August 18, 2015

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Last Rocks from the Moon

Originally published August 18, 2004



Image Credit: KC Pau

Last Rocks from the Moon

On August 18, 1976 - 28 years ago today - the Luna 24 spacecraft landed on the Moon in southeastern Mare Crisium. Following two previous failures (Oct 1974 and Oct 1975) Luna 24 successfully landed at 12.25 degrees N, 62.2 degrees E, just a few hundred meters from the damaged Luna 21 spacecraft. A drill bored down 2.5 meters into the mare regolith (surface soil and smashed rocks) and saved the core samples curled up like an intestine in a protective cylinder that was launched back to Earth. The returned 170 grams of lunar samples - the last brought from the Moon - were very low titanium basalts, 3.30 billion years old - younger than most other sampled lunar basalts. The eastern limb and Crisium area deserves more high resolution imaging, such as this shot by KC, because the Lunar Orbiter IV cameras failed while imaging this region.

Chuck Wood

Technical Details:
Oct 11, 2003. 10" f/6 Newtonian + 5x Barlow + Phillips Toucam Pro, 230 frames stacked; 3 images mosaicked. Luna 24 image from NASA NSSDC.

Related Links:
Tracking Luna 24
Alexei Leonov painting of Luna 24

Yesterday's LPOD: Rima Weird

Tomorrow's LPOD: A New Dome?

Author & Editor:
Charles A. Wood


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