General Discussion => Historical Spaceflight => Topic started by: AegeanBlue on 04/27/2017 06:37 pm

Title: Apollo final science reports
Post by: AegeanBlue on 04/27/2017 06:37 pm
I was watching the alas partial Library of Congress lecture on using LRO to revisit the Apollo 17 mission ( and the lecturer mentioned the Apollo 17 preliminary science report. He actually shows a paper copy during the lecture and mentions that it was very useful in his investigation. This got me thinking: Has any Apollo "Intermediate" or "Final" science report ever been issued? Google does not return any document of that name, it actually links to the preliminary reports which are available online. I have read several space books and in the post Apollo lunar exploration chapter the most I have seen is a comment that the paradigm shift with Apollo science from preliminary to operational is a 1985 international lunar conference where American and Soviet scientists gave in depth reports of Apollo and Luna findings. But I am not aware of either the conference or any watershed synthesis document coming out of it.

So, to reiterate, has any Final science report been issued for any Apollo mission? Could it be that this kind of "final", or more properly retrospective report be in preparation for the 50th anniversary of Apollo? I am fully aware that science is never final, but it would be nice to have a good scientific report on what came out of the missions and how we see it decades later.
Title: Re: Apollo final science reports
Post by: AegeanBlue on 05/06/2017 03:38 am
Since 200 views later there are no replies, I think it is safe to assume that no "intermediate" or "final" report has been issued and that we are not seeing a NASA funded overview coming up for the 50 years. Someone may still decide to do a mission by mission overview on their own, but it does not seem to be known to this board's community
Title: Re: Apollo final science reports
Post by: Phil Stooke on 05/06/2017 03:53 am
You're right that there will never be a truly final report.  I would suggest that the closest to what you want is this: (

Which is available online (scanned PDFs) here: (

A superb summary of 2 decades of work on understanding the geology of the Moon from Apollo and other data. 

NASA was never going to release anything like that, as the science following their missions is always done by other people or agencies.
Title: Re: Apollo final science reports
Post by: tdemko on 05/06/2017 11:03 am
I would also recommend Don Wilhelms' 1993 book: (

And the slightly more strident 1996 book by Paul Spudis:
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Although both books are pitched at a science-aware general audience, the lunar geology in both are a step ahead of, say, Scientific American articles.
Title: Re: Apollo final science reports
Post by: Citabria on 05/16/2017 04:41 pm
The Apollo Program Summary Report includes science summaries as well as engineering and operations reports: (
Title: Re: Apollo final science reports
Post by: Dalhousie on 05/23/2017 02:03 am
Science on Apollo samples is ongoing with more wor than ever being done on them.
Title: Re: Apollo final science reports
Post by: Hog on 05/27/2017 11:37 am
Science on Apollo samples is ongoing with more wor than ever being done on them.
I would assume that as technology has evolved, as would the testing on said samples?
Title: Re: Apollo final science reports
Post by: Blackstar on 05/27/2017 03:15 pm
I think what you're asking is sort of a bureaucratic question: why did they produce an "intermediate" report and no "final" version? I don't know if there is an answer you can find, but the actual answer might be pretty boring, such as the science team disbanded, they ran out of money, or something like that.

Apollo samples are still being analyzed today, and there are numerous papers written based upon them. You should take a look at the LPSC abstracts to find examples. (I've noticed a bit of a bias towards examining Apollo 15 samples, which I think has to do with the fact that Dave Scott has worked with graduate students to examine Apollo 15 samples.)

There was a presentation at LPSC in March that you may find interesting. A scientist took a paper that (I think) was based upon Lunar Orbiter observations of an Apollo landing site. He then looked at the same site using LRO data. What he did was compare the conclusions from the early 1970s with what LRO tells us now and determine just how much they got right and wrong. If I remember correctly, he figured out that they got the general conclusions correct, but that there is a wealth of more data allowing scientists to figure out the relationships between the different observed areas.

I think most scientists would not care, but it struck me as an interesting exercise, because it could allow you to re-calibrate earlier Apollo-era assumptions about the Moon. It might allow you to look at other Apollo-era science reports and figure out which ones deserved re-evaluation because maybe they will hold surprises.