:17:38 Schmitt: You think that's Poppie, huh?

117:17:40 Cernan: I think so. I think...

117:17:41 Schmitt: That's an awful big hole.

117:17:42 Cernan: (Letting himself be talked out of it) Well, I know. I got to look around a little more. It sure is not Trident. Bend over and I'll...

117:17:48 Schmitt: It might be part of Trident.

117:17:49 Cernan: ...get your antenna. Get your antenna. Oh, a little more. (Pause) God, it's beautiful out here.

117:17:57 Schmitt: Well, hang on.

117:17:59 Cernan: Yep. (Pause)

[Jack probably has his knees bent but would not be kneeling.]
117:18:05 Schmitt: (To Bob) Okay. The immediate surf(ace)...

117:18:06 Cernan: Not yet. Yeah, you talk to them. I don't want you to stand up yet.

117:18:11 Schmitt: The surface is moderately cohesive, which holds a pretty good bootprint. Very fine-grained. Gene's (garbled) looks very much like previous soils (that is, soils at other Apollo landing sites). (To Gene) You got it?

117:18:24 Cernan: Yeah.

117:18:26 Schmitt: You got a hole behind you now.

117:18:28 Cernan: Well, I'll stand in it, and you can get at it better.

[Jack is now releasing Gene's antenna, held down by a loop of Velcro on the top of the OPS to keep it out of the way as they go through the hatch.]
117:18:31 Schmitt: Well, you got me right in (that is, facing) the Sun. Can you come around this way? Ho-ho. (Laughs) I'm going to have to get upstream of you.

117:18:43 Cernan: Look, you get up on the hill, and I'll get in the hole.

117:18:45 Schmitt: Yeah. There you go. Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.

117:18:48 Cernan: Don't move too fast. Boy, your feet look like you just...

117:18:51 Schmitt: (Finishing the thought) Walked on the Moon, huh? Well, I tell you Gene, I think the next generation ought to accept this as a challenge. (Pause) Let's see them leave footsteps like these someday. Got another...Well, that'll be all right.

117:19:12 Cernan: Okay. What did you do with my tool harness?

117:19:15 Schmitt: I'm going to work on it; that's what I'm going to do. (Pause) Whoa; hold still.

117:19:21 Cernan: Okay. (Pause) Boy, I tell you, looking to the east, you might just as well forget it. (Pause)

117:19:33 Schmitt: Well, let's see. How's this thing...I'm going to have to loosen it.

117:19:37 Cernan: Well, if you could just stretch it around.

117:19:38 Schmitt: I can't.

117:19:39 Cernan: You can't, huh?

117:19:40 Schmitt: But I will be in a minute.

117:19:42 Cernan: Don't loosen it to the point where you can't get it back on.

117:19:45 Schmitt: Won't. (Pause) Okay. You're almost reconfigured.

117:19:53 Cernan: Okay. (Pause)

117:19:59 Schmitt: Okay. (Pause) Somebody tied you on wrong, too. They've got the strap reversed for the Velcro. Okay, Gene. I think that'll hold.

117:20:15 Cernan: Okay, and I'm going to...

117:20:17 Schmitt: If it doesn't, I'll fix you again.

117:20:20 Cernan: Man, there's sparklies in the soil, Jack. You can just look at it. See them all over? Very fine-grained. It's sparkly, that's all. Bob, I'm going to Min cooling...(correcting himself) or, intermediate cooling.

117:20:33 Parker: Okay. Copy that.

117:20:35 Schmitt: Boy, that sure...

117:20:36 Cernan: See the soil sparkle?

117:20:40 Schmitt: Yeah, I think that's little (pieces of) glass.

117:20:43 Cernan: Let's go back here and get to work, and I'll show you that crater that's got nothing but glass in the bottom.

117:20:47 Schmitt: That's a vesicular rock of some kind there, Geno. It almost looks like a Mono Craters (California) pumice, but don't quote me.

[Jack hasn't had a good enough a look to make any confident statements about the rock and doesn't want anyone - the press in particular - to jump to any conclusions.]
117:21:01 Cernan: Bob, I have to reiterate. Even the small, even the very small - the 1- and 2-inch, 3-inch - fragments that are laying around here - have been dusted and filleted...

