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EVA-3 Close-out

Corrected Transcript and Commentary Copyright © 1995 by Eric M. Jones.
All rights reserved.
Scan credits in the Image Library.
Video credits in the Video Library.
Audio clips by Dave Shaffer.
Last revised 17 June 2014.

MP3 Audio Clip starting at 169:17:30 ( 15 min 57 sec )

169:17:54 Cernan: Okay, Bob. I'm back at the LM.

169:17:58 Parker: Roger. We have you back at the LM.

169:18:00 Cernan: 151, 12.0, and 001.

[The readings are the bearing to the SEP transmitter, the distance driven, and the range from the SEP. Usually, Gene inserts a decimal point into the range readout but, here, gives the raw, three-digit reading rather than saying "0.1" kilometers. The actual bearing is about 080 and the range is about 150 meters. Because the distance from the LM to the SEP is short, the bearing error is meaningless. The range reading of 0.1 means that the navigation system thinks the range is between 0.05 and 0.15 km, an indication of a relatively small error.]
169:18:11 Cernan: Well, wait a minute.
[Gene may be having trouble with his seat belt.]
169:18:13 Schmitt: Can you get it? I got to get your bag...

169:18:15 Cernan: I got it; I got it.

169:18:17 Schmitt: Let me get your bag off. (Pause)

169:18:27 Cernan: I'm reading 80 on the amps, 78 on the amps...Correction, that's amp-hours. Voltages, 62 and 65. Battery 1 (temperature) is 132, forget 0. Motor temps are 200 and 210 on the rear, 200 and 250 on the forward.

[The battery 2 temperature gauge has malfunctioned, hence Gene's "forget 0".]

[Gene and Jack have driven a total of 36.0 kilometers and have used 57.2 amp-hours -plus another 14.8 amp-hours for LCRU operations - out of the 242 amp-hours available. Their average use rate of 1.58 amp-hours/km is similar to the 1.67 am-hours/km used on Apollo 15. The use rate on Apollo 16 was nearly twice as much due to an unexplained malfunction.]

169:18:56 Parker: Okay. We copy that. (Pause) Okay. And let me brief you here on the close-out tonight, 17. A number of things we're going to do here that are slightly different. We've got some stuff for you over at the ALSEP, Jack, and I'll get with you when you go over there. Nothing we have to worry about in the meanwhile. When we unload the Rover, we're going to take the SESC (Special Environmental Sample Container, sometimes called the "short can") out, and we're going to use that to collect the contaminated sample out behind the footpad there as per plan, and when we take the traverse gravimeter off, we're going to want to get both a grav and a bias reading, because the pallet was (unlatched and figuratively) swinging in the breeze there. Otherwise, let's press on with the close-out, and we'll get with you as times change. (Long Pause)
[Schmitt - "I believe they were looking for Descent Engine effluents and, to my knowledge, they were never able to detect any."]

[TV on.]

[Jack is stowing drive tubes at his seat. He is on LMP-29 and Gene is on CDR-30.]

Video Clip ( 2 min 24 sec 0.7 Mb RealVideo or 24 Mb MPEG )

169:20:22 Schmitt: Okay, Bob. The core tubes are going in SCB-7...I mean...Yeah, 7.

169:20:30 Parker: Okay. I copy that. (Pause)

169:20:36 Cernan: You should have TV, Bob.

169:20:38 Parker: Rog. We have TV. Thank you. (Pause)

RealVideo Clip by Mick Hyde ( 1 min 46 sec)

169:20:48 Cernan: Did you get my bag already?

169:20:49 Schmitt: Yeah. (Long Pause)

[Jack takes SCB-7 to the ladder footpad and then returns to the Rover. He is now on LMP-30. Note that the SCB on Jack's PLSS is not attached at the bottom. Fendell has been panning left. Note that there is nothing on the ladder hook. Fendell stops pannding with the MESA in view. The ETB is hanging from the front of the MESA on the left.]
169:21:13 Cernan: Jack?

169:21:14 Schmitt: Yeah.

169:21:15 Cernan: We'll have one more to put in here. I'm just going to lay this over here.

169:21:18 Schmitt: Yeah.

169:21:19 Cernan: The big one (probably the Big Bag). Man, there's some big ones (individual rock samples) in there, too.

169:21:24 Schmitt: We can get some of that subfloor.

169:21:26 Cernan: Yeah, there's one in my footpan, too. You see it there?

169:21:30 Schmitt: Yeah; we'll have to...

169:21:34 Cernan: (Near the ladder) Why don't you leave that there for a minute?

[Fendell has panned right and finds Gene near the ladder, reading his checklist. The bag bag is one the ladder hook, swinging. Evidently, Gene has just hung it there. EVA-3 photo AS17-143-21924, taken at 169:12:28 after Jack dismounted to deploy EP-2, shows the big bag mounted in the forward surface of the geopallet.]
169:21:37 Cernan: Okay. What did you say about the TGE, Bob?

169:21:40 Parker: Okay. We'd like to take TGE, of course, as we planned. Take it off, and we'll try and get both a grav and a bias reading. You might initiate one of them now. We'll initiate another one later on. We've got plenty of time while it's sitting on the ground there to do our thing with it.

[Jack takes another SCB to the footpad; Gene reaches to switch to his auxiliary supply of feedwater. In order to reach back, Gene brings his arm up to about chest height and slightly adjusts the lateral orientation before he swings it back. On this first attempt, he can't quite reach the switch, brings his hand forward about a foot, and then swings it back again, this time successfully getting hold of the switch.]

[Cernan - "That's not atypical. That's what you had to do to work against the stiffness in the bearings."]

169:21:57 Cernan: Stay where you are, Jack, (garbled)...
[Gene still has to get Jack's SCB off.]
169:22:00 Parker: I see where you've got a feedwater tone coming up pretty soon, Gene.

169:22:03 Cernan: (Removing Jack's PLSS SCB) Bob, I already got it and I'm in Auto (means "Aux"). Just about 30 seconds ago.

169:22:06 Parker: Okay.

169:22:11 Cernan: (Looking into Jack's SCB) Okay. How are we fixed for samples? Here's (SCB) 5, and it's about 1/2 to 3/4 full.

169:22:18 Schmitt: Well, let's dump...

169:22:20 Cernan: We've got to carry the SESC up.

169:22:22 Schmitt: ...let's dump these...

169:22:24 Cernan: We got (SCB-)3.

169:22:25 Schmitt: ...(from SCB-)3 in there, the Rover samples.

[SCB-3 was on the accessory staff next to the control panel. Gene and Jack go to the Rover.]
Video Clip ( 2 min 47 sec 0.8 Mb RealVideo or 28 Mb MPEG )

169:22:28 Cernan: Okay. (Long Pause)

169:22:40 Schmitt: Okay.

169:22:42 Cernan: We probably ought to put the SESC in there, huh? If there's room for it.

169:22:47 Parker: Yeah let's put the SESC someplace...

169:22:49 Schmitt: Where do you want the SESC, Bob?

169:22:50 Parker: Let's put the SESC someplace where it's accessible to get that contamination sample. We probably want to get it before you go off to the ALSEP, but there's no real hurry on that. We'll see what works in best. I'm not sure where the most convenient place for you...

169:23:04 Cernan: Yeah. Why don't we get it now, and then we can have this bag...

169:23:04 Parker: ...to put it right offhand is. That probably is the...

169:23:09 Cernan: Let's get it now. We can get the bag cleaned up. We can put it in bag 5.

169:23:11 Parker: Roger. There's probably not very many convenient places to put it. That sounds like a good idea to me.

169:23:15 Schmitt: Okay. Let me get my scoop (off of the gate).

169:23:18 Cernan: Get your scoop. Let's get it over with.

[Fendell is looking at the pile of equipment at the ladder.]
169:23:22 Schmitt: Say again, Bob. You want that...(To Gene, having reached the gate) I don't have a scoop, I don't even have a rake.

169:23:28 Cernan: They're both gone, huh?

169:23:29 Schmitt: Yup.

[Jack's EP-2 "locator" - AS17-143- 21924 - shows that the rake and scoop were gone at that time. A comparison with AS17-135- 20542 suggests that the extension handles came out of the mounting brackets. Those are shown most clearly in AS17-146- 22296 which was taken at the end of Station 6. At 169:38:29, they will confirm that the extension handles were lost, that it was a failure of the mounting brackets that caused the losses.]

[Schmitt - "A bunch of Okies going across the countryside, dropping stuff right and left."]

[This is a reference to comic images of refugees from the Oklahoma Dust Bowl, a severe drought of the 1920's, driving to California with all of their earthly possessions piled high on a decrepit truck.]

[Cernan - "It was a good time to lose them, I guess."]

[Schmitt - (Chuckling) "One thing to think about, Geno, is: if I had been successful in getting us a fourth EVA and we had gotten to this point with no rake and no scoop, what would the mission planners have done in replanning the fourth EVA?"]

[In response to a June 2002 question from NASA Johnson veteran Michael Duke about pre-flight thinking about activities to be conducted during a fourth EVA, Jack writes, "No matter what had been planned for a 4th EVA, I suspect that it would have been hard to resist going back to Station 4 at Shorty Crater for some more investigation of the geology of the orange and black pyroclastic glasses. As you know, they are exposed in several spots and a layer in the case of the black."]

["A more extensive sampling of Mg-suite clasts and breccia layers at the base of the South Massif and closer investigation of basalt stratigraphy around Camelot probably would have been productive as a second priority to Shorty. We never did get much insight into the Sculptured Hills, but I am not sure how we would have been able to. There were no obvious exposures or boulders."]

169:23:32 Cernan: Use your Rover sampler.

169:23:34 Schmitt: Yeah.

169:23:36 Cernan: They both fell off when that thing (the gate) opened.

169:23:37 Schmitt: Yep.

169:23:38 Cernan: Here's a full core tube we can't forget.

169:23:41 Schmitt: Yeah. Oh, that goes in the...

169:23:43 Cernan: Is there room for it?

169:23:44 Schmitt: Yeah, why don't you get that scoop (means the LRV sampler) off (the Rover), and I'll put it (the core) over here in (SCB) 4. I mean in 7.

[Jack goes to SCB at the footpad.]
169:23:51 Cernan: That was a good time to lose it. I'm glad we didn't lose it (laughing) any earlier. If we were going to lose it, that couldn't have been more ideal.

169:23:57 Schmitt: Well, it's appropriate, I guess. (Pause)

169:24:06 Cernan: We've got two empty core tubes. (I) feel like we took a lot of them, though.

169:24:09 Schmitt: We'll get it. We'll use them, maybe.

169:24:12 Cernan: Back here. (Pause)

169:24:15 Parker: Okay. We confirm that (there are two empty drive tubes and) three full core tubes...

169:24:16 Cernan: Okay. Let's get this in. If we get it in, maybe (garbled)...

169:24:18 Parker: ...(garbled) worry about bringing back, there.

169:24:23 Schmitt: Here's your thing (the SESC).

[Both of them go to the Rover.]
169:24:28 Cernan: We're going to get this SESC now, and get it out of the way, Bob.

169:24:31 Parker: Roger. We agree with that.

169:24:36 Cernan: Okay.

[They go around the ladder and then south of the LM, Jack carrying the LRV sampler and Gene the SESC can. They are both moving easily and rapidly. Jack is using a running walk; Gene is kangaroo-hopping.]
169:24:38 Schmitt: minus-Z, huh? You want it in front of the minus-Z footpad?
["minus-Z" is the rear (east) footpad, and the sample is to be obtained from under the LM, just forward (west) of that pad.]
169:24:45 Parker: Roger. Sort of underneath where you probably had the...

169:24:49 Schmitt: Looks like a good place.

169:24:49 Parker: ...solar side of the cosmic ray experiment, there. Between the footpad and the ALSEP doors there. (Long Pause)

[The ALSEP stowage compartment is in the southeast facing sector of the Descent Stage. Gene is holding the SESC while Jack gets some soil with the LRV Sampler. Jack has already taken a pair of stereo, down-Sun," before" photos of the sample site. These are AS17-143- 21927 and 21928.]
Video Clip ( 3 min 23 sec YouTube or 0.9 Mb RealVideo or 136 Mb MPEG - VLC may be requried for Playback )

169:25:26 Schmitt: (Is the SESC) full?

169:25:28 Cernan: Oh, I've got about an inch to go.

169:25:29 Schmitt: Okay.

169:25:31 Cernan: Let's fill it up. (Pause) That's good.

169:25:46 Parker: Okay. And both your feedwaters are up (to speed), 17. So things look good.

169:25:53 Schmitt: (To Bob) Thank you.

169:25:56 Cernan: Okay, Bob. (To Jack) (Garbled) that white thing off for me? (Pause)

[Gene is asking Jack to remove the Teflon seal-protector from the SESC.]
169:26:03 Schmitt: Yeah. Here, let me get...(Pause) There, you got her. (Long Pause) Okay. (I'll) take a couple (of pictures) over here.
[Gene's feet have been visible under the LM. He now turns to face the spacecraft. Jack is taking a cross-Sun "after" stereopair. These are AS17-143- 21929 and 21930.]
169:26:36 Cernan: Let me just go pat the radar. (To the descent radar) Good job. (Pause) (Garbled) radar's (ever been) built better.
[Cernan - "I was patting the radar for doing a good job; I was saying 'Thank you' It was just a personal touch."]

