Man on the moon 50 years later: Surveying the surface

Astronauts simulate moon rock and dust sampling in Texas desert.
3:42 | 07/10/19

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Transcript for Man on the moon 50 years later: Surveying the surface
And polar Lander and Clark. Our. Our. I'm David Curley at the Smithsonian air and space museum where we are marking fifty years since man landed and walked on the moon in a Lander just like this one. We're going to show you some of the actual ABC news coverage from fifty years ago during that eight day mission of this remarkable achievement. The goal was landing a man on the moon and returning him safely. But geologists really wanted to know about the beginning of the universe they wanted rocks they want to dust from the moon to study. So the astronauts went out into the desert to practice what kind of rocks they should pick up. ABC news correspondent Sam Donaldson with that story from fifty years ago. To actually land on the lunar surface are here in the quickly mountains of west Texas about 85 miles from El Paso. To practice the techniques they will use when they go rock counting on the mode. The lunar landscape may look something like this. There will be no Yucca are sagebrush of course. But the rocks here are of volcanic origin and a distributed on the surface and much the same way as constant media bombardment may have distributed moon gravel. The astronauts have been taught geology in the classroom and on field trips. But they must be able to identify different formations and minerals in order to bring back the widest range of moon rock samples. Each of the two astronauts who land on the moon's surface will carry geologist tools. Tong a pick a scoop and a fifty pounds sample bag. Individuals sampled its first placed in a plastic bag then into the larger sample bags. They do not stoop down here but use tongs to pick up rock because in a space suit on the moon and astronauts cannot stoop very well at all. Neil Armstrong the lunar module commander describes the way the astronauts will select the individual sample. While in general we would expect the individual samples bill will be relatively small and because. We don't have very much volume was 400 pounds and if we have to bring back remaining types won't have to restrict this in not a beach tactics won't quantity. However the objective is going to bring back all the possible types it in but rather. Bring back. A representative sample of three surface. Articles in the area. It's that means we'll be bringing back some. Some dust. Like we see here. On the granite west Texas and some of the samples of blues rock type should there be any. That are on the surface there are also trying to be picking these things. In proportion to their. We are. Population on the surface and it also identify things have. Atypical or at normal interest. Surfaced that were able to. Because we're what do the geologists tell you they may be able to determine from the samples you bring back. Well I think. Determine many characters exit. With describe the formation of the surfaces. Any raised so rocks. They happen to be in position and receive. I think very details. Laboratory type analysis it's. Much more the exact conditions that existed. For.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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