OTD in Space - Nov. 14: Apollo 12 Launches to the Moon
On November 14, 1969, the Apollo 12 mission launches to the moon. This was the second moon landing of the Apollo program. The two astronauts on board were Pete Conrad and Alan Bean. Richard Gordon stayed in the command module and orbited the moon while his crewmates went to the surface. The astronauts made a pinpoint landing in a lunar mare called the Ocean of Storms. The previous moon mission, Apollo 11, drifted far from the planned landing zone. But Apollo 12 landed close to a scientific target. That target was a robotic lander called Surveyor 3. Scientists wanted to look at Surveyor 3 to see how well the spacecraft lasted on the moon since it landed there more than two years earlier. Apollo 12 also did a lot of moon science. The astronauts picked up 75 pounds of moon rocks. Most of the rocks were basalts that formed from molten lava. These basalts showed the Apollo 12 landing site is more than 3 billion years old.