On this last EVA, the two astronauts would drive due west toward Hadley Rille, about two kilometers away. With the delays in trying to extract the core tube and getting them separated, they suspected that the traverse up to the North Complex might be eliminated, but Houston had not yet said so. In February 1971, Scott approached Jerry Schaber and asked him about where, if they had an extra hour on the surface, he would he recommend they go to explore? Without hesitation, Schaber said the cluster of craters and hills identified as the North Complex, which Schaber, Mike Carr and Keith Howard believed was an area of lava activity forming a basin. Scott later pushed for inclusion of the North Complex for EVA-3 and both he and Irwin hoped that there would still be time to get to Station 12 and 13 there. As the LRV continued to perform flawlessly, Irwin described their traverse to the Rille, likening it to traveling over sand dunes.
They made their stop at Station 9, short of the Rille, and spent fifteen minutes taking samples and photographs. Scott aligned the antenna so this stop was televised and then, as an experiment, the TV camera was left on while they continued their traverse to Station 9A. Houston received only brief periods of image reception.
"When I mapped the site in stereo for the traverses from the Apollo 14 metric camera pictures,'' related Schaber, "I found there was a raised lip on the edge of Rille. I told them, 'I have no doubt there is a lip as you go from the proposed LM landing site over to the Rille. You're going to go up slope.' And sure enough, when Dave Scott was on the rover going to the Rille, I heard him say through my earphones that they were going uphill and there was a lip.''
The crew made their Station 9A stop at the Rille and Scott once again realigned the antenna. Houston was greeted to spectacular views as Fendell panned the camera around. At this location, Scott gave very detailed descriptions of the far wall of the
Rille and took photographs using the 500 mm lens on his Hasselblad, while Irwin proceeded to take samples. Fendell panned and zoomed the camera with now-practiced ease, to the delight of the scientists in the Backroom. This location proved to be an extremely rich geologic location, and Scott and Irwin knew they would have to spend a considerable amount of time at this station. After completing his series of photos with the large lens, Scott placed it under his seat, fixed the 70 mm lens to the camera, and then went to the back of the rover to retrieve the tongs and the gnomon to perform some sampling of his own. Together, Scott and Irwin ventured down the gradual slope of the Rille and walked down to collect surface rock samples, chipped samples from boulders, core samples and soil samples. They spent nearly an hour at
Station 9A before Allen suggested his crew should move on to Station 10. The astronauts stowed their samples and tools, and then headed northwest, parallel to the Rille, for their next stop.
The Station 10 stop would be a much shorter one, lasting less than fifteen minutes. Here, Scott and Irwin would spend the time taking photos, but no samples. They soon re-boarded the rover and directed themselves back to the ALSEP site to tackle the core tube issue and perform other planned tasks before their departure from Hadley-Apennine. Not knowing how long it would take to break the core tube sections, the decision had been made to bypass the North Complex, to the great disappointment of Jerry Schaber and the others on the science team. Scott and Irwin voiced their disappointment as well, but Houston did not want to push the reserves of the consumables in the Lunar Module and the Command Module by delaying liftoff by one or two orbits in order to get to the North Complex. They wanted the astronauts to liftoff on time. Back at the ALSEP site, the core stems refuse to come apart and Allen later directed Scott to stow this core tube on the floor of the Lunar Module near the Z-27 bulkhead.
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