Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day we feature a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

December 10, 1995
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Apollo 14 Deploys ALSEP
Credit: NASA, Johnson Space Center

Explanation: After the lunar module of Apollo 14 set down on the Moon, Astronauts Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell deployed the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP) and collected samples of lunar material. The ALSEP scientific experiments included a seismometer sensitive to slight lunar surface movements, and charged particle detectors which measured the solar wind. The seismometer successfully measured surface tremors interpreted as moonquakes and meteoroids striking the Moon, while the solar wind experiment was sensitive enough to detect the element argon. These and other ALSEP experiments helped classify the internal structure and magnetic field of Earth's Moon. Shepard and Mitchell also made a geology traverse to the rim of Cone Crater, carrying their tools and sample containers in the Modular Equipment Transporter (MET). In this picture Alan Shepard assembles a core tube which he will then hammer into the surface.

Tomorrow's picture: NGC 5189: A Strange Planetary Nebula

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (GMU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA).
NASA Technical Rep.: Sherri Calvo. Specific rights apply.
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