|Mission name||Apollo 12|
|Spacecraft name||CSM: Yankee Clipper, LM: Intrepid|
|Command Module||CM-108, mass 28,838 kilograms (63,580 lb)|
|Lunar Module||LM-6, mass 15,235 kilograms (33,590 lb)|
|Call sign||CSM: Yankee Clipper, LM: Intrepid|
|Launch vehicle||Saturn V SA-507|
|Launch pad||LC 39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida, USA|
|Launch date||November 14, 1969UTC, 16:22:00|
|Lunar landing||November 19, 1969, 06:54:35 UTC, Oceanus Procellarum/Mare Cognitium, (Ocean of Storms/Known Sea),|
|Lunar EVA duration||First 3 h 56 m 03 s, Second 3 h 49 m 15 s, Total 7 h 45 m 18 s|
|Lunar surface time||1 day 7 h 31 m 11.6 s|
|Lunar sample mass||34.35 kg (75.729 lb)|
|CSM time in lunar orbit||88 h 58 m 11.52 s|
|Landing||November 24, 1969, 20:58:24 UTC, South Pacific Ocean,|
|Mission duration||10 d 4 h 36 m 24 s|
|Orbital period||88.16 m|
|Left to right: Conrad, Gordon, Bean|
Apollo 12 was the sixth manned flight in the United States Apollo program and the second to land on the Moon (an H type mission). It was launched on November 14, 1969 from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, four months after Apollo 11. Mission commander Charles "Pete" Conrad and Lunar Module Pilot Alan L. Bean performed just over one day and seven hours of lunar surface activity while Command Module Pilot Richard F. Gordon remained in lunar orbit. The landing site for the mission was located in the southeastern portion of the Ocean of Storms.
Unlike the first landing on Apollo 11, Conrad and Bean achieved a precise landing at their expected location, the site of the Surveyor 3 unmanned probe, which had landed on April 20, 1967. They carried the first color television camera to the lunar surface on an Apollo flight, but transmission was lost after Bean accidentally destroyed the camera by pointing it at the Sun. On one of two moonwalks, they visited the Surveyor, and removed some parts for return to Earth. The mission ended on November 24 with a successful splashdown.
|Commander||Charles "Pete" Conrad, Jr.
|Command Module Pilot||Richard F. Gordon, Jr.
Second and last spaceflight
|Lunar Module Pilot||Alan L. Bean
Backup crew 
|Commander||David R. Scott|
|Command Module Pilot||Alfred M. Worden|
|Lunar Module Pilot||James B. Irwin|
|The backup crew would later fly on Apollo 15.|
Support crew 
Flight directors 
- Gerry Griffin, Gold team
- Pete Frank, Orange team
- Cliff Charlesworth, Green team
- Milton Windler, Maroon team
Mission parameters 
- Landing Site: W
LM–CSM docking 
- Undocked: November 19, 1969 – 04:16:02 UTC
- Redocked: November 20, 1969 – 17:58:20 UTC
Extravehicular Activities (EVAs) 
EVA 1 start: November 19, 1969, 11:32:35 UTC 
- Conrad — EVA 1
- Stepped onto Moon: 11:44:22 UTC
- LM ingress: 15:27:17 UTC
- Bean — EVA 1
- Stepped onto Moon: 12:13:50 UTC
- LM ingress: 15:14:18 UTC
EVA 1 end: November 19, 15:28:38 UTC 
- Duration: 3 hours, 56 minutes, 03 seconds
EVA 2 start: November 20, 1969, 03:54:45 UTC 
- Conrad — EVA 2
- Stepped onto Moon: 03:59:00 UTC
- LM ingress: 07:42:00 UTC
- Bean — EVA 2
- Stepped onto Moon: 04:06:00 UTC
- LM ingress: 07:30:00 UTC
EVA 2 end: November 20, 07:44:00 UTC 
- Duration: 3 hours, 49 minutes, 15 seconds
Mission highlights 
Launch and transfer 
Apollo 12 launched on schedule from Kennedy Space Center, during a rainstorm. It was the first rocket launch attended by an incumbent US president, Richard Nixon. Thirty-six-and-a-half seconds after lift-off, the vehicle triggered a lightning discharge through itself and down to the earth through the Saturn's ionized plume. Protective circuits on the fuel cells in the service module falsely detected overloads and took all three fuel cells offline, along with much of the CSM instrumentation. A second strike at 52 seconds after launch knocked out the "8-ball" attitude indicator. The telemetry stream at Mission Control was garbled. However, the vehicle continued to fly correctly; the strikes had not affected the Saturn V Instrument Unit.
