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Apollo 15

Apollo 15 panorama

"Man must explore," Commander Dave Scott said as he stepped onto the moon on July 30, 1971, "and this is exploration at its best." Apollo 15's landing site lay along the edge of the Sea of Rains amidst striking geological features, including the Apennines, a mountain range with peaks rising as much as three miles above the plains. To the right of the Lunar Rover lies the Hadley Rille, a mile-wide channel thought to have once been a river of lava, while to its left rises 11,000-foot Hadley Delta mountain, on which Lunar Module pilot Jim Irwin can be seen gathering soil samples. Later dubbed "the Genesis Rock," one of the specimens the team collected proved to be a piece of primordial crust as old as the moon itself, 4.5 billion years.

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Photography courtesy of U.S.Geological Survey Astrogeology Program

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