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Drill used on surface of moon during Apollo 15 mission up for bids

A drill used by Commander Dave Scott on the surface of the moon, during the Apollo 15 mission, is among the lots in RR Auctions Dec. 7 sale.
Lunar drill

Drill chuck used on the lunar surface during the three historic EVAs of the Apollo 15 mission, with an estimate of $50,000+. (All photos courtesy RR Auction)

BOSTON, Mass. — RR Auction is presenting a drill used during the Apollo 15 mission at auction.

The Apollo Lunar Surface Drill was necessary for two basic experiments: the Heat Flow Experiment, and the deep drill core; both of which required the successful operation of the drill chuck.

“The scientific objective of the deep core drill was to obtain a 10-foot core of lunar materials for analysis of thermal properties and stratigraphic composition of the upper surface of the Moon,” states Scott in a letter that accompanies the sale.

“The drill was used to insert a deep core tube into the surface, to collect lunar material from the surface down to a depth of ten feet."

Process of Lunar Drilling During Apollo 15

Towards the end of the mission’s first moonwalk, Scott’s initial attempt to drill the bore stem proved a difficult task. The extreme torque had also subsequently locked the drill chuck and was released using a wrench. The drilling of the second bore stem was postponed until the following day, also concluded with a limited depth mark due to tightly packed lunar soil. Alternately, however, the drilling of the deep core tube was relatively quick in contrast. Except extraction of the tube, which essentially screwed itself into the soil, was again delayed until the third EVA.

Check out a video of the actual drilling....

Results from the experiments concluded that the Moon, was far more radioactive than previously thought. It bore a significant stratigraphic history, revealing a total of 58 individual layers in the sample.

“It’s an essential artifact related to some of the most substantial and important lunar surface findings of the Apollo program,” said Robert Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction.

Other Items on Auction

— CIAM/NASA complete aerodynamic wind tunnel test model from Russia’s Central Institute of

Apple computer prototype

1983 prototype of Apple’s first portable computer. (Estimate $1,500+)

Aviation Motors, the largest aerospace engine testing facility in Europe.

• Apple IIc Early Prototype Computer.

— Thomas Alva Edison Bolivian light bulb patent.

• Drawing of a submarine resembling Fulton's 'Nautilus'.

The Autographs, Artifacts & Animation from RR Auction began on November 17 and will conclude on December 7.

For information, visit the RR Auction web site at

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