[Schmitt - "There's something in the back of my mind that there was an ad on commercial radio or television at the time that said 'Blank built better'. Ford or Chevy, maybe. And Gene was just putting 'radar' in the phrase."]

169:26:47 Schmitt: Bob, I'm on frame 96, and the short can sample - contaminated sample - is documented by two stereopairs prior to that (frame). And the "before" is the cosmic ray pictures.
[Here, Jack is referring to the pictures he took after hanging the cosmic ray experiment from the rear strut during EVA-1. Gene stops a few feet from the Rover, closing the SESC.]
169:27:09 Parker: Copy that (Pause)
[Jack returns to his Rover seat, having come around the north side of the LM.]
169:27:16 Parker: Okay. And which SCB is that going in, Jack?

169:27:22 Schmitt: Number 5.

169:27:24 Parker: Okay. Copy that.

169:27:26 Cernan: Okay. The SCB (means "SESC") is in 5. That what you asked?

169:27:30 Parker: Yeah.

169:27:31 Schmitt: Short can in 5.

169:27:34 Cernan: The (garbled) short (laughs)...SCB. (Pause) Okay.

169:27:40 Parker: Okay. And while you're doing that...

169:27:41 Cernan: Yeah. (Garbled) your...let me get this...

169:27:43 Parker: ...remember, I want inventories of the stuff as it comes off the Rover and where you put it over there by the footpad, so we can help you keep track of it.

169:27:50 Schmitt: (Going to the ladder with SCB-5) Okay. We've got the big bag...ah...bag 7, bag 5, bag 4 at the footpad.

169:28:09 Parker: Copy that. We've also got SCB-3 with the Rover samples in it on the Rover, if you have any...yeah, you have some of those today.

169:28:15 Schmitt: No, we emptied those into 5.

169:28:19 Parker: Okay. Copy that.

[Jack returns to the Rover.]
Video Clip ( 3 min 38 sec YouTube or 1.0 Mb RealVideo or 145 Mb MPEG - VLC may be requried for Playback )

169:28:21 Cernan: Okay, Bob. The gravimeter's on the surface. And you want a gravity reading and a bias reading, is that correct?

169:28:27 Parker: Roger. We'll get the grav first. (Pause)

169:28:34 Schmitt: Okay, Bob...

169:28:37 Cernan: Mark it.

169:28:38 Schmitt: Let's see, where am I?

169:28:39 Parker: Copy that (mark). (Pause)

169:28:45 Cernan: (To Jack) What did you do with the...(To himself) Okay. (Reading CDR-30) "Gravimeter..."

169:28:51 Schmitt: You've got another big rock over here from the...

169:28:54 Cernan: It's in my footpan.

169:28:55 Schmitt: That's from Station 9, right?

[Jack goes around the front of the Rover, having just consulted his checklist.]
169:28:57 Cernan: Yeah. That's what I told them. (At) Station 9, I got a football-size rock, and I've put it in there. (Pause)
[Fendell moves the TV to watch Gene at the right-rear, replacement fender.]
RealVideo Clip by Mick Hyde (1 min 17 sec)

169:29:06 Cernan: Well, we eventually lost one clamp. Let's see what we've got left on here (on the repaired fender). (Pause)

[In 2011, a reader asked if the lost clamp was brought back to Earth. After searching the EVA-3 transcript for discussions of the fender and clamp, I am confident that the clamp fell off during the drive from Station 9 back to the LM and that it is still lying on the surface somewhere along the inbound Rover track. Briefly, at Station 8 at 166:52:00, Gene noticed that the inner clamp was no longer holding the replacement fender. He fixed it before they left, finishing at 167:21:22. At 167:41:11 during the drive to Station 9, Jack told Gene that dust was "raining" on them again. Once they got to Station 9, Gene examined the fender and, at 167:54:14 said "That fender just curled under; that's where we're getting the dust." Because Gene had spent several minutes at Station 8 securing the inner edge of the replacement fender with the clamp, he would have mentioned that the cclamp was missing if if had fallen off. That let's us conclude it was still in place. Once they were back at the LM and Gene had an opportunity, at 169:29:06, to examine the fender, he said "Well, we eventually lost one clamp. Let's see what we've got left on here." The implication is that, given what he'd seen at Stations 8 and 9, he wasn't surprised that the clamp had fallen off during the drive from Station 9 back to the LM.]
169:29:23 Schmitt: Okay. Gene's football-sized rock looks like it might be glass coated. And it might even have a shatter cone or two on it.

169:29:36 Parker: Okay, Jack.

[Fendell looks at the gravimeter, which is on the ground beyond the right rear fender. Gene's football sized rock is sample 79035, an 8.1 kilogram dark-matrix breccia.]
169:29:40 Cernan: (To Jack) Okay. I'll let you get...

169:29:41 Schmitt: (To Fendell) I don't know what you're focused on...

169:29:42 Parker: And...

169:29:42 Schmitt: ...but here's his rock.

169:29:44 Parker: ...and, Jack, we're making plans here, to change the camera usage at the end of EVA here. And we're going to let you take Commander's camera out to the ALSEP and take a few photos which people think we need. And Gene's going to take your camera out and document the geophone, when he deploys it. We will not deploy it for the long-term experiment, however. And we'll bring both (cameras) back, and carry them to the ETB when we get done.

169:30:17 Cernan: Okay. (Pause)

[When he said "document the geophone", Bob may have been referring to documentary photos of the seismic charge Gene will deploy near the VIP site. "When he deploys it" probably refers to the charge and the phrase "we will not deploy it for the long-term experiment" refers to a planned deployment of the camera on the Rover seat as indicated on checklist page CDR-30. Specifically, the checklist calls out "Pos(ition) LMP cam(era) vert(ically) on seat." Gene remembers that he did put the camera on the seat, with the lens pointed at the zenith. Presumably, the intent was to recover the camera at some future date to get information of long-term exposure to the lunar environment.]

[Cernan - "Parker said 'We'll bring them both (that is, both cameras) back,' but I know what I did with that camera. I left it on the Rover pointed straight up. That's what I planned to do and that's what I did. I can remember specifically wedging it - I don't remember exactly where - somewhere up between our seats."]

[There is further discussion about this matter of the 70 mm cameras at 170:26:25 and 183:40:39.]

169:30:22 Schmitt: Okay. We've got to reverse the roles of the camera here.

169:30:25 Cernan: While you're getting that, we've got to doff our harnesses. Let me...Before you take this...Are you going to start loading the ETB yet or not?

169:30:31 Schmitt: Well, I'm just about there.

169:30:33 Cernan: Okay. I'll be right with you.

[Comm Break.]

[Gene goes east of the LM with his camera and takes pictures looking back toward the LM and Rover. These are AS17-134- 20461 to 20470.]

[Frame 20461 shows a half Earth over the LM, with the summit of the South Massif in the distance.]

[Frame 20462 shows Jack at the Rover and the SEP pallet leaning against the north landing strut.]

[Frames 20463 and 20464 are pictures of Earth over the LM; 20463, in particular, is an excellent picture showing the Ascent Stage thrusters and the associated shields. A view created with planetarium program Starry Night Deluxe shows how Earth would have looked with fewer clouds. Australia is coming over the top.]

[Frames 20465 and 20466 are pictures of Earth over the flag.]

[Frame 20467 is a good picture of Jack at the Rover with the MESA in the foreground.]

[Frame 20468 is another MESA picture, and 20469 and 20470 are pictures of the U.S. flag on the side of the LM.]

[After a while, Jack goes to get the ETB, which is hanging from the edge of the MESA, and takes it to the Rover. Gene also returns to the Rover.]

Video Clip ( 4 min 04 sec YouTube or 1.1 Mb RealVideo or 163 Mb MPEG - VLC may be requried for Playback )

169:31:47 Schmitt: Okay, Bob. I've got the cosmic ray in the ETB.

169:31:54 Parker: Roger. Copy that. It's been in there all along, hasn't it?

169:31:59 Schmitt: Yup. (Pause)

[At the start of this EVA, at 163:56:20, Houston asked Jack to put the cosmic ray experiment in the ETB to protect it from a "little solar storm".]

[Schmitt - "So, originally, it was going to be out there for the full three EVAs and they made a real-time change because they predicted a solar flare? (Chuckling) Thanks guys. What about us? Couldn't we get in the ETB? Well, there's a limited number of things you can worry about. Right, Gene? Like having to deal with Schmitt all the time."]

169:32:05 Schmitt: Mag Foxtrot, or Franny, I guess, we changed it to. (Pause) Mag Donna. (Pause) The DSEA. (Pause) Mag Echo. (Pause) Mag Linda. (Pause) Mag Mary. (Pause) (To Bob) You through with the 500?
[Jack had started the game of using girls names for the magazine at the start of the EVA at 118:15:29. Gene joined the game only once, when he used "Franny" for magazine FF at Station 6.]

[Schmitt - "I was just doing it, looking at the magazines and coming up with names. Probably, I couldn't remember how to spell Eileen."]

[While Jack was talking, Gene crossed Fendell's field-of-view, going to the LM. He came back to the Rover almost immediately.]

169:33:03 Parker: Roger. We're through with the 500.

169:33:10 Cernan: Jack, where is the cosmic ray? Did you put that in the ETB already?

169:33:12 Schmitt: Yeah.

169:33:13 Cernan: Okay. (Pause)

[Fendell pans clockwise past the ladder.]
169:33:20 Schmitt: I don't think the 500's working anymore, anyway.

169:33:22 Cernan: It was working last time...

169:33:23 Schmitt: Yeah, it is.

169:33:23 Cernan: ...I used it.

169:33:24 Schmitt: Yeah it is. Okay. Film cycle. Three times. (Pause)

[Fendell finds Jack at Gene's seat. He flips his gold visor down and removes mag Karen from the 500.]
169:33:49 Cernan: Look this away a minute. (Pause) Wait a minute (Pause) Okay. (Pause)
[Gene may be taking a couple of pictures of Jack. If so, they are AS17-134- 20471 and 20472. In 20471, note that Jack's visor is raised. In 20472, it is down. Frame 20472 is far the better picture and shows, among other things, Jack's cuff checklist and the high-gain sighting scope. Note the amount of dirt on the Rover console. Journal Contributor Ben Zarlingo notes that the open back of a camera can be seen at bottom center in 20472. This the Hasselblad fitted with the 500mm lens. Jack has the magazine he's just removed in his left hand.]
169:34:06 Schmitt: Okay. In go the scissors. (Pause)

169:34:16 Cernan: Okay. I'm going to go get a gravimeter reading. (Pause)

[Gene goes around the back of the Rover. Jack begins taking things out of Gene's seat pan.]
169:34:25 Schmitt: Now, let's see. I don't...There it is. (Long Pause) Okay. Mag Karen is in (the ETB).

169:34:55 Parker: Copy that. That sounds like all of them to us.

169:35:01 Schmitt: Okay. And there are two on the cameras.

169:35:04 Parker: Roger.

[Jack is not wearing a camera at the moment.]
169:35:09 Cernan: Bob, I'm reading 670, 010, 701; 670, 010, 701.

169:35:16 Parker: Okay. Copy that. We're ready for a bias, Gene.

169:35:21 Cernan: Okay. (Pause) (I'm pushing) Bias; and it is flashing.

169:35:37 Parker: Roger. Mark that. (Pause)

[Jack takes the ETB away. He is now on LMP-31.]
Video Clip ( 3 min 24 sec 1.1 Mb RealVideo or 163 Mb MPEG - VLC may be requried for Playback )

169:35:47 Cernan: Okay. Let me take a look around. Jack?

169:35:50 Schmitt: Yeah.

169:35:54 Cernan: Was that bag in there?

169:35:56 Schmitt: Yes. It's over here on the MESA.

[Fendell pans to the LM.]
169:35:59 Cernan: Okay. (Pause) Let's get rid of these tool harnesses. We don't need those anymore.

169:36:13 Parker: Yah; that's affirm.

169:36:14 Schmitt: You've come loose on the right.

169:36:18 Cernan: Yeah.

169:36:20 Schmitt: Need to fix it for you.

169:36:21 Parker: And remember, when they come off, guys, don't get them tangled up in the hoses. (Pause) If you stand still (garbled)...

169:36:28 Schmitt: Let me pull it off for you.

169:36:29 Cernan: (Garbled).

169:36:30 Parker: If you stand still, we'll have Danny untangle it. (Pause)

169:36:36 Cernan: (Guffawing) Yeah. (Pause) Okay.

[Fendell pans to the MESA and finds no astronauts; he then pans clockwise. This is one of several reference to suit engineer Danny Schaiewitz who participated in many of the training exercises.]
MP3 Audio Clip ( 16 min 42 sec )

169:36:37 Schmitt: Turn this way. (Pause) Let me get the other side. (Pause) Okay. That's off.

169:36:55 Cernan: Came off, huh?

169:36:56 Schmitt: Yeah.

169:36:57 Cernan: You don't have to get it around those hoses and everything? (Pause) See if you can do it.

169:37:03 Parker: Works a lot better than the simulations, doesn't it?

169:37:05 Cernan: They won't find the other one. Standby. (Pause)

169:37:09 Schmitt: That's the only fallacy. They're not even watching this. Come over here and watch me, Ed. (Pause) Oh, me. Let me have it.

169:37:19 Cernan: Wait a minute. Move over that way. He can't...Okay....

169:37:23 Schmitt: Can you see me?

169:37:24 Cernan: ...see if it comes off.

