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Apollo 16 Footsteps Under High Sun
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Apollo 16: Footsteps Under High Sun

November 30, 2012
This location has been identified as a region of interest because many important scientific questions could be answered by studying it. For example, like other Apollo landing sites, the artifacts left at the Apollo 16 site provide a record of space weathering at the site since 1972. Various planned (and accidental) long duration exposure experiments (like NASA's Long Duration Exposure Facility, experiments on Mir, etc.) have been studied, but all of these have been from facilities in low-Earth orbit. Studying what decades of exposure to the lunar environment does to hardware will provide key inputs to engineers designing future systems to operate for long periods in extra-terrestrial environments, such as the moon, Mars, asteroids and others. The Apollo 16 site also provides access to highlands regolith and rocks; highlands rocks make up about 70 percent of the lunar surface, and this landing site would be a great place to study additional samples that would help us characterize the materials that comprise the majority of the lunar surface. LROC Wide Angle Camera monochrome mosaic of the Cayley Plains (smooth areas) and Descartes Mountains surrounding the Apollo 16 landing site (arrow indicates approximate position of the lunar module). Image M116215423M, scene width is 65 km (about 40 miles). Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University