NASA HISTORY: Crew of Apollo 12 Splashed Down After 10-Day Trip To Moon 47 Years Ago Today

By  //  November 24, 2016

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Returned with 30 kilograms of lunar material


NASA – On November 24, 1969, the crew of Apollo 12 successfully splashed down in the Pacific Ocean. The crew of three, Pete Conrad, Dick Gordon, and Alan Bean, spent 10 days away from Earth; a day and a half of which Conrad and Bean spent on the surface of the Moon.

With them in the capsule at splashdown the astronauts had more than 30 kilograms of lunar material including, rocks, soil samples, and drill cores from the surface. Most of these samples were basalts that had formed on the lunar surface more than 3 billion years ago.

The samples from Apollo 12 differed enough in age and composition from those at the Apollo 11 site for scientists to determine that the Moon had melted and cooled at different rates during its formation.

The samples, now stored at the Lunar Sample Facility Laboratory at the Johnson Spaceflight Center have proved invaluable in broadening our understanding of the Moon’s formation and geological history.

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Conrad, Gordon and Bean also carried with them parts of the Surveyor 3 spacecraft that had landed on the Moon two and a half years before them. This is the only robotic spacecraft that has been visited at its landing site by humans (so far).

Learn about all of the samples here: