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Moon Rock

DAYTON, Ohio -- Moon Rock exhibit in the Missile & Space Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Moon Rock exhibit in the Missile & Space Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The Apollo 16 mission took place from April 16-27, 1972. The 11-day journey was the fifth mission in which astronauts walked on the moon. U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Charles M. Duke and U.S. Navy Capt. John W. Young flew the lunar module Orion to the moon's surface, while Navy Lt. Cdr. Thomas K. Mattingly orbited above them in the command module, Casper.

Duke and Young stayed on the moon for nearly three days, exploring the region known as Descartes, named for the 17th century French philosopher Rene Descartes. In three EVAs, or extravehicular activities, Young and Duke spent more than 20 hours conducting experiments and collecting over 211 pounds of rocks and soil. Overall, six Apollo missions brought back 841 pounds of lunar samples. These samples, along with lunar surface experiments and space probes, gave scientists new insights on the age and structure of the moon. According to NASA, the moon is about 4.5 billion years old, and was formed in a long and complex process of melting, cooling, volcanic activity, and battering by meteorite impacts for billions of years.

On display at the museum are a moon rock, flag and silver medallion from the Apollo 16 mission.

Click here to return to the Missile Gallery.

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