Evolution of Geological Sampling Tool Design during the Apollo Lunar Missions
Examples of tool evolution: Aluminum box-shaped scoops, steel-bladed small scoops and a trenching shovel converged into a single scoop design which was capable of all the functions actually needed. Tongs were lengthened and the tines were strengthened. The rake, added to later missions, was extremely useful for collecting small, diverse rocks. The greatest need for modification occurred with the core tubes. The initial core tubes were small diameter, thick-walled tubes with a funnel-shaped bit for use in fluffy soil. The dense lunar soil did not flow easily into these tubes. The core bits were modified for Apollo 12 and 14, but for Apollo 15, completely new tubes of larger diameter with thinner walls were introduced. These tubes performed well and were used on the remaining missions. The repeat visits to the Moon allowed the luxury of adapting the tools to actual conditions resulting in better performance.