Great Scott (lunar sample)


Great Scott on the lunar surface prior to collection. The object at right is a gnomon, used for scale.
Great Scott in the Lunar Sample Laboratory Facility. The dark spot surrounded by a light halo in the center of the sample is a Micrometeoroid impact, or "zap pit."
Station 9A planimetric map showing the location of Great Scott at 15555. X indicates sample locations, 5-digit numbers are LRL sample numbers, rectangle is lunar rover (dot indicates TV camera), black spots are large rocks, dashed lines are crater rims or other topographic features, and triangles are panorama stations.
Cut fragment on display at the National Museum of Natural History

Lunar Sample 15555, better known as "Great Scott", is a lunar sample discovered and collected on the Apollo 15 mission in 1971 in the Hadley-Apennine region of the Moon. The rock is a 9.614 kg (21.20 lb) olivine-normative basalt. It is named after mission commander David Scott, and it is the largest sample returned to Earth from the mission, as well as the most intensively studied.[1] It was collected by Scott on the rim of Hadley Rille, at station 9A.[2]

Great Scott is currently stored at the Lunar Sample Laboratory Facility at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. A piece of it is on display at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. Another is on display at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. A third piece is on display at the Madrid Deep Space Communications Complex in Spain. A fourth piece is on display at the Science Museum in London, England.[3]

The term Great Scott was in use as soon as the next mission, Apollo 16, because Charlie Duke used the term just before picking up Big Muley.[4] Big Muley is the largest sample (11.7 kg) returned from the Moon, and Great Scott is the second largest.


Lunar sample 15555 is a coarse-grained, porphyritic rock with rounded olivine phenocrysts (1 mm) and subhedral zoned pyroxene phenocrysts (0.5–2 mm) set in a matrix of poikilitic plagioclase (up to 3 mm).[5][6]

See also


  1. ^ Apollo 15 Lunar Sample Atlas at L&PI
  2. ^ Retracing the Steps of Apollo 15: Constellation Region of Interest, LROC
  4. ^ Station 1, Apollo 16 Lunar Surface Journal.
  5. ^ Sample 15555 summary sheet at L&PI
  6. ^ Lunar Sample 15555, Lunar Sample Atlas, Lunar and Planetary Institute