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Penetrometer, Lunar Self Recording (LSRP), Apollo


Display Status:

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 Self-Recording Penetrometer was a device used on Apollo 15 and 16 to measure some mechanical properties of the lunar soil. When an astronaut pushed on the upper end, the bearing plate or lower cone and shaft would penetrate into the lunar soil while the reference pad stayed on the surface. A retractor cable mechanism running from the reference pad to the upper housing actuated a stylus which would move axially along the recording drum to measure the depth of penetration. The force applied through the extension handle by the astronaut was measured by a coil spring which caused the recording drum to rotate under the stylus by an amount proportional to the force. The LSRP had a maximum penetration depth of 76 cm and the ability to measure penetration force to a maximum of 111 Newtons. Upon return to Earth, the results from these tests were analyzed.

This item was used for training and was transferred to the Smithsonian in 1974.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum


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

Credit Line

Transferred from NASA, Johnson Space Center.


  • Aluminum
  • Plastic
  • Synthetic Fabric
  • Velcro


3-D: 15 × 3.5 × 42cm (5 7/8 × 1 3/8 × 16 9/16 in.)

Country of Origin

United States of America



Inventory Number