Whole Object Name
Apollo 17 Moon Rock
Lunar sample - number 74255,14. It was collected in December 1972 during Apollo 17, the last crewed mission to the Moon. Astronauts Harrison Schmitt and Gene Cernan collected this sample by prying it from a large fractured boulder near the rim of Shorty Crater.
Each sample of Moon rock collected on the Apollo missions was given a unique identity number, in this case 74255. The 14, reveals that the small fragment we currently display is part 14 of a larger rock (74255) that was broken up for scientific investigation once it was returned to Earth. The first digit (7) is used for any rock collected on Apollo 17, with the rest of the digits relating to location of discovery and size of the specimen.
The Moon rock weighs 67.553 grams. Lunar sample 74255 is designated as a high-titanium basalt, Type C – a vesicular1, porphyritic2, coarse-grained basalt with abundant ilmenite (a titanium-iron oxide mineral). The crystallisation age of 74255 puts it to about 3.8 billion years old, with an exposure age of around 17 million years – it was found on the edge of a crater that is thought to be around 19 million years old.
1 Vesicular - a rock pitted with many cavities on its surface and inside.
2 Porphyritic - a rock with distinctly different sizes of crystals within it.