Lunar rock box scoop used by Aldrin and Armstrong for Apollo 11 EVA training
Phenomenal large box scoop used by astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin during Apollo 11 EVA crew training at the Kennedy Space Center. The aluminum alloy 6061 scoop measures approximately 15.5″ in length, with the box section measuring 6″ x 6″ x 3.75″, and the handle extending an additional 9.5″. The end of the handle features a quick-disconnect fitting, with part number engraved just below knurled grip area, “SEB39103122-301,” and “Class III” etched below the part number. The lunar-flown version of the box scoop was stored inside the Lunar Module Eagle’s Modularized Equipment Stowage Assembly (MESA) along with other equipment needed to explore and study the lunar surface. In fine condition.
Apollo lunar sampling tools such as this large box scoop were first developed and tested by the US Geologic Survey team at their headquarters in Flagstaff, Arizona. Designed to be rugged yet ergonomic, the lightweight scoop with large bucket mouth featured an extendable quick-disconnect handle with sliding T-top that added another 23″ of reach for the astronaut. After prototypes were approved and subsequently manufactured at the Manned Spacecraft Center, they were then transferred to the Kennedy Space Center for Apollo 11 EVA training in June 1969.
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Although the primary purpose of Apollo 11 was to perform a manned lunar landing and return, subordinate objectives were also included, such as survey, photography, and soil sampling. Of the three potential soil sample objectives—contingency, bulk, and documented—the large box scoop was a required tool for the latter two: the bulk sample required at least 10 kilograms of unsorted surface soil and selected rock chunks, while the documented sample involved a detailed and thorough documentation of the individual samples and collection area. The box scoop, in addition to the lunar tongs, served as the main instruments for large-scale soil sampling. A tremendous piece of training hardware used to prepare Aldrin and Armstrong for mankind's first lunar EVA—a total of 22 kilograms of material, including 50 rocks, two core tubes, and samples of the fine-grained lunar soil, were retrieved from the moon. From the collection of Dan Schaiewitz, who worked as Extravehicular Crew Training Engineer at KSC.
Click here to view Dan Schaiewitz’s detailed history and photo identification of the moon rock scoop.