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Dec 18, 2021

An ‘Apollo Can Opener’ Will Soon Unseal a 50-Year-Old Box of Moon Soil

Posted by in category: space

Just in time for Christmas.

Scientists from the European Space Agency (ESA) will soon open a container of Moon soil that has gone untouched since it was collected by the Apollo 17 astronauts almost 50 years ago, a press statement reveals.

To open the sample, they will have to use a specialized piercing tool jokingly titled the “Apollo Can Opener” by members of the team. The tool was specially designed to open the specific soil sample, designated the number 73001.

A double-sealed 50-year-old Moon soil sample The Moon soil sample was collected on the Moon in 1972 at the Taurus-Littrow Valley by Apollo 17 astronaut Gene Cernan, the last person to have set foot on the Moon. Cernan hammered a 70-cm-long cylindrical tube into the Moon’s surface to retrieve a core sample of the lunar soil. The sample was then sealed in a vacuum-tight container on the Moon before it was returned to Earth. Once on Earth, the vacuum-sealed sample was then placed in a vacuum chamber for added protection.

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