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Blow Off the Dust

Compiled by Eric Jones.
Last revised 27 July 2014.


On four occasions during the Apollo 16 EVA's LMP Charlie Duke tried to blow dust off things.  Because he was wearing a pressure helmet, "it didn't work." On two separate occasions involving dusty objects, EVA CapCom Tony England and, later, CDR John Young jokingly urged Charlie to "blow on it".  The following table details the six occassions.  All but one happen during the first EVA.  The final one is at the first EVA-2 geology stop.  It is Charlie who starts off making fun of himself; implicitly giving Tony and John permission to join in.

Ground Elapsed Time (hhh:mm:ss)
Installing dusty film magazine
120:07:35 Duke: Okay, I'm putting on magazine Bravo (aka AS16-114)...(Stops to listen)  Okay, magazine Bravo is going on the Commander's camera.
[Charlie is wearing John's camera.  He is holding the film magazine in his left hand and removes a dark slide with his right hand.  The magazine is a cube about 3 to 4 inches - 7 to 10 cm - on a side.]
120:07:45 Duke: (Blows)  I just tried to blow off the dust (from the magazine), Tony.  And it's starting at frame count number 4.

120:07:53 England: Okay.

120:07:54 Young: That (trying to blow the dust off) won't work, Charlie.
[Charlie inserts the magazine at the back of the camera and then reaches down with his left hand to get the handle-mounted trigger and advances the film by one or two frames.]
120:07:55 England: Bravo 4; and keep count of how many times you blow off the dust.

120:07:56 Duke: It didn't get it off, John.  (Responding to Tony)  Well, it didn't work, so...
[Charlie takes the CDR camera off his RCU bracket and puts it on John's seat.]
PIcks up dropped TV sunshield
120:18:21 Duke: I dropped the sunshield, John.
[Charlie grabs the MESA with his left hand and drops to his knees, illustrating the point discussed above.  He has to lean forward to get the sunshield and, as he rises, he hops forward, out of the TV field-of-view, to get his feet under his center of gravity.]
120:18:24 Duke: (Straining) Ahhh, I've got it, now.

120:18:27 Young: Covered with dirt?

120:18:28 Duke: (To Houston) Second blow of dust off, Tony, but it didn't work.

120:18:33 England: Okay; that's two.  (Pause)
Picks up a rock and examines it, trying to find a clean surface so he can tell what it is
121:53:10 Duke: Look at that!  (Pause)
[Charlie has noticed an intriguing rock near the rack.  He tries to bob down to get it with his left hand.  He misses the rock and nearly falls.  He scrambles to his left to regain his balance.]
121:53:16 Young: Okay, Charlie.  We're about ready to go with the geophones here.

121:53:19 Duke: Wait a minute.  I got the most beautiful thing here.  I got to pick this up, before I lose it.  (Pause)
[This time, Charlie goes down on both knees and falls forward onto his hands as he grabs the rock.  He then pushes back a little and tries to run under his center of gravity;  He doesn't make it and falls back on hands and knees.]
121:53:33 Duke: Agh!  (Pause)
[Once he gets settled, Charlie gives a hard push back with his hands and, as his PLSS rotates over his knees, he stands without much difficulty.  This is the standard technique.  Once on his feet, Charlie examines the rock, turning it as he tries to find a clean surface.]
121:53:46 England: Blow on it.

121:53:50 Duke: Huh?

121:53:51 England: Blow on it.

121:53:53 Young: What did you say, Tony?<p>

121:53:56 Duke: (replying to Tony) Yeah.  I was going to.  (Pause)
Charlie mentions that there is dirt of the PSE skirt
122:06:24 Duke: Tony, the PSE skirt has some dust kicked on it - on the north side a little bit.

122:06:31 Young: Blow it off, Charlie.

122:06:32 Duke: Oh, I can't do that.
Installing a film magazine
122:49:27 Duke: Okay.  Magazine Golf (G/109) is going on (the LMP camera) at frame count 2.

122:49:30 England: Okay, Golf, 2.

122:49:31 Young: Not a bit (of dust) on the lens, though.

122:49:32 Duke: I know it.

122:49:35 Young: Fantastic.  (Pause)
[Charlie removes the dark slide from the new magazine and puts it in the seat pan.  He raises the magazine to his faceplate.]
122:49:41 Duke: Third blow (to get dust off something), Tony. (Pause)
Assembling double core?
144:42:49 Duke: Tony, mark me down for one more...(Stops to listen)
Mark me down for one more blow.  Trying to get the dust off.  Man, I don't
want to get down there too far (because) this thing is steep.  Okay, Tony.
I'm to the 2:30 position of the Rover, and I'm going to start with this
double core.  Got it assembled.  Okay.  I pushed it in.  (Straining
slightly) Almost up...Well, I did.  I got in almost to the top of the first
stem by pushing it in.


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