The loss of all three fuel cells put the CSM entirely on batteries. They were unable to maintain normal 28V DC bus voltages into the heavy 75 amp launch loads. One of the AC inverters dropped offline. These power supply problems lit nearly every warning light on the control panel and caused much of the instrumentation to malfunction.
Legendary EECOM John Aaron (the original NASA "steely eyed missile man")[page needed] remembered the telemetry failure pattern from an earlier test when a power supply malfunctioned in the CSM Signal Conditioning Equipment (SCE). The SCE converts raw signals from instrumentation to standard voltages for the spacecraft instrument displays and telemetry encoders.
Aaron made a call, "Try SCE to aux". This switched the SCE to a backup power supply. The switch was fairly obscure and neither the Flight Director, CAPCOM, nor Commander Conrad immediately recognized it. Lunar module pilot Alan Bean, flying in the right seat as the CSM systems engineer, remembered the SCE switch from a training incident a year earlier when the same failure had been simulated. Aaron's quick thinking and Bean's memory saved what could have been an aborted mission. Bean put the fuel cells back on line, and with telemetry restored, the launch continued successfully. Once in earth parking orbit, the crew carefully checked out their spacecraft before re-igniting the S-IVB third stage for trans-lunar injection. The lightning strikes had caused no serious permanent damage.
Initially, it was feared that the lightning strike could have caused the command module's parachute mechanism to prematurely fire, disabling the explosive bolts that open the parachute compartment to deploy them. If they were indeed disabled, the command module would have crashed uncontrollably into the Pacific Ocean and killed the crew instantly. Since there was no way to figure out whether or not this was the case, ground controllers decided not to tell the astronauts about the possibility. The parachutes deployed and functioned normally at the end of the mission.
After lunar module separation, the S-IVB was intended to fly into solar orbit. The S-IVB auxiliary propulsion system was fired and the remaining propellants vented to slow it down to fly past the Moon's trailing edge (the Apollo spacecraft always approached the Moon's leading edge). The Moon's gravity would then slingshot the stage into solar orbit. However, a small error in the state vector in the Saturn's guidance system caused the S-IVB to fly past the Moon at too high an altitude to achieve earth escape velocity. It remained in a semi-stable earth orbit after passing the Moon on November 18, 1969. It finally escaped earth orbit in 1971 but was briefly recaptured in Earth orbit 31 years later. It was discovered by amateur astronomer Bill Yeung who gave it the temporary designation J002E3 before it was determined to be an artificial object.
The Apollo 12 mission landed on an area of the Ocean of Storms that had been visited earlier by several unmanned missions (Luna 5, Surveyor 3, and Ranger 7). The International Astronomical Union, recognizing this, christened this region Mare Cognitum (Known Sea). The Lunar coordinates of the landing site were 3.01239° S latitude, 23.42157° W longitude. The landing site would thereafter be listed as Statio Cognitum on lunar maps (Conrad and Bean did not formally name their landing site, interestingly enough, though the intended touchdown point was nicknamed Pete's Parking Lot by Conrad).
The second lunar landing was an exercise in precision targeting, using a Doppler effect radar technique developed to allow the pinpoint landings needed for future Apollo missions. Most of the descent was automatic, with manual control assumed by Conrad during the final few hundred feet of descent. Unlike Apollo 11 where Neil Armstrong took partial control of the lander and directed it further down range when he noticed that the intended landing site was strewn with boulders, Apollo 12 succeeded, on November 19, in landing within walking distance of its intended target - the Surveyor 3 probe, which had landed on the Moon in April 1967. This was the first — and, to date, only — occasion in which humans have "caught up" to a probe sent to land on another world.
Conrad actually landed Intrepid 580 feet (175 m) short of Pete's Parking Lot because the planned landing point looked rougher than anticipated during the final approach to touchdown, and was a little under 1,180 feet (360 m) from Surveyor 3, a distance that was chosen to eliminate the possibility of lunar dust (being kicked up by Intrepid's descent engine during landing) from covering Surveyor 3. But the actual touchdown point — approximately 600 feet (185 m) from Surveyor 3 — did cause high velocity sandblasting of the probe. It was later determined that the sandblasting removed more dust than it delivered onto the Surveyor, because the probe was covered by a thin layer that gave it a tan hue as observed by the astronauts, and every portion of the surface exposed to the direct sandblasting was lightened back toward the original white color through the removal of lunar dust.
