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Penetrometer, Lunar Self Recording (LSRP), Apollo

Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum

Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum

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.

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