Saturday, July 25, 2009


At first blush they might look like camping implements... but you'd be off by a few tens of thousands of dollars. This is the tool suite for rock and soil collection on the moon. Developed to be lightweight, efficient and strong, these geology instruments were critical to the success of the Apollo landings, more so as each mission plan developed. By Apollo 17, the rock hammer in particular had gotten a workout as never before, as Harrison Schmitt, assisted by a percussive Gene Cernan, gathered more samples with better documentation than any prior mission.

From top: soil digging and trenching shovel, alloy rock hammer, and short-handle scoop. All tools courtesy of the Kansas Cosmosphere.

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Welcome to the Missions to the Moon book blog. This is a place to re-live the heady days of the Apollo and Soyuz lunar programs- perhaps the crowning achievements of the 20th Century. Many blog entries will include a new downloadable image or artifact from the space age- items rarely seen and not available in print. It's all in the spirit of my newest book, Missions to the Moon- to remember the great adventure of the Golden Age of space exploration, and ponder what wonders await us in space.

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