Moons
Moons

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Moons

4.3.3 Bringing Moon samples to Earth

But it wasn’t just astronauts that NASA brought safely back to Earth. The six Apollo missions brought back a total of 382 kg of Moon rocks and fine dust (regolith) from the lunar surface, which is roughly equivalent to five extra astronauts.

Three unmanned Soviet Luna missions (Luna 16, 20 and 24) also brought back a total of 0.326 kg of lunar regolith samples. By comparison, one of the largest rocks collected by Apollo astronauts was sample 15555, from the Apollo 15 mission; this single sample had a mass of 9.614 kg, about 30 times the total mass of all the Soviet Moon samples put together.

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BUZZ ALDRIN
OK, the contingency sample is down. And it's [INAUDIBLE] sample. Looks like it's a little difficult to dig through the initial crust...
NEIL ARMSTRONG
It's very interesting. It's a very soft surface. But here and there where I plug with the contingency sample collector, I run into a very hard surface. But it could be very cohesive material of the same sort. I'll try to get a rock in here. Just a couple.
BUZZ ALDRIN
That looks beautiful from here, Neil.
NEIL ARMSTRONG
It has a stark beauty all its own. It's like the United States. It's different, but it's very pretty out here. Be advised that a lot of the rock samples out here, the hard rock samples have what appear to be vesicles in the surface. Also, I'm looking at one now that appears to have some sort of phenocrysts.
MICHAEL COLLINS
Houston, roger. Out
BUZZ ALDRIN
OK, the handle is off the [INAUDIBLE] It pushes in about, oh, 6 or 8 inches into the surface. Looks like it's quite easy to [INAUDIBLE].
NEIL ARMSTRONG
Yes, it is. I'm sure I could push it in farther, but it's hard for me to bend down farther than that.
BUZZ ALDRIN
I didn't know you could throw so far.
NEIL ARMSTRONG
You can really throw things a long way up here. Is my pocket open, Buzz?
BUZZ ALDRIN
Yes, it is. It's not up against your suit, though. Hit it back once more, more towards the inside. OK, that's good.
NEIL ARMSTRONG
That's in the pocket?
BUZZ ALDRIN
Yeah, push down. You got it? No, it's not all the way in. Push it. There you go.
NEIL ARMSTRONG
Contingency sample is in the pocket. My oxygen is 81%. I have no flags. And I'm in minimum flow.
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