Stormy voyage

Apollo 12 launched into thunderous skies above Cape Kennedy on 14 November 1969, with Pete Conrad, Richard Gordon, and Al Bean aboard. Aside from a scare during launch as lightning struck the spacecraft, the flight to the Moon went without a hitch, and on 19 November, Conrad and Bean boarded the LM Intrepid, leaving Gordon aboard the CSM Yankee Clipper in lunar orbit. Descent to the chosen landing site, nicknamed "Pete's Parking Lot", was initially automatic, but when the astronauts saw the area looked rougher than anticipated, Conrad took manual control and brought the LM down in a safe area nearby.

After five hours, Conrad stepped onto the surface. His first task was to collect and store a contingency soil sample in case some emergency forced a hasty departure. As Bean joined Conrad on the surface, both astronauts found themselves covered in a film of dust from the powdery rock.

Working on the surface

Conrad and Bean made two separate moonwalks. The first was to set up scientific instruments around the in the command module

Dick Gordon enjoys the relatively spacious confines of the Yankee Clipper during Conrad and Bean's surface expedition. Gordon was able to spot both Intrepid and Surveyor 3 from orbit, confirming Conrad's pinpoint landing before the astronauts left the LM.

Whoopee! Man, that may have been a small one for Neil, but it's a long one for me!"

Pete Conrad, 11cm (41/2in) shorter than Neil Armstrong, takes his first step onto the Moon


Al Bean carefully extracts a Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) from its storage place in the Lunar Module. This wos the first use on the Moon of an RTG -a simple electrical generator powered by radioactive decay.


Al Bean poses for a photograph alongside a tool carrier during an Apollo 12 moon walk. Pete Conrad can be clearly seen reflected in his visor (Bean's own camera is mounted on his chest control pack).


Plans to transmit colour TV pictures from the Moon were thwarted when the camera refused to work, burned out by accidental exposure to the Sun.


On the way home, the astronauts captured this spectacular image as the Earth passed in front of the Sun.


valve for transferring urine from internal store buckle for fitting sleeve attachment handle designed for operation wearing spacesuit gloves sample collection

Astronauts used odapted tongs and a brush to collect samples from the Moon. To avoid contamination, samples were sealed inside containers before they were taken onboord the LM. They were reopened in a laboratory back on Earth.

Astronauts wore intravehiculor gloves, such as this, inside the spacecraft. The inner layer was made from rubber and specially moulded for each astronaut.

utility pocket for storing tools and other equipment


Despite regular timechecks from Mission Control, astronauts needed to keep their own track of time on the mission. Typically, they wore two Omega Speedmaster wristwatches - one set to Mission Elapsed Time, the other to GMT.

multi-layered integrated thermal micrometeoroid garment



The boots were the part of the suit in most danger from a puncture, so they came in two parts for extra safety. An overshoe protected the inner boot and could be discarded outside the LM to avoid bringing dust aboard the spacecraft.

mechanism for sealing container rigid wire grippers

Sample-return container long overlap with suit leg a survival suit for the moon overshoe extravehicular mobility unit

The Apollo spacesuit or EMU hod several layers. Closest to the skin was a liquid-cooled undergarment. Next come a nylon pressure garment to seal the astronaut from the vacuum of space, then several aluminium-coated layers for further heat protection.

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