169:37:25 Schmitt: (To Ed Fendell) Nod your camera if you can see me.

[Fendell finds them at Gene's side of the Rover.]
169:37:27 Parker: Rog. We can see you.

169:37:28 Cernan: It's taking too long. Just take it off. (Pause)

[Jack waves his arms to dislodge the harness.]
169:37:32 Schmitt: Is it off?

169:37:33 Cernan: (Garbled)...

169:37:34 Parker: That is almost easier than at the Cape. Roger.

169:37:37 Cernan: Jack, wait a minute before you...Hey, Bob, are we going to need those other core tubes?

169:37:43 Parker: We'd like to have you leave the two core tubes and the extension handle and the hammer and I suppose the core cap dispenser here. If we get back in time from doing all our appointed tasks at the VIP site and at the ALSEP, we'll try and drive a double core here (pause) to end things up with a bang.

[Jack takes his harness toward the LM, presumably to throw it under the Descent Stage.]
169:38:02 Cernan: No, don't leave it there. We'll leave it here.

169:38:03 Schmitt: Oh, that's right. You got it.

169:38:06 Cernan: We'll play games with the extension handle, but that's all right.

[Gene doesn't yet realize that the extension handles, to which the scoop and rake were attached, were also lost during the drive back from Station 9. Normally, they would attach one of the extension handles to a core tube in order to hammer it into the ground without having to bend over.]
169:38:10 Schmitt: Okay...

169:38:10 Cernan: Let me set them over here.

169:38:13 Schmitt: Where am I (in the checklist)? Okay. (Reviewing LMP-30) Big bag, all those...

169:38:22 Parker: (Apollo) 17, did you guys lose your...

169:38:23 Schmitt: Don't need the LRV sampler any more.

169:38:23 Parker: ...extension handles when that pallet came open?

169:38:29 Cernan: (Responding to Bob) Yes, but I can still drive a core with the hammer if we need to.

[That is, Gene is saying that he can hammer the core tube in without the extension handle.]
169:38:32 Parker: Okay. Copy that.
[Fendell pans toward the MESA. Gene is at the gate.]
169:38:35 Cernan: I think. (Pause) Yeah. One (extension handle) went with the rake, and one went with the scoop.

169:38:46 Schmitt: (Returning to the Rover without the harness) Okay, Bob. As I read down that page (LMP-30), it looks like we got it. The ETB check (on LMP-31): I think we had four mags in there, and the DSEA, and the maps, and the cosmic ray.

169:38:59 Parker: Roger. You've got six mags.

[Jack takes the unused core tubes to the MESA. Fendell pans clockwise.]
169:39:00 Cernan: Okay, and...

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169:39:01 Schmitt: I guess I'm ready to go to the (ALSEP)...

169:39:04 Cernan: Wait a minute. I want you to do something.

169:39:06 Parker: Okay. One...

169:39:07 Schmitt: (Responding to Bob) Six mags, is it?

169:39:08 Parker: ...one further question...

169:39:08 Cernan: (To Jack) You want these...You don't have...

169:39:09 Parker: ...Did all the FSR's (Football-Sized Rocks) get off the Rover into the big bag?

169:39:15 Schmitt: (Answering Bob) That's affirm.

169:39:17 Cernan: (To Jack) Yeah. This is the one you need anyway. That's (the) color (camera). (Pause) Why don't you see if you can grab a couple (of tourist pictures)? Yeah, right here. (Pause)

[AS17-134- 20473 to 20479 are Jack's tourist pictures of Gene. ]

[Frame 20474 is a good close-up of the front of the Rover.]

[Frames 20475 and 20477 are the best pictures of Gene. Note the large boulders in the background. These are south of Geophone Rock and are the ones Gene drove past at the start of the EVA-2 traverse. Note, also, the bright pattern on the high-gain antenna, which is sunlight reflected off the top of the TV camera. ]

169:39:34 Schmitt: Boy, are you dirty.

169:39:34 Cernan: I know it.

169:39:38 Schmitt: Let's see. I don't know whether I can get you.

169:39:41 Cernan: Yeah, you can.

[Fendell finds Jack north of the Rover; the U.S. flag is behind him.]
169:39:46 Schmitt: Ed, you've got your camera in the way.

169:39:48 Cernan: Oh, just take them straight on. That's all right.

169:39:50 Schmitt: (Taking pictures toward the Rover) That's sort of...(garbled). Okay. (Laughs) Such (a) pose. (Pause) Let me get a little different (pause) focus. (Pause) That looks good.

169:40:09 Cernan: Okay.

169:40:10 Schmitt: (I'll) try one more over here. Have your pick. (Pause) One more.

169:40:15 Cernan: How's like this? (Pause)

[Fendell pans clockwise.]
169:40:18 Schmitt: Okay.

169:40:19 Cernan: (Laughing) You got that camera. That's the color camera.

169:40:21 Schmitt: Yeah.

169:40:22 Cernan: You take it.

169:40:23 Parker: Okay...

169:40:23 Schmitt: I've got to go get a neutron flux probe, I guess, (out of the deep core hole).

169:40:25 Parker: That's right.

169:40:26 Cernan: Oh, yeah. That's going to be easy to pull out.

169:40:29 Schmitt: Okay.

169:40:30 Cernan: Okay. Let's see if I've got everything in here.

169:40:32 Parker: Okay. And...

169:40:33 Schmitt: (To Bob, not having heard his "That's right") You ready for me to go to the ALSEP?

169:40:36 Cernan: Jack?

169:40:36 Parker: Roger. We're ready for both of you guys, now.

[Bob is subtly trying to remind Gene and Jack that they had planned a short close-out ceremony before Gene drives the Rover - and, more importantly, the TV camera - out to the VIP site. The close-out ceremony is not listed in the checklist.]
169:40:39 Schmitt: Bob?

169:40:40 Parker: Roger. Go ahead.

169:40:43 Schmitt: Hello, Houston.

169:40:44 Parker: Hello, 17. Stand by. I think we're having a site handover or something.

[It is currently about 0434 GMT on 14 December 1972. the Moon is still about 40 degrees the western horizon at Goldstone and 24 degrees above the eastern horizon at Honeysuckle Creek. Comm will now go thru Honeysuckle.]
169:40:49 Schmitt: Houston, do you read? (No answer) Gene, do you read me?

169:40:55 Cernan: Yeah, I read you.

169:40:56 Schmitt: Where's Houston?

169:40:57 Parker: Okay, 17. We had a...

169:40:58 Cernan: (To Jack) Well, I don't know (garbled).

169:40:58 Parker: ...site changeover there, and we've got you again. (Pause)

169:41:06 Schmitt: (Hearing Bob) Are you ready for me to go to the ALSEP?

169:41:08 Parker: Rog. We're ready for both of you guys, now.

[Fendell finds Gene at his seat, unfolding a large bag. Bob is still trying to remind them about the close-out ceremony.]
169:41:14 Schmitt: What do you mean? I'm headed for the ALSEP. (Pause)
[Fendell pans counter-clockwise.]
169:41:26 Parker: Gene, are you ready for Jack to go to the ALSEP, now?

169:41:29 Cernan: (Consulting checklist to see what Bob means) Oh, let me see. (To Bob) Yeah, he's gone. He's good. I'm ready to get on, and go to the VIP site. (To Jack, having finally remembered the ceremony, calling) Wait a minute, Jack. Wait a minute. Here. Wait a minute. Where are you?

169:41:43 Parker: Yeah. We're trying to...

169:41:43 Schmitt: Right over here.

169:41:44 Cernan: Come on back here a minute.

169:41:44 Parker: ...we're trying to be subtle there, guys.

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169:41:46 Cernan: Come on back here a minute. Come on back here a minute.

169:41:50 Schmitt: I didn't realize you were going out there quite so soon.

169:41:53 Cernan: Well, I just looked to see where it is (in the checklist). (Pause)

169:42:00 Schmitt: There. I'll...

169:42:01 Cernan: What did you do with that (rock)...

[Fendell reverses the TV pan direction.]
169:42:04 Schmitt: How about one of...How about this one?
[Schmitt - "Gene is talking about the Station 9 rock he had put in his footpan; and that's already been packed. So I reached down and picked one up. I remember that. It was relatively flat, I think."]

[In 1975, N.G. Bailey and G.E. Ulrich of the U.S. Geological Survey produced an annotated, partial transcript of Apollo 17, selecting out those parts of the dialog of immediate interest to geologists. They identify this hand-sized rock as 70017, a 3.0 kilogram piece of coarse-grained basalt.]

169:42:07 Cernan: You got it? (Long Pause) (Garbled) that one in my footpan?

169:42:25 Schmitt: I put it in the (laughs) big bag.

169:42:28 Cernan: Okay. Here we go, Jack. (Pause) Here's one here. (Pause) Here. All right?

169:42:36 Schmitt: Yeah. Let me get it (the rock), so you won't get it too dirty. Help you. Very good. (Pause)

169:42:44 Cernan: You hold it.

169:42:45 Schmitt: Okay.

169:42:47 Cernan: Got it?

169:42:48 Schmitt: Yeah. (Pause) How about over here?

169:42:55 Cernan: How about right over here against that background.

169:42:58 Schmitt: Yup. (Pause)

[Gene manually points the TV at Jack and then goes out to join him.]
169:43:06 Cernan: Houston, before we close out our EVA, we understand that there are young people in Houston today who have been effectively touring our country, young people from countries all over the world, respectively, touring our country. They had the opportunity to watch the launch of Apollo 17; (and) hopefully had an opportunity to meet some of our young people in our country. And we'd like to say first of all, welcome, and we hope you enjoyed your stay. Second of all, I think probably one of the most significant things we can think about when we think about Apollo is that it has opened for us - "for us" being the world - a challenge of the future. The door is now cracked, but the promise of the future lies in the young people, not just in America, but the young people all over the world learning to live and learning to work together. In order to remind all the people of the world in so many countries throughout the world that this is what we all are striving for in the future, Jack has picked up a very significant rock, typical of what we have here in the valley of Taurus-Littrow.
[Jack hands Gene the tabular, fist-sized rock that he's been holding.]
169:44:45 Cernan: It's a rock composed of many fragments, of many sizes, and many shapes, probably from all parts of the Moon, perhaps billions of years old. But fragments of all sizes and shapes - and even colors - that have grown together to become a cohesive rock, outlasting the nature of space, sort of living together in a very coherent, very peaceful manner. When we return this rock or some of the others like it to Houston, we'd like to share a piece of this rock with so many of the countries throughout the world. We hope that this will be a symbol of what our feelings are, what the feelings of the Apollo Program are, and a symbol of mankind: that we can live in peace and harmony in the future.
[Cernan - "The idea was there; the thought was there. But if I was going to say it again, I'd say it a little bit more eloquently. I'd thought about it a little bit beforehand but, like a lot of things, not a great deal. The thought, the idea, but not the words. And I guess we got the point across."]

[Schmitt - "It reads well."]

[Readers will note that Gene's description of the rock as being "composed of many fragments" - that is, a breccia - involves a bit of poetic license. He had hoped to use a breccia in this ceremony and had ordered his thoughts with that idea in mind. However, there were no large breccias near at hand and, as we've noted, Jack gave him a piece of basalt. In the context, a bit of poetic license seems justified.]

169:45:50 Schmitt: (Taking the rock as Gene hands it to him) A portion of a rock will be sent to a representative agency or museum in each of the countries represented by the young people in Houston today, and we hope that they - that rock and the students themselves - will carry with them our good wishes, not only for the new year coming up but also for themselves, their countries, and all mankind in the future. Put that in the big bag, Geno.

169:46:22 Cernan: In the big bag.

169:46:24 Parker: Roger...

169:46:24 Cernan: We salute you, promise of the future.

169:46:26 Parker: ...Jack and Gene. (Pause) We thank you for your sentiments and your interest.

[Apollo sample 70017 is now known as the Goodwill Rock. Although NASA still has about 80% of the rock in the Apollo collection, nearly five hundred pieces of it have been distributed to museums and researchers around the world. In the words of James Gooding, the Curator of Lunar Samples at the NASA Johnson Space Center, the Goodwill samples are "the most widely distributed of any lunar samples".]

[During our transcript review, Jack suggested that the rock they used in the ceremony never made it into the big bag and that the distributed samples might have come from the rock he had collected when Gene let him off the Rover part way back from the SEP site: "There's a piece of (Moon) rock that you can touch in the Smithsonian, and it's off that last big sample I'd stood up on end and kicked under the Rover (at 169:15:07). I think that's where that sample came from. In fact, I think that the samples they sent around to the kids around the world may have come from that same rock. It was a big rock; a real dense, heavy rock (Apollo 17 sample 70215 weighed 8.1 kilograms)."]

[Jack was partly right about this. The Goodwill Rock - the one used in the ceremony - did make it into the big bag and was put to the intended use. Canada's portion is shown in the accompanying photo (courtesy of Ken Glover), along with a small Canadian flag that was flown on Apollo 17. And then, as Jack remembers, pieces of 70215 were also used for public display. According to John Dietrich, who retired as Curator of Lunar Samples at the end of 1991, four display samples - with a total mass of about 300 grams - were cut from 70215 and can be seen at the Smithsonian, at the International Space Hall of Fame in Alamogordo, New Mexico, at the Johnson Space Center, and as the centerpiece of a traveling NASA exhibition. Unlike most lunar samples which are carefully sealed and protected, the Smithsonian and Johnson samples are routinely displayed so that members of the public can "touch the Moon".]

