John and Charlie Claim a Piece of the Rock

John and Charlie collect a rock sample at Station 8

Painting Completed 2004
11 1/2 x 15 inches, Textured Acrylic with Moondust on Airplane Plywood

John Young and Charlie Duke are well into their second moonwalk. The scientists back on Earth are viewing them and the nearby moonscape closely using the remotely controlled color television camera mounted on the rover.

One of the rocks in the field of view looked interesting and the geologists asked John and Charlie to take a sample of the soil adjacent to the base of the rock, and if possible a piece of the rock itself. They have just completed their first task. The scoop that Charlie used to gather the soil can be seen leaning against the rock. Everyone wants a "piece of the rock", even on the Moon, so we see John knocking off a rather large sample with his hammer. I found out in training that breaking rocks was not an easy task at first, because rocks are rocks. With experience I began to see lines of natural fracture where pieces might be chipped off with minimum effort if struck at just the right point, and at just the right angle. It sounds easy but it isnŐt. ItŐs not diamond cutting but you get the idea.

I watched John study the rock then administer carefully aimed blows with his hammer. On the fifth blow, a piece about the size of a large orange fell away; a perfect sample. My impression from watching them from mission control was that they were an excellent team. John and Charlie both knew their geology fieldcraft and worked together taking advantage of each otherŐs strengths.