This is an extendable scoop manufactured by the Hughes Aircraft Company in support of the Surveyor missions that explored the lunar surface. This particular soil mechanics/surface sampler (SSME) was used on the T-21 (Touchdown 21) engineering model. The scoop is a claw-like device at the end of a frame that extends several feet through a gear drive and electrical motor. Engineering model of the soil mechanics surface scoop (SMSS) carried on Surveyor Lunar Landers 3, 4 and 7. These spacecraft, launched starting in 1966, were used to survey the moon's surface to help select a safe landing site for the manned Apollo lunar landings. The scissors jack-like arm of the sampler was hinged to the frame of the spacecraft. The motor driven arm was extendible up to 5 feet and able to range over an area of 24 square feet. The scoop at the end of the arm was used to dig trenches in lunar soil. Images of the trenches sent back by the on-board TV camera, as well as strain gages on the arm provided data on the mechanical properties of the surface of the moon. The SMSS was manufactured by Hughes Aircraft. It was transferred to NASM by GSA in 1969.
Transferred from NASA via GSA, 1969