Apollo 16, launched on April 16, 1972, was the fifth mission to land on the moon and the first to land in a highlands area. Commander John Young and Lunar Module Pilot Charles Duke spent almost three days on the moon and brought back 94.7 kg of lunar samples.
“I painted Astronaut John Young at work collecting samples,” says artist and Astronaut Alan Bean. “He had tools to dig, drive, hammer, rake and drill and bags to collect and identify each sample.”
Creating the suite of tools and containers for the moon samples was not as simple as it first seemed. Engineers had to worry about compromising future scientific analysis with contamination from the equipment. Also, space suit gloves were bulky, movement of the thumb and fingers were hard to coordinate and there was almost no sense of touch. The specialized tools on Apollo 16 allowed the two astronauts to accomplish their mission. As Charlie Duke reported to Earth during his second extra-vehicular activity (EVA), “John and I found a use for every tool we’ve got.”