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Apollo 16 Preliminary Science ReportEver since Galileo's telescope made the rugged lunar surface more clearly visible (in 1610), men have strived to learn more about the origin and history of the Earth's big natural satellite, and never has so much progress been made as in the last few years. The fifth manned lunar landing was in a highlands area, quite different from the sites visited previously, and the discoveries there now seem certain to result in significant improvements in the hypotheses of lunar scientists.

Much of the Moon's surface is similar to the Descartes Highlands that the Apollo 16 astronauts examined. From this highly productive mission, more photographs were obtained than on any previous Apollo flight, a greater amount of time was spent outside the lunar module, a greater weight of scientific equipment landed on the Moon, and a record weight of scientific samples was brought back to laboratories on Earth. The network of automatic scientific stations at work on the Moon was extended into a new area and has since detected a moonquake caused by the largest meteoroid impact that has yet been recorded. Additional experiments on the surface and in flight also were successfully performed on this mission for the enlightenment of students of natural phenomena. The Apollo 16 astronauts observed, and scientists studying material they collected have subsequently deduced, that this landing site differed surprisingly from earlier expectations.

Future generations consequently may benefit from better concepts of the operation of the solar system and events throughout the physical universe than have hitherto been possible. This volume is but one of a series of NASA Special Publications being issued promptly to document potentially significant discoveries in the course of the Apollo Program, thereby possibly increasing their usefulness to scientists grappling with problems that have long perplexed mankind.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Document Type
Special Publication (SP)
NASA Editorial Review Board
(Manned Spacecraft Center Houston, Texas, United States)
Date Acquired
September 2, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1972
Subject Category
Space Sciences
Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Report/Patent Number
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Use by or on behalf of the US Gov. Permitted.
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