Apollo 17 lunar sample opened for the 1st time

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image source: Apollo 17 from wikipedia

Nearly 50 years after it was collected, a lunar sample from the Apollo 17 mission has finally been opened
at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. It’s one of the last unopened samples
from the final Apollo mission to land humans on the moon.

“We have had an opportunity to open up this incredibly precious sample that’s been saved for
50 years under vacuum and we finally get to see what treasures are held within,” said Thomas Zurbuchen,
associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, in a statement.
It was collected by NASA astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison “Jack” Schmitt in December 1972
when they hammered 14-inch (36-centimeter) cylindrical drive tubes into a landslide deposit in the
Taurus-Littrow Valley. The two astronauts vacuum-sealed the tube while still on the lunar surface.
Once the mission returned to Earth, the captured sample was stored in a second protective tube
in a special cabinet at Johnson’s lunar laboratory, where it remained undisturbed until this week.
The sample, known as 73001, contains lunar soil and rock fragments that can provide scientists
with a historical record of the moon’s geology.
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