117:21:12 Schmitt: Do-tu-doo!

117:21:13 Cernan: ...with the dark mantle.

117:21:16 Schmitt: And that sweeping by the descent stage goes all the way out there, Houston, to where we were; which was about 50 meters, I guess. Hey, man...(Jack stumbles) Whuh, whuh, whuh, whuh. Hey, these rocks, they almost have a very light pinkish hue to them, and they're not obviously breccia. Now, that's like a breccia there. But this is something else again.

117:21:50 Cernan: Yeah. I don't think there is any place you could land around here where you wouldn't have one foot(pad) in a crater.

117:21:54 Schmitt: Looks like a vesicular, very-light-colored porphyry of some kind; it's about 10 or 15 percent vesicles. I'm right in front (that is, west) of the LM. Quite a few of the rocks look of that type. Sort of a pinkish hue to them. The texture is coarse, but I'm not sure how crystalline they are, yet.

[A porphyry is a rock composed of two different sizes of crystals, usually large crystals imbedded in a matrix of small crystals. Vesicles are spherical imprints of gas bubbles trapped in a solidifying rock. The vesicle may be glass-lined if the rock cooled quickly, or lined with crystals if the cooling was gradual.]
117:22:24 Cernan: Okay; back to work. Jack, when you put up the ETB (on the MESA), check down there below it.
[Apparently, the scissors fell out of the ETB as Gene was lowering it. He may have seen them fall, or he may have noticed them on the ground when he got to the bottom of the ladder.]
117:22:31 Schmitt: Oh-ho-ho. (Laughs)

117:22:33 Cernan: Okay, let me take a look at the Rover.

[As per CDR-7, Gene will examine the Rover before pulling off the protective thermal blanket that covered it on the way out from Earth and, finally, preparing for the actual deployment. In the meantime, Jack will adjust the MESA height and then take care of the other MESA items on LMP-7.]
117:22:35 Schmitt: Let's don't forget those (scissors).

117:22:37 Cernan: Yep.

117:22:39 Schmitt: That's my fault; I guess (for not packing the ETB carefully enough).

117:22:41 Cernan: Well...

117:22:42 Schmitt: Okay.

117:22:44 Cernan: Oh man, I tell you, we came down at just a little forward velocity. Look at that, right there. About a (one)-foot slip on the pad. I tell you, there's craters all over here. Okay, baby. I'd sure like to think that that (Rover) wheel is where it's supposed to be. It looks good to me. (Pause) Our next little vehicle to work. (Long Pause while Gene examines the Rover, using cuff checklist page CDR-7 as a guide) Okay. Bob, so far, the Rover looks pretty good.

117:23:39 Parker: Roger; sounds good, Geno.

117:23:44 Cernan: (To Parker) Hey, let me ask you. When I was behind the LM, I could look right into an area and see the bell of the ascent stage. I never realized that before, but I guess that's normal, huh?

117:23:55 Schmitt: Yeah; We saw it on the (launch) pad (at the Cape). Remember.

117:23:58 Cernan: Barely.

117:24:00 Schmitt: Remember when we went out there?

117:24:05 Cernan: The only reason I asked, Bob, I'm sure it's normal, and it doesn't look anything's missing, it's just right into the Sun.

117:24:13 Parker: Yeah, the consensus of opinion down here is that you can, also.

117:24:20 Cernan: Well, that's probably the best place in the world to get a consensus of opinion from. Okay, Jack, it's about work time. I've got this Rover about ready for your pull up there.

117:24:33 Schmitt: I got a little delayed here.

[After adjusting the MESA, Jack is opening the thermal blankets that cover the stowed equipment and supplies. Next, he will climb up the ladder and, as per LMP-7, release the Rover.]
117:24:35 Cernan: Okay. (Pause) I'm sure glad those guys made us train so hard.
[As was the case with Apollo 16, TV coverage of the EVA won't begin until Gene mounts the TV camera on the front of the Rover.]

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