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Retracing the Steps of Apollo 15
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Retracing the Steps of Apollo 15

November 29, 2012
The Apollo "J" missions were designed to allow the crews to stay and work longer on the Moon's surface and included a Lunar Rover so they could explore several kilometers away from the Lunar Module. Hadley Rille and the Apennine Mountains provided a dramatic backdrop for the first Apollo "J" mission. This landing site presented Apollo 15 Commander Dave Scott and Lunar Module Pilot Jim Irwin not only a spectacular view, but access to two key geologic features: a "young" volcanic sinuous rille and "older" highland massifs. These geologic features afforded a chance to sample different events from the Moon's geologic history: early crust formation and late stage volcanism. Over the course of 3 EVAs (Extra-vehicular Activities), Scott and Irwin covered a total distance of approximately 28 km (17.4 miles), collected approximately 77 kg (170 lbs) of rock and soil samples, and spent 18.5 hours exploring the Moon's surface. The LROC Narrow Angle Cameras (NAC) provided 50 cm/pixel resolution images of the Apollo 15 landing site. Previous images showed the Lunar Module descent stage, Lunar Rover, ALSEP instruments, and darkened paths of regolith disturbed by the crew and the rover. he third and final EVA of Apollo 15 brought the astronauts to the edge of Hadley Rille (lower left). Disturbed regolith is observed along the crater rim at station 9 and at the edge of the rille at station 9A. Rover tracks are visible between stations 9A and 10. Image width is 520 m, 0.52 m/pixel, LROC NAC M11171816R. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University


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