Basalt from the Moon

Part of Hall of the Universe.

Basalt from the Moon_HERO AMNH/D. Finnin

Apollo 15 astronauts David Scott and James Irwin collected this sample of basalt from the Moon on August 1, 1971. It is a lava produced by an eruption on the Moon more than 3 billion years ago. The white crystals are the mineral plagioclase and the pale green ones are the mineral clinopyroxene. Both are in a finer-grained matrix of these and other minerals. Apollo 15 astronauts were the first to drive a Lunar Rover vehicle, from which they collected this and other samples. The white dot on the Moon model to your left indicates the collection site of this sample, between Mare Imbrium and Mare Serenitatis. The panoramic photo to your right depicts the Lunar Rover on the Moon’s surface, with David Scott setting out on foot.