When Conrad, who was somewhat shorter than Neil Armstrong, stepped onto the lunar surface, his first words were "Whoopie! Man, that may have been a small one for Neil, but that's a long one for me." This was not an off-the-cuff remark: Conrad had made a $500 bet with reporter Oriana Fallaci he would say these words, after she had queried whether NASA had instructed Neil Armstrong what to say as he stepped onto the Moon. Conrad later said he was never able to collect the money.
To improve the quality of television pictures from the Moon, a color camera was carried on Apollo 12 (unlike the monochrome camera that was used on Apollo 11). Unfortunately, when Bean carried the camera to the place near the lunar module where it was to be set up, he inadvertently pointed it directly into the Sun, destroying the SEC tube. Television coverage of this mission was thus terminated almost immediately. See also: Apollo TV camera
Apollo 12 successfully landed within walking distance of the Surveyor 3 probe. Conrad and Bean removed pieces of the probe to be taken back to Earth for analysis. It is claimed that the common bacterium Streptococcus mitis was found to have accidentally contaminated the spacecraft's camera prior to launch and survived dormant in this harsh environment for two and a half years. However, this finding has since been disputed: see Reports of Streptococcus mitis on the Moon.
Astronauts Conrad and Bean also collected rocks and set up equipment that took measurements of the Moon's seismicity, solar wind flux and magnetic field, and relayed the measurements to Earth. The instruments were part of the first complete nuclear-powered ALSEP station set up by astronauts on the Moon to relay long-term data from the lunar surface. The instruments on Apollo 11 were not as extensive or designed to operate long term. The astronauts also took photographs, although by accident Bean left several rolls of exposed film on the lunar surface. Meanwhile Gordon, on board the Yankee Clipper in lunar orbit, took multi-spectral photographs of the surface.
The lunar plaque attached to the descent stage of Intrepid is unique in that unlike the other plaques, it (a) did not have a depiction of the Earth, and (b) it was textured differently (the other plaques had black lettering on polished stainless steel while the Apollo 12 plaque had the lettering in polished stainless steel while the background was brushed flat).
Intrepid's ascent stage was dropped (per normal procedures) after Conrad and Bean rejoined Gordon in orbit. It impacted the Moon on November 20, 1969 at. The seismometers the astronauts had left on the lunar surface registered the vibrations for more than an hour.
The crew stayed an extra day in lunar orbit taking photographs, for a total lunar surface stay of 31 and a half hours and a total time in lunar orbit of eighty-nine hours.
On the return flight to Earth after leaving lunar orbit, the crew of Apollo 12 witnessed (and photographed) a solar eclipse, though this one was of the Earth eclipsing the sun.
Yankee Clipper returned to Earth on November 24, 1969, at 20:58 UTC (3:58pm EST, 10:58am HST) in the Pacific Ocean, approximately 500 nautical miles (800 km) east of American Samoa. During splashdown, a 16 mm camera dislodged from storage and struck Bean in the forehead, rendering him briefly unconscious. He suffered a mild concussion and needed six stitches. After recovery by the USS Hornet, they were flown to Pago Pago International Airport in Tafuna for a reception, before being flown on a C-141 cargo plane to Honolulu.
Stunts and mementos 
- Alan Bean smuggled a camera-shutter self-timer device on to the mission with the intent of taking a photograph with himself, Pete Conrad and the Surveyor 3 probe in the frame. As the timer was not part of their standard equipment, such an image would have thrown post-mission photo analysts into confusion over how the photo was taken. However, the self-timer was misplaced during the EVA and the plan was never executed.
- As one of the many pranks pulled during the friendly rivalry between the all-Navy prime crew and the all-Air Force backup crew, the Apollo 12 backup crew managed to insert into the astronauts' lunar checklist (attached to the wrists of Conrad's and Bean's spacesuits) reduced-sized pictures of Playboy playmates, surprising Conrad and Bean when they looked through the checklist flip-book during their first EVA. The Apollo Lunar Surface Journal website contains a PDF file with the photocopies of their cuff checklists showing these photos. Appearing in Conrad's checklist were Angela Dorian, Miss September 1967 (with the caption "SEEN ANY INTERESTING HILLS & VALLEYS ?") and Reagan Wilson, Miss October 1967 ("PREFERRED TETHER PARTNER", referring to a special procedure that would require the sharing of life support resources). The photos in Bean's cuff checklist were of Cynthia Myers, Miss December 1968 ("DON'T FORGET - DESCRIBE THE PROTUBERANCES") and Leslie Bianchini, Miss January 1969 ("SURVEY - HER ACTIVITY", in pun of Surveyor). The backup crew who did this later flew to the Moon themselves on Apollo 15. Also at the back of Conrad's checklist were two pages of pre-prepared complex geological terminology, added as a joke to give him the option to sound to Mission Control like he was as skilled as a professional career geologist. The third crewmember orbiting the Moon was not left out of the Playboy prank, as a November 1969 calendar featuring DeDe Lind, Miss August 1967 had been stowed in a locker that Dick Gordon found while his crewmates were on the lunar surface. In 2011, he put this calendar up for auction. Its value was estimated by RRAuction at $12,000-$16,000. While the CMP calendar was in full color, the lunar checklists carried black & white photocopies (although these were dramatized in From the Earth to the Moon as full color photos in the checklists).