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169:46:38 Cernan: (Taking the rock and returning to the Rover) And now - let me bring this (TV) camera around - to commemorate not just Apollo 17's visit to the Valley of Taurus-Littrow but as an everlasting commemoration of what the real meaning of Apollo is to the world, we'd like to uncover a plaque that has been on the leg of our spacecraft that we have climbed down many times over the last 3 days.

[Gene has swung the TV around to point at the LM ladder. He is now at the ladder himself and removes a cover off the plaque. He tries to hang the cover on a ladder rung but gives up and drops it to the ground. Jack takes a series of pictures of Gene and the plaque. These are AS17-143-20480 to 20488.]

Frame 20482 is one of the best of the plaque pictures, and 20488 is a good close-up of Gene's very dirty gloves. It also shows the armbands holding his cuff checklist and watch. Journal Contributor Ricardo Salamé notes that the ETB can be seen hanging from the ladder hook behind the lefthand side of the bottom rung.]

[As far as I know, all the LMs had plaques afixed to the ladder strut, but only on Apollo 11 and Apollo 17 was it mentioned by the crews. Journal Contributor George Green reminds us that, in the Ron Howard film Apollo 13, Tom Hanks, playing Jim Lovell, is shown in the LM with a plaque. This undoubtedly represents a replacement plaque flown in the actual spacecraft because of the very late crew change. Technicians did have access to the LM until not long before launch. For example, Apollo 16 photo 72-H-425 shows a technician with the plaque for that mission on 12 April 1972, four days prior to launch. In the case of Apollo 13, it is possible that the replacement plaque was not completed in time for installation.]

169:47:19 Cernan: And I'll read what that plaque says to you. First of all, it has a picture of the world. Two pictures. One of the North America and one of South America. The other covers the other half of the world including Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia, covers the North Pole and the South Pole. In between these two hemispheres, we have a pictorial view of the Moon, a pictorial view of where all the Apollo landings have been made; so that when this plaque is seen again by others who come, they will know where it all started. The words are, "Here man completed his first exploration of the Moon, December 1972 A.D. May the spirit of peace in which we came be reflected in the lives of all mankind." It's signed, "Eugene A. Cernan, Ronald E. Evans, Harrison H. Schmitt, and most prominently, Richard M. Nixon, President of the United States of America." This is our commemoration that will be here until someone like us, until some of you who are out there, who are the promise of the future, come back to read it again and to further the exploration and the meaning of Apollo.

169:48:57 Parker: Roger, Gene. We in Houston copy that and echo your sentiments. Dr. (James) Fletcher (the NASA Administrator) is here beside me. He'd like to say a word to the two of you.

[Gene and Jack start for the Rover but stop again and move to stand in front of the camera as they listen to Fletcher.]
169:49:09 Fletcher: Gene and Jack, I've been in close touch with the White House, and the President has been following very closely your absolutely fascinating work up there. He'd like to wish you Godspeed as you return to Earth, and I'd like to personally second that. Congratulations. We'll see you in a few days. Over.

169:49:35 Cernan: Thank you, Dr. Fletcher. We appreciate your comments, and we certainly appreciate those of the President. And whether it be civilian or military, I think Jack and I would both like to give our salute to America.

[Gene salutes as he stands facing the TV.]
169:49:53 Schmitt: And, Dr. Fletcher, if I may, I'd like to remind everybody, I'm sure, of something they're aware, but this valley of history has seen mankind complete its first evolutionary steps into the universe: leaving the planet Earth and going forward into the universe. I think no more significant contribution has Apollo made to history. It's not often that you can foretell history, but I think we can in this case. And I think everybody ought to feel very proud of that fact. (Pause) Thank you very much.

169:50:43 Fletcher: I'll see you in a little bit.

[Cernan - "Little did we know that it would be this long - nineteen years later and even longer yet - before Man will ever return. I don't think that either Jack or I ever thought - and we kept saying that Apollo 17 was the end of the beginning and not the end - that it would take this long for this nation or mankind in general to decide not only when he's going to return but if he desires to go back to the Moon and then on to Mars. Finally, we're at a point in time where people are beginning to talk seriously about it happening. But as we sit here today, in 1991, we all know it's going to be after the turn of the century before Man goes back again. That, in itself, is almost an unacceptable position to be in. If we had realized that nineteen years ago...We kept saying that, well, we're the last for a while but somebody will be back pretty soon. I've got to believe that both Jack and I certainly felt that it would be in the time frame of the 20th Century."]

[Schmitt - "I knew things had slowed down. I don't know if you remember, Gene, but, when we rendezvoused with Ron - and I think it was just before or just after we undocked with the LM - Houston read us a statement from Nixon in which he said, specifically, that we were the last people to visit the Moon in this Century. And I really got upset. I think I either showed it or talked to you about it. I thought that was the stupidest thing a President ever could have said to anybody. You may believe it privately, but why say that to all the young people in the world."]

[Cernan - "And don't forget, this was in 1972, so we had thirty years to go before the century was over."]

[Schmitt - "It was just a totally unnecessary thing for him to say. Whoever wrote that speech really blew it with that remark. And I was really upset. Tired, but really mad. It was just pure loss of will."]

[The statement from Nixon was read up by Gordon Fullerton right after Challenger docked safely with America. It reads, "As Challenger leaves the surface of the Moon, we are conscious not of what we leave behind, but of what lies before us. The dreams that draw humanity forward seem always to be redeemed, if we believe in them strongly enough and pursue them with diligence and courage. Once we stood mystified by the stars; today we reach up to them. We do this not only because it is man's destiny to dream the impossible, to dare the impossible, and to do the impossible, but also because, in space, as on Earth, there are new answers and new opportunities for the improvement of, and the enlargement of, human existence. This may be the last time in this century that men will walk on the Moon, but space exploration will continue, the benefits of space exploration will continue, and there will be new dreams to pursue, based on what we learned. So let us not mistake the significance or miss the majesty of what we have witnessed. Few events have ever marked so clearly the passage of history from one epoch to another. If we understand this about the last flight of Apollo, then truly we have touched a 'many splendored thing'. To Gene Cernan, Jack Schmitt, and Ron Evans, we say God speed you safely back to this good Earth."]

[Cernan - "I knew we wouldn't be back in ten years; but we're talking about as many as thirty-five or forty years. And that's a generation and a half. The kids who are in grammar school now are the people who are going to be taking those trips back to the Moon and on to Mars. So we've got a generation in there that we've left in limbo. I don't really want to get into this - and the Shuttle is a sophisticated flying machine - but, whether it's the Shuttle or Soyuz or Mir, there is a difference between a space program that takes you to 300 miles away from your home planet and another one that sets you out on a voyage a quarter million miles away. There are significant differences, both technologically and philosophically. And, quite frankly, I'm a little disappointed in us, at this time, to know that we're really not much further along than we were back then."]

[Schmitt - "We're not as far. Then, at least we had a technology base. Now, we've got to rebuild it."]

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169:50:45 Cernan: (To Jack) Okay, babe. Let's go to the AL(SEP)...Okay, Bob. I owe you a bias reading.

169:50:51 Parker: Okay. Or you can get it later. There's no hurry on that. And we're off to the ALSEP...

169:50:57 Cernan: (Waving into the TV) I'm going to give it to you right now.

169:50:58 Parker: Okay. Ready to copy. I presume you've a UHT out at the ALSEP, Jack.

169:51:04 Schmitt: (On his way) That's affirm.

[Gene faces southeast and shades the indicators with his hand.]
169:51:05 Cernan: 337, 417, 101; 337, 417, 101.

169:51:16 Parker: Okay. Copy that.

169:51:20 Cernan: Are you through with this (gravimeter)?

169:51:25 Parker: Roger.

[Bob laughs, realizing that Gene wants to see how far he can throw the TGE.]
169:51:27 Cernan: (Repeating his question) Bob?

169:51:29 Parker: (Laughing) Roger. We're through with it.

169:51:30 Schmitt: (To Gene) Be kind. Be kind.

169:51:32 Cernan: Well, I love it, and I'm sure it did a good job...

169:51:35 Parker: Well, we're not through with you, Gene, so don't throw yourself too far!

169:51:40 Cernan: No, sir. I just don't want to hit old Challenger there. (Pause)

[Gene throws the gravimeter toward the southwest with a half hammer-throw motion. It lands out of sight, behind the Rover. Jim Scotti notes that the bright-blue TGE and its impact marks can be seen in AS17-145-22197, which Gene took out his window once he and Jack were back in the cabin.]
169:51:52 Schmitt: That was unkind.

169:51:56 Cernan: You did the javelin!

169:51:59 Schmitt: That was unkind.

169:52:01 Parker: Roger, Gene. And we...

169:52:02 Cernan: I didn't throw it as far as I could have. I just...

169:52:03 Parker: ...we timed the parabola for that, and we have one excellent measurement of "g" on the Moon now.

169:52:12 Cernan: Yeah, I didn't get you a pendulum, but I don't know where I would, Bob. Okay. I'm going to have to take you out to the VIP site!

169:52:22 Parker: Okay. We're ready for that, and we'll...

169:52:24 Cernan: If you concur?

169:52:26 Parker: Okay. (Pause)

[In Houston, Experiments suggests to Flight Director Gerry Griffin that, as a result of Gene's treatment of the gravimeter, "that calls for another bias reading." Griffin replies, "You'll have to get it yourself."]
169:52:37 Cernan: (Looking at his checklist) Well, let me make sure I got everything. Okay. (Pause) Remember, we...
[TV off. Gene is on CDR-31.]
169:53:05 Cernan: Okay. Bob, I guess you're reading me through the LM, huh?

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169:53:08 Parker: Roger. Read you through the LM. You guys both read me through the LM?

169:53:13 Schmitt: That's affirm.

169:53:15 Cernan: Okay. The first thing I want to do...Tell John (Young) I'm going to do it exactly like he wants. (Pause) Okay. (Pause) The (LMP) camera is under the seat, I hope. Let me look. (Pause) Yeah, camera's there. (Pause)

[Cernan - "John Young drove his Rover out there to do the same thing - to get a picture of lift-off. And John may have told me something about positioning the Rover."]

[Schmitt - "You know what I think it may have been? I was thinking about it a moment ago. (AS17-143-21932 shows that) you positioned it at an angle to the line between the VIP site and the LM so that the TV camera had a better field-of-view. When we were looking at the picture before, I wondered why you left it parked that way."]

[Cernan - "I agree. Whatever I'm referring to (here) has got to do with the parking of the Rover."]

169:53:37 Cernan: Jack, did you do something with the dustbrush?

169:53:39 Schmitt: No.

169:53:41 Cernan: It was under the seat, right?

169:53:42 Schmitt: It was, yeah.

169:53:43 Cernan: Yeah. I want to make sure it is because I'll need it out there.

169:53:46 Schmitt: No, wait a minute. I don't know that it's there now.

169:53:47 Cernan: Well, I want to make sure that I can get...that I've got something to dust with (so the Rover won't overheat).

[They no longer have a right-rear fender and, even in the short drive out to the VIP site, it will get covered with dust. If the Rover electrical system is to survive for very long, Gene will have to give it a thorough dusting.]
169:53:54 Parker: Okay. (Joking, very dryly) And, Jack, as you go out to the ALSEP, let me cue in on your next 3 hours worth of work out there, repairing the ALSEP. All right? Over.

169:54:03 Schmitt: Oh, okay. Go ahead. I'm here.

169:54:08 Parker: Okay. Number one, we want to retrieve the UHT. And I quote, "tap sharply" - that's "sharply" - on the (LSG) gimbal, which is the center section there, the little square metal piece in the middle...tap sharply on the gimbal with the UHT, and then reverify the level on the LSG. We'll check response here in Mission Control after you've done that.

169:54:38 Schmitt: (Incredulous) You mean tap on the thing (the bar) that swings!?!

169:54:41 Parker: That's what they say.

169:54:42 Cernan: You always wanted to do that, didn't you?

169:54:44 Parker: Yeah, that's right. (Pause)

169:54:50 Schmitt: Well, let me see if I can have a clean UHT to do that.

169:54:56 Cernan: Okay, Bob. Everything (that is, the Nav system) is zeroed.

169:54:58 Parker: Okay. And I'll be talking to Jack here, Gene, for a while. You can interrupt with your comments talking over me, and I'll try and copy them.

169:55:09 Cernan: One comment. I got a (warning) flag on the other battery (at) 139 degrees.

169:55:12 Parker: Okay. We copy that.

[When Gene arrived back at the LM at 169:18:27, the Battery 1 temperature reading was 132 degrees. It is now 139 degrees, hot enough to have tripped a warning flag on the top of the console.]
169:55:16 Schmitt: How much is "sharply"?

169:55:18 Parker: Sharply is sharply. It's probably not heavily, but sharply. Fairly light, but sharply.

169:55:26 Schmitt: On the edge?

169:55:27 Parker: No. You can see that little square metal piece in the middle there?

169:55:29 Schmitt: On the edge?

169:55:30 Parker: You see that little square metal piece on there? You can just sort of rap on that...

169:55:33 Schmitt: Oh, yeah. Okay. Here goes. (Pause) I did it.

169:55:43 Parker: Okay. And then it says...

169:55:43 Schmitt: You want me to do it again?

