Landing site of the Apollo 11 in the Sea of Tranquility. Credit: NASA

Landing site of the Apollo 11 in the Sea of Tranquility. Credit: NASA

Good morning, Earthlings!

I was reading through the transcripts of the Apollo 11 mission over the weekend and found some lovely notes on the astronauts' descriptions of the lunar surface and rocks to relay back to Houston Mission Control in July, 1969. One of the main purposes for the astronauts was not only to collect rock samples for return studies, but also give a first-hand look at the surroundings. Needless to say, the astronauts had to go through extensive geology field and sample training- how to describe rocks, the handling of samples, and preservation. 629 pages of these transcripts were provided by Johnson Space Center.

Here are some quotes from the Apollo 11 crew as they explore the lunar surface and collect rock samples! 629 pages is a lot, so here are only a few general quotes on the Sea of Tranquility Landing Site!

1-Relatively level plain crated with a fairly large number of craters of the five to fifty foot radii…and I would guess literally thousands of little one and two foot craters around the area.

2- I’m at the foot of the ladder. The (Lunar Module) foot pads are only depressed in the surface about 1 or 2 inches. Although the surface appears to be very, very fine grained, as you get close to it. It’s almost like a powder.

3- It has a stark beauty all its own.

4-The hard rock samples have what appear to be vesicles in the surface…some sort of phenocryst.

5- I say the thing that would most like it on earth is the powdered graphite.

Apollo 11 sample shown with vesicles caused by basaltic air bubble release. Credit: NASA

Apollo 11 sample shown with vesicles caused by basaltic air bubble release. Credit: NASA

Some more exciting stuff coming up! Next week- winds on planets!