Apollo 12 Lunar Module Impact: Laboratory Simulation and Possible Downrange Ballistic Effects

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Science  28 Aug 1970:
Vol. 169, Issue 3948, pp. 851-854
DOI: 10.1126/science.169.3948.851


Plastic pellets were fired into sand targets at a launch angle of 4 degrees and a velocity of 1.68 kilometers per second, the conditions of the Apollo 12 lunar module impact. Shallow elliptical or doublet craters were formed, similar to certain lunar craters. Analysis of the ejecta suggests (i) that lunar module debris skipped and, with some crater ejecta, reimpacted far downrange, but (ii) this ballistic rain does not account for the anomalous seismic signal.

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