169:55:47 Parker: Stand by. (Pause)

169:55:53 Schmitt: That was sort of a moderate "hard tap".

169:55:58 Parker: Go ahead, and hit it harder.

169:55:59 Schmitt: It is level.

169:56:00 Parker: Hit it harder, please.

169:56:04 Schmitt: Okay. (Pause) (Is that) okay? I can hit it harder yet.

169:56:17 Parker: Okay. We've observed something there. Stand by. (Pause)

169:56:28 Cernan: Bob, you might be getting TV the way the antenna's oriented right now.

[Cernan - "As I remember, I went around behind the VIP site and drove up to the spot. So the antenna was probably looking pretty close to the Earth."]
169:56:31 Parker: Okay. Jack, go ahead. We'll do some more stuff here. In the meanwhile, while they're thinking about what's wrong with it...Did you just tap it again?

169:56:44 Schmitt: No, I didn't touch it. I'm over at the Central Station now.

169:56:47 Parker: Okay. They're looking at it. All right. Now, we want to take some photographs at the Central Station and a few selected photographs of the ALSEP. Number one, we want a "7-foot cross-Sun" to the south of the ALSEP Central Station and then a 7-foot down-Sun of the Central Station. Over.

[That is, Houston wants photographs taken while he's standing 7 feet north of the Central Station, and then another from the east, with the Sun at his back.]
169:57:10 Schmitt: A 7-foot cross-Sun to the south.

169:57:12 Parker: That's what it says.

169:57:17 Schmitt: And then a down-Sun.

169:57:18 Parker: Roger. A 7-foot down-Sun.

169:57:24 Schmitt: You might tell me what they're trying to get with it. I might be able to help them.

169:57:28 Parker: Okay. I presume that what this means is looking to the south. It was cross-Sun originally. I suspect that's what happened here, the way it was written up. So it's a 7-foot looking at all the switches to make sure you guys turned them the right way, I suppose. And then a 7-foot looking down-Sun, so that would be facing west, that side of it.

169:57:49 Schmitt: Okay. I got it. What else?

[AS17-134- 20489 is a cross-Sun to the south, showing top half of the Central Station and, beyond it, Geophone Rock. Frame 20490 shows the lower part of the north face where the switches are located. Frame 20491 is the down-Sun from the east. All three are excellent pictures.]
169:57:53 Parker: Okay. Now, there's a problem with the Central Station in which they think the south end is buried more deeply in the dirt than they had intended. And the Central Station is, at the present time, getting very warm on the back side, on the south side there. They believe you probably buried it in the ground when you were trying to tilt it to the proper alignment. They're requesting that, when you're at the ALSEP, you remove any soil buildup or debris with a convenient tool. They don't want you to touch it because it's fairly warm. But if you have a UHT or something to move it...Do you have a UHT with you or something with you that you can brush that soil aside with?

169:58:31 Schmitt: Yes, sir.

169:58:32 Parker: Okay. You know the...

169:58:34 Schmitt: It is piled up there. That's a good call.

169:58:36 Parker: Yes. Okay. They'd like that (dirt) brushed away. (Pause) And you can give me a call...

169:58:44 Schmitt: Fortunately, I brought my handy-dandy Rover sampler out.

169:58:47 Parker: Okay. You can brush that (dirt) aside, and give me a call when you think that's cleared up the way it ought to be. That's probably one of those things we didn't think about when we decided to tilt the Central Station.

169:59:00 Schmitt: Well, you couldn't anticipate the soil, Bob. (Pause) It's very soft.

169:59:13 Cernan: Bob, we are at VIP.

169:59:15 Parker: Okay. And Ed Fendell is hard on my back to remind you that it's better to be too far away than too close.

[Because of the great distance between the Earth and Moon and other factors, Fendell will have to command the TV camera to start panning upward about 2 seconds before the actual launch. That way, the camera will actually start tilting up at the right time. The farther from the LM that Gene parks the Rover, the smaller the fraction of the TV frame that the LM will fill; and any mistakes Fendell makes in the panning speed won't matter quite so much. From the time that Fendell pushes the button in Houston to move the TV camera until the time he actually sees the camera move is about 6 seconds. In the first two seconds, the signal leaves Houston and travels by land or satellite link to one of the three large transmitters (Goldstone, Honeysuckle, or Madrid), then travels to the Moon (1 1/3 seconds out of the 2 seconds), and activates the TV tracking motors. During the next four seconds, the signal leaves the TV and travels back to Earth where the color-wheel signal is translated into a standard video signal for display in the Control Room.]

[Schmitt - "In my talks I use a 35 mm slide of the TV picture of lift-off (which is necessarily grainy), and I say, 'Gene tried to persuade me to go out and get a really good picture of lift-off, but I declined.'"]

[Cernan - "It would have been great to have a camera on the Moon to watch the Lunar Module come in for a landing. I'd love to have that."]

[Schmitt - (Philosophically) "Some day."]

[An analysis of mission photographs of the LM taken at the final parking place and at the SEP deployment site indicate that Gene will park the Rover about 158 meters from the LM.]

169:59:29 Cernan: (Agreeably) All right! I thought I was, but I think I may move just a little bit. There's a little rise here I can give you. (Pause) I think I'll give it to you.

169:59:40 Parker: Okay.

Mpeg Clip (0 min 20 sec)

[Gene has climbed on the Rover and, as he drives a short way to the "little rise", we get a few seconds of video from the moving Rover. Dave Scott attempted to provide video during his drive from Station 9 to Hadley Rille, starting at about 165:16:09; but that attempt yielded only a few, very brief views of the right-front wheel and the lunar surface passing by underneath. Transmission to Earth requires that the high-gain antenna be pointed almost exactly and, here, we get a bit of video by luck. The LM can be seen at the left side of the image.]
169:59:42 Schmitt: By the way, Bob, the soil gets more cohesive with depth. I hadn't really noticed that before.

169:59:48 Parker: Okay. We copy that. Duly noted.

169:59:52 Schmitt: It's quite a bit more cohesive at...(It) feels about the same down to 3 centimeters out here; and then the cohesiveness goes up so (much that) it's difficult to scrape with the Rover sampler.

170:00:07 Parker: Copy that, Jack. (Long Pause)

170:00:49 Cernan: (To Houston) Well, I think you can see almost everything from here.

170:00:52 Parker: Okay, Geno. And, Jack, let me know when you get done scraping that soil away.

170:01:00 Schmitt: I will. (Long Pause)

[AS17-143- 21932 shows the final Rover parking configuration.]

[Cernan - "I sit here (looking at the picture) and swear that I parked the Rover with the wheels straight. That's the final parking? Well, we're behind the LM and it's about the right distance."]

[Schmitt - "Why doesn't it have a fender?"]

[Cernan - "I took it off. Both of them. I took them both home."]

[At some point before he goes back to the LM, Gene will remove the replacement fender - which is now at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington. He will also remove the rear section of the left rear fender - which is now on display at the Johnson Space Center's Visitor's Center.]

170:01:21 Cernan: And now comes the hardest (high-gain antenna) alignment of them all! But I'll get it. (Long Pause) Somewhere about there. See if I can't tweak it up for you.
[Gene has parked the Rover pointed a little bit south of west, necessarily in the general direction of the LM so that the TV can be used to watch the launch. Because Earth is in the southwestern sky, the bore sight on the high-gain antenna is over the batteries and Gene is having to lean in to do the alignment. The normal Rover heading at one of the geology stops was 045 (northeast). With that heading, the high-gain was pointed back over the Rover and Gene could stand comfortably at the front of the vehicle to do the sighting.]
170:02:00 Schmitt: Bob, the east-west level bubble (on the Central Station) is not quite level (that is, it is not quite centered). The north-south is. Do you want me to tweak that up?

170:02:09 Parker: Yeah, you might tweak that up. We are getting a good signal, but go ahead and tweak it up just a little bit. (Pause) And, Gene, what are you doing these days?

170:02:29 Cernan: I'm getting the high-gain set up for you.

170:02:31 Parker: Okay. Now you know why we didn't make you park it in that orientation all the time, don't you?

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170:02:38 Cernan: Boy, I'll tell you. It was a piece of cake up until now. (Pause) There, I got you. (Pause)

[TV on]
170:02:57 Cernan: Bob, you're looking right down the center of my eyepiece.
[That is, Earth is centered in the scope.]
170:03:04 Parker: Okay, I don't think...

170:03:05 Cernan: You should have TV.

170:03:06 Parker: Yeah, we're getting TV there, Geno.

170:03:11 Cernan: You getting it?

170:03:12 Parker: We've got TV.

170:03:13 Cernan: Well, let me take a look, and clean things up.

170:03:14 Parker: Okay. I guess you can dust and dust and dust some more for a while.

170:03:23 Cernan: Let me get this dusting problem out of the way before I do anything else.

170:03:24 Parker: Roger.

[Gene moves the TV to clean the lens; he points it at the South Massif. He is on CDR-32.]
170:03:25 Cernan: You can look at your vantage point, and if you don't like it, let me know.

170:03:30 Parker: Okay. I'll tell Captain Video (Ed Fendell). (Pause)

[Fendell pans counter-clockwise to the stop and then reverses direction. Captain Video was also the name of a character in a children's TV program of the early 1950's.]
170:03:43 Schmitt: Bob?

170:03:44 Parker: Go.

170:03:45 Schmitt: How close can soil be to this back plate of the ALSEP?

170:03:53 Parker: Stand by. I'll check.

170:03:56 Schmitt: It's about 30 centimeters away, most of the places now.

170:04:04 Parker: Okay. That sounds good. We'd like you to return to the surface gravimeter, Jack. What you did had some effect, but not a lasting effect. And we'd like you to "rap even more sharply", more strongly, on the gimbal another three times. And we're again watching it, and we'll let you know what to do. (Pause) And I might tell you that this has all been done recently - this afternoon - up at Bendix on the "qual(ification)" unit, and it survived it and so we aren't in any real danger, apparently, of destroying it.

170:04:39 Schmitt: Okay. Three times, huh?

170:04:42 Parker: Rog. Or up to three times. (Long Pause)

[Schmitt - "Bendix built a production unit (of the gravimeter) that they put through thermal/vibration qualification tests. The qual unit was presumably identical to the flight unit."]

[Cernan - "They generally had a flight unit, a backup unit, and a qual unit (of most pieces of equipment)."]

[Schmitt - "My guess is that they didn't build a backup gravimeter."]

[Fendell has the TV pointed at the LM. In the background, (West) Family Mountain is to the left of the LM, (Old) Family Mountain is to the right, and the North Massif is on the right edge of the field-of-view. Fendell zooms in and finds Jack, just barely visible far beyond the LM at the ALSEP site.]

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170:05:40 Cernan: Bob, don't let me forget to bring a dustbrush back (to the LM) when I come. I'm going through my checklist...

170:05:44 Parker: Okay. I'll mark that down and remind you. And, Jack, you'll be glad to know that the temperature of the back plate there (on the Central Station) has already dropped twenty degrees - two-zero (20) degrees.

170:05:55 Schmitt: Oh, beautiful! Bob, I don't think that (Central Station) bubble is working.

170:06:00 Parker: Oh.

170:06:01 Schmitt: How's your signal now?

170:06:02 Parker: Stand by. I'll check. But why don't you go to the surface gravimeter? (Pause)

170:06:10 Cernan: Bob, how's your TV lens? I don't have a lens brush. It looks good from here. I don't want to use this (big dustbrush) unless you think so.

170:06:16 Parker: Stand by.

170:06:19 Schmitt: (Singing) "Knock three times."

[The first line of this popular song is "Knock three times on the ceiling if you want me."]

[Journal Contributor Brian Lawrence notes that "'Knock Three Times', by, Dawn, was Number 1 in both the U.K. and U.S. in May 1971."]

170:06:22 Parker: Roger,...

170:06:23 Cernan: Are you satisfied...

170:06:23 Parker: ...Get out of the way please, Jack (means Gene); and we'll take a look against some bright soil.

170:06:29 Schmitt: What?

170:06:30 Cernan: No, that's me he's talking to. (Pause)

170:06:37 Parker: Okay. It looks pretty good, Geno. Go ahead.

170:06:39 Cernan: I don't have one of the lens brushes.

170:06:41 Parker: Yeah, go ahead. It looks pretty good to us.

170:06:45 Cernan: Okay.

170:06:46 Schmitt: Okay, Bob. Here come the raps. Knock three times. (Pause) Okay. (Pause)

[Fendell looks at Geophone Rock and then at the U.S. flag.]
170:07:14 Parker: Okay, Jack. It's really fighting us pretty hard. We'd like you to put the UHT in the socket, and rock it very firmly. Don't pick it up, but rock it very firmly from side to side in all four directions. Move the UHT about 6 inches in each direction while you're doing it.

170:07:36 Schmitt: Okay. (Long Pause) Okay, I rocked it. It (the gimbal)'s swinging.

170:08:07 Parker: Okay. Is it reading...

170:08:08 Schmitt: And the level bubble is (pause) centered. (Long Pause)

170:08:31 Parker: Okay. We understand it's in good configuration again as far as alignment and leveling is concerned, Jack. Let's go on and take some more ALSEP photos, and let them think about it for a minute.

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170:08:41 Schmitt: Okay. What do you want?

[Fendell pulls back on the zoom.]
170:08:44 Parker: Okay. Next, what we want is some heat flow (photos)...(Pause) Okay. We just got late word. They'd like to do it one more time, and then call it quits. (Pause)

170:09:06 Schmitt: The rocking bit, huh?

