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Results of Soil Mechanics Experiment in Published Form


Availability: At NSSDC, Ready for Offline Distribution (or Staging if Digital)

Time span: 1972-12-11 to 1972-12-13


This data set is the published report of the mechanical properites of lunar soil by J. K. Mitchell, W. D. Carrier, 3rd, N. C. Costes, W. N. Houston, R. F. Scott, and H. J. Hovland contained in the Apollo 17 Preliminary Science Report, NASA SP-330, pp 8-1 to 8-22. Surface textures, size, and colors are similar to those at other Apollo sites. Composition is highly variable. Density increases more uniformly with depth than with the Apollo 15 and 16 samples. The density in the double driver tube taken on the rim of Shorty crater is higher than any previously observed probably due to the presence of high specific gravity particles. The distribution of densities with depth indicates a different depositional history than at the Apollo 15 and 16 stations. Soil strength at a depth of 2 m is considerably greater than the average strength near the surface. Boulder tracks are common on the slopes of the massifs and the sculptured hills. Large-scale movements can only be accounted for by fluidization of the soil mass by gas pressures in explaining the origin of the light mantle covering the plains north of the south massif. This report derives lunar soil properties based on estimates of penetration and force. It relies heavily on observational data such as provided by photography, astronaut commentary, and examination of returned lunar samples.

Alternate Names

  • Soil Mechanics Published Report


  • Planetary Science: Geology and Geophysics


  • 72-096C-04A

Additional Information



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NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Prof. James K. MitchellData ProviderUniversity of California, Berkeley
Prof. James K. MitchellGeneral ContactUniversity of California, Berkeley
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