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LUNAR Apollo ALSEP data from IRIS Data Center


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

Time span: 1969-07-21 to 1978-03-01


The data set contains all lunar seismic data recorded at the Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, and 16 Apollo Lunar Surface Experiment (ALSEP) stations from 1969 to 1977 and data from all the other ALSEP experiments including Apollo 17 from 1 March 1976 to 30 September 1977. It also includes the seismology and meteorology data from the Viking 2 lander on the Martian surface from 1976 to 1978. These data are electronic files copied in 1990-1992 from 80 8-mm video cassette (Exabyte) tapes. For a description of several different types of files in this data set, their data formats, and lists of time periods see the selected reference by Nakamura (1992) available at:


This data set contains electronic files of Passive Seismic Experiment (PSE) Tape data that in years 1990-1992 were initially read from 7215 7-track PSE tapes from the Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, and 16 ALSEP stations from deployment until 29 February 1976, and copied to 40 Exabyte tapes labeled "A*.PSE*" (see directories LUNAR.A*/file*.A*.PSE*/ in this data set) and a part of another Exabyte tape labeled "P&E Supplement" (PSE and Events Supplement; see files pse.a*.12.* in directory PaESuppl/file001.PaESuppl/), and later read from those Exabyte tapes when large electronic storage became available. Each PSE file generally covers a period of 24 hours from a single station.

This data set also contains the following electronic data:

Normal-bit-rate Work Tape files: These raw ALSEP data cover normal-bit-rate operations for the period of 1 March 1976 through 30 September 1977, when the stations were commanded to stop data transmission, and contain data for Apollo 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17 (except when station 17 was operating at high-bit rate). These data, preserved through interest in the PSE, are from 1150 9-track tapes copied to 21 Exabyte tapes labeled "WT-N-*" and read to 1151 files. See directories LUNAR.WT/file*.LUNAR.WT-N*/ in this data set.

High-bit-rate Work Tape files: These raw ALSEP data contain only Lunar Surface Profiling Experiment (LPSE) data from Apollo 17 when that ALSEP station was operating at high bit rate. These data are from 326 9-track tapes copied to 7 Exabyte tapes labeled "WT-H-*". See directories LUNAR.WT/file*.LUNAR.WT-H*/ in this data set.

Event Tape files: These Events data contain only those portions of the seismic data where seismic signals were detected by long period instruments. These data are from 130 7-track tapes, 114 of which were copied to 8 Exabyte tapes labeled "A*-ET-*" (see directories LUNAR_EVENTS/file*.LUNAR.A*-ET*/) and 16 were copied to a part of an Exabyte tape labeled "P&E Supplement" (see files et.a*.3.* in directory PaESuppl/file001.PaESuppl/ in this data set).

Special Event Tape files: These Special Event data contain specially selected seismic events. The data are from 240 7-track tapes (194 for deep moonquakes, 32 for meteoroid impacts, 9 for shallow moonquakes and 5 for artificial impacts) copied to an Exabyte tape labeled "A-SE-1". See directory LUNAR_EVENTS/file009.SpecialEvents.Lunar/ in this data set.

Viking Tape files: These files contain seismology and meteorology data from the Viking 2 lander on the Martian surface from 1976 to 1978. These data are from 56 7-track tapes (29 original seismology files, 17 meteorology files and 19 un-scrambled seismology files) copied to an Exabyte tape labeled "Viking". See directory VIKING/file001.VIKING/ in this data set.

Auxiliary Data and Document Tape files: These files are copies of all documents and ancillary data generated during the course of tape copying. These auxiliary data and documents are from 1516 files written to an Exabyte tape labeled "Aux. Data & Doc". See directory AUX/file001.AUX/ in this data set.

Alternate Names

  • LUNAR (IRIS) Apollo ALSEP data
  • LUNAR ALSEP Work Tapes


  • Planetary Science: Geology and Geophysics


  • 69-059C-00A
  • 69-099C-00A
  • 71-008C-00B
  • 71-063C-00A
  • 72-031C-00A
  • 72-096C-00A
  • 75-083C-07N
  • 75-083C-08D

Additional Information



Questions and comments about this data collection can be directed to: Dr. David R. Williams



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. Yosio NakamuraGeneral ContactUniversity of Texas,

Selected References

  • Nakamura, Y., Lunar -- Catalog of lunar seismic data from Apollo passive seismic experiment on 8-mm video cassette (exabyte) tapes, Inst. for Geophysics, Univ. of Texas at Austin, Technical Report No. 118, June 30, 1992.
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