170:09:07 Parker: Roger. The rocking bit one more time. (Pause)

170:09:17 Cernan: Bob, I may have moved the high-gain. Do you see any change in signal?

170:09:21 Parker: Stand by.

170:09:25 Cernan: If you're happy, I won't touch it. (Pause)

170:09:34 Schmitt: Okay, Bob. It's rocked. The shade is aligned to the Sun now; and it's level.

170:09:46 Parker: Okay. We copy that, and let's go get some ALSEP photos, Jack. I think you got some heat flow photos the other night, besides the two pans. If you did, these may be redundant. They want the cross-Sun and down-Sun of the east hole and cross-Sun and down-Sun of the west hole. And I'm not sure but what you got those earlier. You said you got some extra heat flow, but tell me if you did. All four of these are 7-foot...

170:10:18 Schmitt: I...

170:10:19 Parker: Go ahead.

170:10:22 Schmitt: I'll get the heat flow pictures. (Pause) One was 11-foot, I think. And then the stereopair.

[Fendell pans the TV counter-clockwise.]
170:10:35 Parker: Yeah. I think all they're asking for is the two 7-foot stereopairs. (Pause)

170:10:47 Schmitt: Okay. That's one of them. (Pause)

[Fendell pans past Gene, who is still dusting. Jack takes three photos of the west heat flow hole. AS17-134- 20492 is from the west. Note the rock that Gene used to give the cable a bend from southward to eastward. Frames 20493 and 20494 are a stereopair from the northwest and show the Central Station and Geophone Rock beyond.]
170:10:55 Parker: Okay. What they're asking for, Jack, is a 7-foot down-Sun and a 7-foot cross-Sun, which isn't quite what we've been taking in the past.

170:11:04 Schmitt: I'm getting the standard ones, Bob.

170:11:08 Parker: Copy that. (Pause)

MP3 Audio Clip ( 10 min 57 sec )

170:11:13 Schmitt: Okay. You got the standard documentation.

170:11:16 Parker: Okay...

170:11:17 Schmitt: 11-footers and 7-foot stereos.

170:11:19 Parker: Okay. Go ahead. They can't complain about that, certainly.

[AS17-134-20495 to 20497 are Jack's photos of the east heat flow hole.]

[Frames 20495 and 20496 are a stereopair from the north, with a step taken to the left between frames.]

[Frame 20497 is a down-Sun.]

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170:11:24 Schmitt: Okay. Now what?

170:11:26 Parker: Okay. We'd like a 3-foot shot of the lunar mass spectrometer (LMS), including the orifice where the breakshield was. And, Geno, we are observing some degradation and would like to have the high-gain...

[In the Preliminary Science Report, the spectrometer is called the LACE or Lunar Atmospheric Composition Experiment. "Breakshield" is a reference to a dust shield which covers the entrance port and which will be moved back only after lift-off and the detonation of the seismic packages.]
170:11:39 Schmitt: Cross-Sun?

170:11:43 Parker: Yes, Jack; 3-foot cross-Sun. And, Gene; this is Houston. We'd like to get the high-gain re-oriented a little bit. We're observing some degradation in the picture.

170:11:54 Cernan: I'll tweak it. (Long Pause)

[AS17-134- 20498 and 20499 are Jack's cross-Sun and down-Sun pictures of the Lunar Mass Spectrometer, respectively.]
170:12:10 Schmitt: (To Bob) Okay. Got it. Now what? (No answer; pause) LMS is complete.

170:12:24 Parker: Okay. Copy that. Now we want to go over (to) the neutron flux, Jack.

170:12:30 Schmitt: Okay. (Long Pause) How's the gravimeter doing?

170:12:47 Parker: We're looking at it, Jack. I'm not sure. (Long Pause)

[Fendell has been panning clockwise and reaches the rear of the Rover. Part of Jack's seat is visible and there is no camera or lens in evidence. However, even if Gene has put the camera in place by now, he remembers putting it between the seats, and that part of the Rover is hidden behind the console. Before going to remove the neutron flux probe from the deep core hole, Jack takes three more ALSEP documentation photos. AS17-134- 20500 shows the LEAM and, beyond it, the Central Station, the RTG, and the trash pile. 20501 is an up-Sun of the LSG; and 20502 is a close-up documenting the leveling and alignment.]
170:13:23 Cernan: Hey, Bob. The panel you want covered...(To himself) Yeah, that's the panel. Okay. (To Bob) You want the panel with the On/Off switch and the signal strength switch and so forth covered, don't you?
[Fendell pans counter-clockwise. Gene is referring to the line on CDR-32 which says "Cover LCRU C/D panel with 65% blanket". Evidently, this is the control panel on the left side of the unit which, given the orientation of the Rover, is the south side. They want the LCRU mirror uncovered so that it can radiate and keep the unit relatively cool, and they want to cover the side panel with the blanket to minimize the amount of sunlight it absorbs.]
170:13:41 Parker: Roger. And be sure to get the thing to External before you cover it there, Gene.

170:13:47 Cernan: Okay. That was going to be a question of mine.

170:13:52 Parker: Okay. That goes to External.

170:13:54 Cernan: Okay. It's External.

170:13:55 Schmitt: What do you want me to do at the neutron flux?

170:13:57 Parker: Okay. We want a photograph facing south from 7-foot. So a 7-foot cross-Sun, essentially, of the neutron flux in the soil.

170:14:11 Schmitt: Okay. (Pause) Would you like to have the RTG in that picture?

[AS17-134-20503 shows the treadle-and-jack, the thermal cover on the neutron flux probe, the Central Station, the RTG, the rock which is shielding the neutron flux from the RTG, and Geophone Rock in the background. Frame 20504 appears to be taken with a different focus. Frame 20505 shows the drill stem rack.]
170:14:23 Parker: Oh, I suppose if you're generous, you might take a partial pan around to the RTG. (Pause)
[Fendell points the TV at the LM; Gene is in the way.]
170:14:37 Schmitt: Well, it's just about that direction. (Pause) Okay. Now what?

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170:14:46 Parker: Okay. Now let's remove...(repeating for emphasis) remove the neutron probe experiment from the ground, and turn it off.

170:14:57 Schmitt: Okay. (Pause)

[In brief, the neutron probe consists of targets containing either boron or uranium-235 which, upon capturing neutrons, emit alpha particles or fission fragments which are then captured by plastic or mica detectors. The instrument consists of an outer tube containing the detectors and a central core containing the targets. Because the targets and detectors do not cover the whole surfaces of the core and tube, respectively, the core can be twisted so that the target/detector pairs are either next to each other or 180 degrees apart. In the latter case, very few alpha particles or fission fragments are captured by the detectors and, therefore, the instrument is "off".]
170:15:07 Schmitt: No more on the gravimeter, huh?

170:15:09 Parker: No, the gravimeter is looking very bad, still.

170:15:12 Cernan: Bob, do you want...(Stops to listen)

170:15:15 Schmitt: That's too bad. It really is.

170:15:16 Parker: And, Jack, you might note as you withdraw (the neutron probe)...

170:15:17 Schmitt: There it is.

170:15:18 Parker: ...just how difficult it is to withdraw it. Whether or not it's been seized by the soil collapsing around it or not. That's soil mechanic's goody.

170:15:28 Schmitt: Not at all, not at all.

170:15:29 Cernan: It won't be, I'll tell you!

170:15:31 Schmitt: No problem.

170:15:32 Parker: Okay. We copy that.

170:15:34 Cernan: Okay. The high-gain is tweaked.

170:15:38 Parker: Okay. We'll consider ourselves tweaked.

170:15:44 Cernan: And I'm giving the LCRU another zap here (with the dustbrush). Boy, I tell you, I ain't going to do much more dusting after I leave here. Ever.

170:15:56 Schmitt: Okay. Upper probe is Off...

170:15:56 Cernan: Not (just) today, but evermore.

170:16:00 Schmitt: ...Mark it.

170:16:01 Parker: Copy that.

170:16:05 Cernan: Okay, Bob. (As per CDR-32, near the top) I'm going to put bus B and D, Open, and Aux Circuit Breaker Bypass, On.

170:16:14 Parker: Okay. Copy that.

170:16:19 Cernan: (To himself) And let me see. Bravo. Okay. And Delta. Okay. Bravo and Delta.

[Both Gene and Jack are speaking louder to Bob than to each other or themselves.]
170:16:32 Schmitt: Upper probe is Off...

170:16:35 Schmitt: Mark it.

170:16:36 Parker: Is that upper or lower, Jack?

170:16:39 Schmitt: Up...Oh, lower. I'm sorry, Bob.

170:16:41 Parker: Copy that.

170:16:44 Cernan: Aux Power circuit breaker is On. Bypass, On.

170:16:48 Schmitt: And the lower probe is capped.

170:16:50 Parker: Okay; and, Gene, you need to close that (Rover) Caution and Warning flag. It's a heat sink when it's open, I guess.

[With the flag up, it absorbs more heat than when it is lying flat on the top of the console.]
170:16:59 Cernan: Okay; it's closed.

170:17:01 Parker: Copy that.

170:17:02 Cernan: You want me to put a bag in front of that thing?

170:17:07 Parker: No, I don't think...

170:17:07 Cernan: Want me to put a bag in front of it in case it pops open again? I guess it won't.

170:17:11 Parker: No, I don't think so. I can't imagine why it's really a problem anyway, because we got the Bypass On, there, and that heat's not going anywhere.

170:17:20 Cernan: Okay; and all the switches off. Except my 15 volts.

170:17:25 Schmitt: Bob, you want me away from the ALSEP now?

170:17:28 Parker: Stand by, Jack. I'll get one more word before we come back to the LM.

170:17:35 Schmitt: Okay. (Pause)

[AS17-134- 20506 shows the LM and some Rover tracks. Jack may have taken this picture while waiting for permission to go back to the LM. In a detail, Gene and the Rover can be seen at the VIP site.]
170:17:43 Cernan: (To himself) Okay, I'll get a camera. Over there. I'm going to look under the seats one more time. Nothing but a 500...Okay. Some used tape. (Pause) Okay. That's closed.
[At this point in our transcript review, Jack remembered that the 500 mm lens was mounted on the third camera which was stowed under Gene's seat. The Apollo 17 Spacecraft Packing List confirms the fact, as does the Surface Checklist. We also noticed in the TV that, at this point, Gene is not wearing his 70 mm camera, having taken it off to do the high-gain alignment and other Rover close-out tasks.]
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170:18:00 Parker: Okay. Jack, we're ready to leave the ALSEP.

170:18:04 Schmitt: (Ironic) Well, I hate to do that, Bob.

170:18:08 Cernan: I'm sorry about that gravimeter, though.

170:18:10 Parker: Well, you're not the only one. (Pause) The word is down here there's a whole room full of people who are sorry. (Long Pause)

[Schmitt - (Telling Gene the LSG story) "The LSG was supposed to be a very-long-period gravimeter to sense free-oscillations of the Moon if a gravity wave went by. It was the only potential Nobel-Prize-winning experiment ever taken into space by Apollo. From the very beginning - the initial drawings - they had a mis-design on the weight of the balance beam by a tenth of a gram. It was never picked up. And I didn't know if you remember or not, but when we deployed the flight hardware for the last time in that big Air Force hanger (at the Cape)...We had insisted on deploying the flight hardware. They weren't happy about that, but we insisted on doing it and they had to repack it. But at that time, we stood around and talk about it and I asked "Have you tested the uncaging of the balance beam in a simulated one-sixth g tilt plane?" And they said, "No." And I said "Why?" And they said, "Because the manufacturer had said it would disclose proprietary information." So I probably said, "Well, you ought to do it," and then just forgot about it. Nobody ever tested the uncaging of that balance beam. And it wouldn't uncage. It was just that one-tenth of a gram too heavy and wouldn't uncage to the degree necessary to be a long-period gravimeter. And if you want to be upset about something, you can be upset about that."]

[A more complete discussion of the LSG can be found at 137:45:08.]

[Fendell finds Gene at his seat. He takes an empty SCB to the gate. Fendell pans back to the LM, then points the camera down to look at the battery covers and scans the soil near the Rover.]

170:19:03 Cernan: Okay. (Pause) I've got the LMP's (B&W) camera. Nothing in here (under the seats) but couple of old bags. We used about all the bags we had, Jack! Not many here. (Long Pause) Bob, I have the dustbrush tethered (to his yo-yo).

170:19:43 Parker: Copy the dustbrush.

[The fact that Gene does not mention the 500 mm camera suggests that he has set it between the seats.]
170:19:48 Cernan: Okay; let me get one parting shot (photo) one of the finest running little machines I've ever had the pleasure to drive. (Pause)
[Gene takes AS17-143- 21931 to 21934. One of the best of these is 21933. Note Gene has removed the replacement fender and, from the left side, the rear extension. One seismic charge remains in the transporter. Gene will deployit at the west end of the SEP antenna array at 170:24:16]
170:20:12 Parker: Okay. And, Geno, some people down here are concerned about whether you've opened the battery covers or not.

170:20:20 Cernan: Yes, sir; they're open.

170:20:22 Parker: I copy that.

170:20:29 Cernan: Oh, what a nice little machine! Parked on a little downslope, but at the heading you want, and I guess Ed's satisfied with the TV response, huh?

