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Moons of our Solar System
Moons of our Solar System

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3.5 Handling pieces of the Moon

As the only extraterrestrial rocks to be deliberately brought to Earth, great care was taken when packaging the samples before they left the Moon. Samples were placed into separate, individually labelled bags and then packaged in batches into larger sample boxes for the return journey to Earth.

To protect them from coming into contact with any terrestrial atmospheric gases, some samples were placed inside specially designed, airtight containers (named SESC, or Special Environmental Sample Containers). These were then opened inside vacuum chambers in the newly established Lunar Receiving Laboratory, at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

Described image
Figure 18 Apollo 12 Special Environmental Sample Container, containing lunar regolith (lunar ‘soil’) held by astronaut Alan Bean.