December 13: It’s Orange!
Coloured soil on the Moon is unusual. Apollo 15 found green glass deposits but mostly the Moon is a variety of greys and browns. Jack Schmitt, a geologist, was, therefore, understandably elated to discover something very different – and orange. This is how Schmitt told Cernan what he had found:
SCHMITT There is orange soil!
CERNAN Well, don’t move it ’till I see it.
SCHMITT It’s all over, orange!
CERNAN Don’t move it ’till I see it.
SCHMITT I stirred it up with my feet.
CERNAN Hey it is, I can see it from here.
SCHMITT It’ s orange!
CERNAN Wait a minute, let me put my visor up, it’s
SCHMITT Sure is. Crazy! Orange!
(from the Apollo Mission Transcripts)
Listen to and watch the discovery here.
The patch of soil was the result of fire fountains of volcanic lava which cool before falling back to the surface as tiny orange glass beads.
There is still much to learn from the Apollo 17 mission. Moon Zoo needs your help to explore the Apollo 17 landing site. Celebrate the anniversary with us. Go to http://www.moonzoo.org/ and start clicking! Follow “live” mission tweets from @moonzoo