170:20:41 Parker: Roger. We're satisfied with the TV, Gene. We're ready for you to take the EP number 3. (Pause)

[Gene is now on CDR-33. In Houston, Fendell tells the Flight Director that the distance is "well over" the 450 feet (137 meters) he needs. An analysis of mission photographs of the LM taken at the final parking place and at the SEP deployment site indicates that Gene parked the Rover about 158 meters from the LM.]
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170:20:50 Cernan: Good old Mother Earth is right smack in the center (of the bore site on the high-gain antenna).

[Comm Break. Fendell points the TV back to the LM and finds Jack running toward it.]
170:22:00 Cernan: Bob, while we've got a quiet moment here, as I go to deploy that EP charge, I'd just like to say that any part of Apollo 17 - or any part of Apollo - that has been a success thus far is probably, for the most part, due to the thousands of people in the aerospace industry who have given a great deal - besides dedication and besides effort and besides professionalism - to make it all a reality. And I would just like to thank them. Because what we've done here and what has been done in the past - as a matter of fact, what has been done for 200 years - you've got to contribute (means "attribute") to the spirit of the group of people who form the aerospace industry. And I (say) "God bless you" and "thank you."

170:23:06 Parker: Roger, Gene. And we thank you guys.

170:23:14 Cernan: Well, we're just two little sets of twinkletoes here. There's a lot that goes to getting this Rover running out here that we don't have much to do with. (Long Pause)

170:23:44 Cernan: And I guess there might be someone else that has something to do with it too, and I've been reading His sign - maybe not from Him directly, but His in spirit - as we run up and down that ladder. And that's "Godspeed, the crew of Apollo 17". And if He's listening, I'd like to thank Him, too. (Long Pause)

[Cernan - "We hadn't gotten off the surface yet, and we still needed all the help we could get."]

[Schmitt - "Somebody, I think, had put the message on a rung of the ladder."]

[Cernan - "I guess it had to be up there. It was just as I barely got out. I guess I've got to go along with that. My nature would have been to see that and read it. It was a response to whoever put it there."]

[Schmitt - "It may have been pasted on the strut."]

[As indicated previously, we have been unable to find anything in the photos that looks like a message. However, we only have good, sharp images of about the lower two-thirds of the ladder and strut. And it is entirely possible that there is a message to be found when the site is visited next.]

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170:24:16 Cernan: Pin 1 is pulled.

170:24:27 Parker: Mark that.

170:24:23 Cernan: I'm at the end of the west SEP antenna. Do you agree with that?

170:24:26 Parker: Roger. Exactly right.

170:24:30 Cernan: Okay. Pin 2 is pulled. Still safe. Pin 3 is pulled, and it's still safe.

170:24:40 Parker: Copy that, and...

170:24:41 Cernan: Wonder what I would do if it wasn't. (Chortles)

170:24:45 Parker: And now, also, do you have the SEP transmitter turned off there, Gene?

170:24:49 Cernan: No, sir. Thank you. (Pause)

[Once again, Fendell examines the ground near the Rover.]
MP3 Audio Clip ( 18 min 43 sec )

170:24:53 Parker: Then we're ready for you guys...

170:24:54 Cernan: Okay, Bob...

170:24:54 Parker: ...to get back to the LM and dust and get in.

170:24:56 Cernan: ...it (the charge)'s setting right adjacent to the ring (the SEP antenna spool) on the west end, and I'm going to go back and turn the SEP off.

170:25:07 Parker: Okay. And when that's done, Gene, we're ready for you and your dustbrush to hasten back to the LM and dust each other and climb in.

170:25:17 Cernan: You know what, Bob?

170:25:19 Parker: What, Gene?

170:25:20 Cernan: Great as an experience as it has been, I'd say we're probably both ready.

170:25:26 Schmitt: Oh, I don't know. Hey, Bob, 55 Yankee is an exotic-looking rock I found about 5 meters south of the neutron flux hole. It's another gray - possibly-gray - basalt. It's just that there aren't many of them around here, and so I picked it up.

170:25:43 Parker: Copy that.

[AS17-134-20507 may have been taken at this sample site as a locator. In the distance, we see Gene working around the Rover at the VIP site.]
170:25:48 Schmitt: Cheating a little again.

170:25:51 Cernan: Jack, you'll always be picking rocks.

170:25:55 Schmitt: Oh, I don't know.

170:25:58 Cernan: Okay, the (SEP) transmitter is Off.

170:25:59 Parker: Mark that.

170:26:00 Cernan: (To Jack) I don't blame you. There's so many interesting things around here. (Pause) (To himself) Just don't lose your brush, Gene. Okay, Bob, according to my inventory, I'm going to return to the LM and the (LMP's) camera's going to the ETB.

170:26:25 Parker: That's affirm. We'll have...

[Cernan - "I can sit here and, just as sure as I'm alive at this moment, I can remember placing that camera (on the Rover seat). And I thought it was such a crime to leave a Hasselblad. But we were going to point it with the lens up so that, someday when someone goes back there, they can see the degradation of the lens from the cosmic radiation. And I guess I didn't do it. What can I tell you."]

[Gene wonders if the memory of putting the camera between the seats is actually derived from training. However, the possibility remains that he put the 500 mm camera on the seat.]

170:26:27 Cernan: And we're done with the TGE.

170:26:28 Parker: Roger. (Laughs) We'll need a bias reading if you want to use it again, Gene.

170:26:33 Cernan: Come to think of it, I guess you are (done with the TGE), aren't you. (Pause)

[At 169:51:04, Gene took a moment to see just how far he could throw something as bulky as the TGE.]
170:26:42 Cernan: Where are you, Jack?

170:26:44 Schmitt: I'm at the MESA.

170:26:46 Cernan: Okay.

170:26:49 Schmitt: Trying to snap a snap.

170:26:50 Cernan: I need a "locator" here to the LM. (Pause)

[AS17-146- 21935, 21936, and 21937 are Gene's "locators" from the place where he deployed Seismic charge 3. A detail from 21936 shows the charge. Jack is at the LM, out of sight at the MESA. Note that the end of the antenna arm and, therefore, the charge, is 35 meters west of the SEP transmitter and 110 meters from the LM.]

[At some point before reaching the LM, Jack took six pictures of the spacecraft and flag, AS17-134- 20508 to 20513.]

170:27:05 Parker: Okay; and, 17, we need you guys in the LM in one-five minutes - fifteen minutes - because of oxygen constraints.
[Table 9-II gives EMU consumable status for EVAs 1, 2, and 3. Both Jack and Gene will consistently use more oxygen and cooling water than predicted pre-flight, but will end each EVA with comfortable margins. Jack will finish the EVA with 0.38 pounds of oxygen remaining - of 1.81 pounds loaded - and Gene will have about 0.44 pounds. The minimum acceptable level ( 'Redline' ) is 0.37 pounds.]
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170:27:16 Cernan: Okay, Bob, my pictures are taken; I'm on the way. (Pause) Oh, boy! Where else can you do this? (Long Pause)

[Fendell finds Gene northeast of the LM, moving along with a long, easy skipping stride. He is carrying the replacement fender and the aft section of the left rear fender. See the discussion at 169:59:40.]
170:28:29 Cernan: (At the MESA) If I had landed 30 meters back, Jack, we'd be pitched down 5 degrees. (Pause)

170:28:37 Schmitt: You're right.

[If we assume that Gene left Seismic Charge 3 at 170:27:16, the 145-m run took 1 minute 25 seconds and his average speed was a very respectable 4.6 km/hr. The Apollo 17 record - at least for runs captured with the TV camera, belongs to Jack, who twice achieved 5.4 kph: once at 120:27:11 and again at 121:36:36. For reference, the best timed run on a prior mission was Charlie Duke's 7.9 kph run - 70 meters in 32 seconds - on the rim of North Ray Crater at 167:37:00.]
170:28:40 Cernan: Okay, what they're saying is, I don't need my hammer any more.

170:28:44 Parker: Roger...

170:28:44 Cernan: All we've got to dust and get in.

170:28:45 Parker: ...We want you to dust and get in. We got one-four (14) minutes remaining before we need the hatch closed.

170:28:56 Cernan: Okay, Bob. We're doing our best. (Pause) Well, that RTV worked on the hammer, but look at it, Jack. It's worn completely to a nub (meaning that bare metal is exposed). It's off.

[Details from two photos of Gene taken late in EVA-3 shows, AS17-134-20478 and 479, show an area on the hammer handle where the RTV has worn off. ]
170:29:21 Schmitt: I guess that's all right...

170:29:23 Cernan: Look at...Where are you?

170:29:25 Schmitt: I don't know where I am. Oh, boy, how about that?

170:29:29 Cernan: Okay.

170:29:30 Schmitt: Okay, sir.

170:29:31 Cernan: You ready to go on up?

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170:29:33 Schmitt: Well, I don't know. Got to take my camera off. I got another batch of pictures...the LM and the flag and...

170:29:40 Cernan: Well, watch this real quick.

170:29:42 Schmitt: Stereo, even.

[These photos are AS17-134-20508 to 20513.]
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170:29:43 Cernan: Jack...

MPEG Clip ( 34 sec 4.3 Mb )

170:29:44 Schmitt: Let me have your camera (to put in the ETB). Go ahead (and talk). (Noticing that Gene is about to throw the hammer) Oh, the poor little...Let me throw the hammer.

170:29:48 Cernan: Okay.

170:29:49 Schmitt: Let me throw the hammer? Please.

170:29:50 Cernan: It's all yours.

170:29:51 Schmitt: You got the gravimeter

170:29:52 Cernan: You deserve it. A hammer thrower...You're a geologist. You ought to be able to throw it.

[Schmitt emerges from behind the LM, moving a ways north.]
170:29:56 Schmitt: You ready?

170:29:57 Cernan: Go ahead.

170:29:58 Schmitt: You ready for this? Ready for this?

170:30:00 Cernan: Yeah. Don't hit the LM. Or the ALSEP. (Pause)

[Jack throws the hammer with a discus motion. It is visible against the sky for a long time. Gene's pictures of the hammer throw are, AS17-143- 21938, 21939, 21940, and 21941. The last of these shows Jack as he apparently watches the shower of dust settle at the impact point. Check out Roberto Beltramini's animated gif made from the first three frames.]

[Journal Contributor Danny Caes notes that we can see Jack's right eye - and, less clearly, the rest of his face in 21941. An enhanced detail shows that, at the time Gene took the picture, Jack was actually looking to his left. This photo emphasizes that fact that helmet orientation tells us very little about head orientation at any given moment. The astronauts had quite a bit of freedom of head movement within the helmet volume.]

[In 1999, Journal Contributor Jim Scotti realized that Gene took four pictures of the hammer throw. "Some time ago, while watching Apollo 17 video tapes, I saw Harrison H. "Jack" Schmitt toss his hammer off into the distance. More recently, while browsing the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal on a cloudy night at Kitt Peak National Observatory, I happened across some B&W images taken by Gene Cernan at the end of the last EVA and what did I see in one of those images up in the pitch black sky? A small streaky image that looked like it might be the hammer in flight. So, I examined some prints in the Lunar and Planetary Lab's Space Imagery Center and sure enough, it is the hammer which can be seen in two consecutive images (end on in the 2nd) and in a 3rd, I found the plume of dust from the hammer's impact! Curiosity led me to dig up some images taken from inside the LM after the EVA and sure enough, with the help of the plume image telling me where to look, I found several images which show the hammer lying out on the lunar surface! Go see the images."]

170:30:07 Cernan: Look at that! Look at that! Look at that!

170:30:12 Schmitt: Beautiful.

170:30:14 Cernan: Looked like it was going a million miles, but it really didn't.

170:30:17 Schmitt: Didn't it?

[Because of the Rover's location east of the LM, none of the following close-out activities are visible.]
170:30:19 Cernan: Okay, here, this is an ETB.

170:30:20 Schmitt: Let me make sure that that's all cinched up.

170:30:22 Cernan: Okay. And then start on up. We got to get going here.

170:30:27 Schmitt: Yeah. Unfortunately, their little plan didn't count for the fact that it's hard to pack the ETB with the film magazines in it.

170:30:34 Cernan: And I'll try and get the big bag here cinched up.

170:30:38 Schmitt: That is a major task.

170:30:39 Cernan: Yes, that's going to be...Oh, is it heavy. Is it heavy. Something in that core tube you put in there?

170:30:45 Schmitt: Yes, sir.

170:30:46 Cernan: Okay.

170:30:47 Schmitt: Don't tell anybody, though, because they'll get mad at me.

[Schmitt - "I grabbed one of the unused core tubes, grabbed hold of the strut, and leaned on it underneath the LM, just behind the strut, and pushed it in as far as I could. And I think it went in about two-thirds of the way, and then I capped it."]
170:30:49 Cernan: Oh, man, is that (big bag) heavy. Holy smoley. Oh! (Pause; static)

170:31:03 Schmitt: (Garbled) 252 has about three-quarters of a core - hand pushed (into the ground) - (taken about) half a meter inside the plus-Y (north) footpad.

170:31:24 Parker: Okay; copy that.

170:31:29 Cernan: Okay, Jack, how's that ETB coming so you can get going?

170:31:31 Schmitt: Fine.

170:31:32 Cernan: Okay, I've got to...

170:31:33 Schmitt: I've got to put it on the strap, though.

170:31:37 Cernan: I can get that. This is all cinched up. I think it'll hold. Why don't you start on up? Then I'll start dusting you.

