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Apollo Lunar Sample Return Container (ALSRC), Apollo 11

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This object is on display in the Apollo to the Moon exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

Collection Item Summary:

The Apollo Lunar Sample Return Container (ALSRC) was an aluminum box with a triple seal manufactured by the Nuclear Division of Union Carbide. It was used on Apollo lunar landing missions to preserve a lunar-like vacuum around the samples and protect them from the shock environment of the return flight to earth. An aluminum mesh liner helped absorb impacts. Prior to flight, each box was loaded with sample container bags and other sample containment devices. The "rock box" was then closed under vacuum so that it would not contain pressure greater than the lunar ambient pressure. On the moon, while samples were being loaded, the seals were protected by a Teflon film and a cloth cover which were removed just prior to closing the box. Two ALSRC's were used on each mission.

This ALSRC was used in July 1969 during Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing mission, by astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. The sample-laden container was opened under controlled conditions in the Lunar Receiving Laboratory at the Houston Manned Space Center. It carried 21.8 kg (47.7 lbs) of lunar material from the Sea of Tranquility.

It was transferred from NASA to the Smithsonian and placed on display in 1970, soon after its historic mission.

Collection Item Long Description:

Title

ALSRC, Apollo Lunar Sample Return Container, Apollo 11

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum

Manufacturer

Union Carbide, Nuclear Division

Credit Line

Transferred from NASA, Johnson Space Center.

Materials

7075 AA aluminum case, 2024 aluminum alloy mesh lining

Dimensions

3-D: 48.3 × 29.8 × 20.3cm (19 × 11 3/4 × 8 in.)

See more items in

National Air and Space Museum Collection

Country of Origin

United States of America

Type

EQUIPMENT-Lunar

Inventory Number

A19710814000