170:31:47 Schmitt: Okay. (Pause)

170:31:52 Cernan: Okay. Very good.

170:31:54 Schmitt: Anything fall out?

170:31:55 Cernan: Nope.

170:31:56 Schmitt: Okay. Oh...

170:31:58 Cernan: Let me dust you. Set that down, and I'll hand it all to you.

170:31:59 Schmitt: Okay, you'll have to hand stuff...

170:32:01 Parker: Okay; and, 17, a reminder. We need you inside in 10 minutes.

170:32:07 Cernan: Okay, Bob. (To Jack) I'll get your front real quick. (Long Pause)

170:32:24 Schmitt: I'll do a lot of jumping up here in a minute.

170:32:25 Cernan: Your back is clean.

170:32:29 Schmitt: I'll get the legs as best I can.

170:32:30 Cernan: Okay. Why don't you get me here before you do that?

170:32:33 Schmitt: Okay. And while I'm doing that, will you take this...

170:32:35 Cernan: (Garbled)

170:32:36 Schmitt: I'll get it.

170:32:37 Cernan: Okay. (Pause)

170:32:45 Schmitt: Boy, you got dirty today. I think we're just going to have to live with it. (Pause)

170:32:57 Cernan: Get my top. I can kick a lot of that stuff off my legs. (Pause) How do I look in back?

170:33:06 Schmitt: Terrible. (Long Pause) Okay, turn. Oh, man. (Pause) You're going to have to...Your legs are really filthy. Not much I can do about it.

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170:33:35 Cernan: Okay, I'll get them off. Why don't you start back...

170:33:36 Schmitt: Just kick them against each other when you go up.

170:33:37 Cernan: Okay. Start on up.

170:33:41 Schmitt: You might shake the bags.

170:33:42 Cernan: Okay.

170:33:45 Parker: And don't forget your PLSS an...

170:33:49 Schmitt: (Responding to Bob) No.

170:33:51 Cernan: Do what?

170:33:52 Schmitt: PLSS antennas.

170:33:53 Cernan: Okay.

170:33:55 Schmitt: Although it doesn't make much difference anymore.

170:33:59 Cernan: That's to get them out of the way. The big bag didn't stay closed very long.

170:34:04 Schmitt: I don't know how we're going to get that in.

170:34:06 Cernan: Well, I can hand it to you.

170:34:08 Schmitt: It never had a very good closure on it...

170:34:12 Cernan: That Velcro won't hold.

170:34:13 Schmitt: ...but it can be closed.

170:34:14 Cernan: I had it over the top. The latch was closed, but...

170:34:19 Schmitt: Oh, it won't hold with all that weight in there. Okay, I got your antenna.

170:34:22 Cernan: Okay, let me get a high...Got to close this. You don't want that in your way.

170:34:27 Schmitt: I can't close it.

170:34:29 Cernan: Oh. (Chuckles) Okay. (Pause)

170:34:39 Schmitt: You might try. (Pause)

170:34:45 Cernan: Get all your flaps? (Pause) Okay, hold your head down. (Pause) No.

170:35:02 Schmitt: Won't go, huh?

170:35:03 Cernan: No. Will that bother you getting in?

[Gene has been unable to get Jack's antenna tied down. Here, they are deciding to leave it up.]
170:35:04 Schmitt: I can probably make it.

170:35:05 Cernan: Okay, head on up. (Pause)

170:35:10 Schmitt: (Missing the rung) Oops. Try that again. Okay, why don't you hand me the neutron flux, and I'll put it...

170:35:20 Cernan: Okay, neutron flux.

170:35:21 Schmitt: ...on the platform. (Pause) Okay.

170:35:27 Cernan: Why don't you start in, and I'll get some of these bags (the full SCBs) out of the way.

170:35:30 Schmitt: Well, I just...(Pause) You don't want to hand them to me up here?

170:35:38 Cernan: Okay.

170:35:41 Parker: And, Jack, for your thoughts, we've agreed that you can delete the tracking light. We'd like to get you guys in as soon as possible. Seven minutes now. And we'll delete the tracking light test.

[Jack is on cuff checklist page LMP-32. Gene is on CDR-34.]

[Cernan - "Jack was supposed to turn the tracking light on so that I could see if it was blinking. Ron needed to track us visually. Bob was getting quite worried about us getting in, because I remember that I told him, 'Don't worry, we're doing it.' Jack and I felt like we had our act together. We weren't pushing against oxygen starvation or anything like that. I can see the guys back here in the MOCR saying, 'Get 'em in, get 'em in. They're down to mission-critical oxygen, a mission rule,' or what have you. But this is a time when we really felt we had it together. We knew what we were doing, we knew what we had to do. We'd been in and out of that hatch three or four times already."]

[Schmitt - "It looks like I got in in two and a half minutes."]

[Cernan - "It looks like you got in awful quick."]

170:35:51 Cernan: Okay. (Pause)

170:35:57 LM Crew: (Garbled) (Pause)

170:36:09 Schmitt: Okay, that's all I can handle up here. One more and I can put it up here.

170:36:15 Cernan: Watch the cover on this one. (Pause) Got it?

170:36:19 Schmitt: Got it.

170:36:20 Cernan: Stand it up, because the cover won't hack it. (Long Pause)

170:36:43 Cernan: Okay. Soon as you get on in, I'll come up to the porch. (Long Pause)

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170:37:29 Schmitt: Where's that EVA pallet that's always in my way?

170:37:33 Parker: I think we aren't going to have one of those (an EVA) tomorrow, Jack, so we did away with that. (Pause) We hope we're not going to have one of those tomorrow.

170:37:41 Cernan: Bob, we're maximizing our efforts, so just bear with us. Jack's going to be in about 30 seconds, and I'm on the ladder hauling some stuff up now. (Light static starts)

[Gene is on CDR-35.]
170:37:56 Parker: Roger. "Don't panic."

170:38:02 Cernan: Well, we're not. I just don't want you to.

170:38:05 Parker: I never panic there, guys. (Pause)

170:38:14 Schmitt: (In the cabin by now) Got some stuff for me?

170:38:16 Cernan: Yes, sir. (Pause) This is not the time to rush. It's the time to do it nice and slow and right.

170:38:26 Schmitt: Oh, we're all right.

170:38:27 Cernan: Okay. (Pause) You're not going to like this (big bag), but I'm going to give you this one first because I've got it in my hand.

170:38:38 Schmitt: Either one. (Pause)

170:38:48 Schmitt: Oh, hang in there...I've got it! Oh, that's a heavy bag.

170:38:53 Cernan: That is heavy, babe. Let me tell you, that's heavy. (Pause)

[Schmitt - "I wouldn't be surprised if we had almost a hundred pounds in that big bag. I think that all the big rocks were in there. But it's strange, that's still not a lot of weight. We must have been feeling the mass more than the weight."]

[The actual weight of the big bag, as reported at 171:36:39, is 71 terrestrial pounds or 12 lunar pounds. This is slightly more than half the 137 pounds of samples they collected during this EVA.]

[Cernan - "Relatively, I guess it was heavy. We didn't pick up a hundred pounds of stuff very often. We picked up the Rover together; but everything else we picked up - relatively speaking - was a lot lighter than that."]

[Fendell points the TV at the ground. This is a somewhat risky thing to do, considering that the Flight Director probably would not be eager to have Gene spend five minutes to go out and fix it.]

170:39:06 Schmitt: Okay; next.

170:39:08 Cernan: Can you reach that one? If not, I'll shove it in further.

170:39:11 Schmitt: I got it. (Pause) Okay.

170:39:22 Cernan: One more coming at you.

170:39:23 Schmitt: Okay.

170:39:24 Cernan: Tilting up right now.

170:39:26 Schmitt: Go ahead. (Long Pause)

[Fendell is looking at Earth.]
170:39:39 Schmitt: Okay, next.

170:39:41 Cernan: Okay, tilting up at you.

170:39:42 Schmitt: Got it.

170:39:44 Cernan: Okay? (Pause)

170:39:48 Schmitt: Okay, next. Okay, Bob, we've got...

170:39:53 Cernan: Oh, here...

170:39:55 Schmitt: Big bag, three SRCs (means "SCBs") and a neutron flux.

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170:39:59 Parker: Okay, and we gather an ETB coming up with two cameras in it.

[The ETB is hanging near the ground from the lanyard. Gene is pulling it up by hand.]
170:40:04 Schmitt: ETB's next. (Pause) (To Gene) Got an ETB? Yeah. (Pause) ETB has two cameras.

170:40:19 Parker: Okay. And as you guys say farewell to the Moon, we're looking up to the Earth (with the Rover TV camera) down here where you guys are returning pretty soon.

170:40:29 Cernan: (To Jack) Okay.

170:40:30 Schmitt: You're going to have to push that.

170:40:31 Cernan: Okay, let me get it.

170:40:33 Schmitt: That's all right. I'll wait until you're ready.

170:40:36 Cernan: Okay? Can you make it?

170:40:40 Schmitt: Yeah, I've got it.

170:40:42 Cernan: Okay, let me get that other thing (garbled). (Pause)

[Fendell points the TV at the LM.]
170:41:00 Cernan: Bob, this is Gene, and I'm on the surface; and, as I take man's last step from the surface, back home for some time to come - but we believe not too long into the future - I'd like to just (say) what I believe history will record. That America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow. And, as we leave the Moon at Taurus- Littrow, we leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind. "Godspeed the crew of Apollo 17."

170:41:55 Parker: Roger, Geno. Thank you very much. (Pause)

[Journal Contributor Rob Bourke had an opportunity to interview Gene during a visit to the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, in September 2000. He writes that his opening question concerned Gene's final words on the surface ""Was it on purpose or pure chance that the words, 'America' and 'Challenge' also happened to be the call sign names of his two spacecraft on that flight? (That is, Command Module 'America' and Lunar Module 'Challenger'.) It was a great opener. He responded with a genuine smile and said that no one had asked about that before and that it was not a coincidence at all. The crew had very carefully chosen their spacecraft names for their symbolism and he wanted to invoke those names in his final words. He had not flown to the Moon with anything prepared and his short speech had come to him, in full, only a few minutes before it was time to leave the surface."]

[Journal Contributor Larry McGlynn provides a photo he took, also in 2000, at the Kansas Cosmosphere, showing the back of the 'BSLSS Doff' page of Gene's EVA-3 cuff checklist ( 426k ). This page is the last in the checklist and the back was orginally blank. On it, Gene wrote the text of the plaque afixed to the ladder and, below the line, the words "Chall(enge) of Apollo. Door Promise."]

[This note is clearly related to the remarks Gene made before climbing the ladder and, in October 2005, I wrote to Gene asking if this was a reminder to himself for this purpose and when he had written the note the 'night' before the EVA. On his behalf, his Executive Assistant, Claire Johnson wrote, "To answer your questions, yes the notes below the line were a 'tickler' for Gene to remind him of what he wanted to say before leaving the lunar surface. He wanted to tie in the (LM) Challenger and (CSM) America into his final words and he wrote down the inscription on the placque as a reminder. And yes, he wrote these notes down the night before EVA-3."]

[I infer from this that Gene had a general idea about what he wanted to say but that, as he told Rob Bourke, he decided shortly before climbing the ladder and, in the process, changing 'Challenge of Apollo' to 'America's challenge'.]

170:42:01 Cernan: Bob, I am up on the ladder and I'm going to be going through the hatch. (Long Pause)

170:42:18 Schmitt: Gene, I've got to get out of your way.

170:42:20 Cernan: Yup. (Long Pause; static)

[Here, Jack is closing the hatch so that he can get behind it and give Gene room to get in the cabin.]
170:42:42 Schmitt: Okay.

170:42:43 Cernan: Okay, let me...(Pause) Okay, babe, here I come.

170:42:51 Schmitt: Come on in.

170:42:53 Cernan: Hatch look good to you?

170:42:54 Schmitt: Well, it's dirty.

170:42:56 Cernan: Okay.

170:42:57 Schmitt: Keep her down. Buttons. (Pause) Come towards me a little. There you go. (Pause) Okay, you've got it.

170:43:15 Cernan: Okay, I'm inside the hatch.

170:43:18 Schmitt: Okay.

[Fendell points the TV at the ground again, possibly for thermal reasons.]
170:43:19 Cernan: Let me look at that hatch once more.

170:43:21 Schmitt: Okay.

170:43:24 Cernan: That's the last time we want to have to open that.

170:43:27 Schmitt: Caught in the same way again (on the DSKY).

170:43:28 Cernan: Yep. Let me just...I can see down there.

170:43:30 Schmitt: I can see (the hatch seal)...

170:43:31 Cernan: Does it look good to you?

170:43:33 Schmitt: It's clear.

170:43:34 Cernan: Okay.

170:43:36 Schmitt: There is a little bit of dust but it's all in the...I don't think the seal's affected.

170:43:38 Cernan: Roger.

170:43:42 Schmitt: There you go.

170:43:43 Cernan: If I can turn around.

170:43:44 Schmitt: Yes, I've got to get out of your way.

170:43:46 Cernan: Yup, I'll wait for you. (Long Pause)

170:44:31 Cernan: Yeah, now I can.

170:44:33 Schmitt: Okay. Let me get my hand over here. Okay, I'm out of your way.

170:44:39 Cernan: Okay. And...

170:44:44 Schmitt: Close the hatch.

170:44:46 Cernan: Hatch is closed. Let's see if I can lock it.


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