- Artist Forrest (Frosty) Myers claims to have installed the art piece Moon Museum on "a leg of the Intrepid landing module with the help of an unnamed engineer at the Grumman Corporation after attempts to move the project forward through NASA's official channels were unsuccessful."
- Alan Bean left a memento on the Moon: his silver astronaut pin. This pin signified an astronaut who completed training but had not yet flown in space; he had worn it for six years. He was to get a gold astronaut pin for successfully completing the mission after the flight and felt he wouldn't need the silver pin thereafter. Tossing his pin into a lunar crater extended the common tradition among military pilots to ceremonially dispose of their originally awarded flight wings.
Mission insignia 
The Apollo 12 mission patch shows the crew's navy background; all three astronauts at the time of the mission were U.S. Navy commanders. It features a clipper ship arriving at the Moon, representing the command module Yankee Clipper. The ship trails fire, and flies the flag of the United States. The mission name APOLLO XII and the crew names are on a wide gold border, with a small blue trim. Blue and gold are traditionally U.S. Navy colors. The patch has four stars on it — one each for the three astronauts who flew the mission and one for Clifton Williams, a U.S. naval aviator and astronaut who was killed on October 5, 1967, after a mechanical failure caused the controls of his T-38 trainer to stop responding and crash. He trained with Conrad and Gordon as part of the backup crew for what would be the Apollo 9 mission, and would have been assigned as lunar module pilot for Apollo 12.
Spacecraft location 
The Lunar Module Intrepid impacted the Moon November 20, 1969 at 22:17:17.7 UT (5:17 PM EST) Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter photographed the Apollo 12 landing site. The Intrepid lunar module descent stage, experiment package (ALSEP), Surveyor 3 spacecraft, and astronaut footpaths are all visible. In 2011, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter returned to the landing site at a lower altitude to take higher resolution photographs.. In 2009, the
Depiction in media 
Portions of the Apollo 12 mission are dramatized in the miniseries From the Earth to the Moon episode entitled "That's All There Is". Conrad, Gordon, and Bean were portrayed by Paul McCrane, Tom Verica, and Dave Foley, respectively. Conrad had been portrayed by a different actor, Peter Scolari, in the first two episodes.
See also 
- Extra-vehicular activity
- List of spacewalks
- List of artificial objects on the Moon
- Google Moon
- "Lunar sites." NASA. Retrieved: November 7, 2011.
- Kluger and Lovell 1994
- "NASA History." NASA. Retrieved: November 7, 2011.
- "Landing Sites - The Apollo Program." Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Retrieved: November 7, 2011.
- "Apollo 11: 1969 Year in Review." UPI.com. Retrieved: November 7, 2011.
- Chaikin 1995, p. 261.
- Immer, Christopher A. et al. "Apollo 12 Lunar Module Exhaust Plume Impingement on Lunar Surveyor III." Icarus, 211 (2), 1089-1102, February 2011.
- "Video footage of moon landing." YouTube. Retrieved: November 7, 2011.
- "Conrad." Washington Post, July 1999. Retrieved: November 7, 2011.
- "One Small Step." Note at 109:57:55 hq.nasa.gov. Retrieved: November 7, 2011.
- "Earth microbes on the moon: Three decades after Apollo 12, a remarkable colony of lunar survivors revisited." NASA. Retrieved: November 7, 2011.
- Apollo 12 Mission Report (PDF) March 1970.
- "Cuff checklists." NASA. Retrieved: November 7, 2011.
- "Playboy Playmates pranked into Apollo 12 mission checklists." Boing Boing. Retrieved: November 7, 2011.
- "Playmates in Space." The Playboy Blog. Retrieved: November 7, 2011.
- "Alternative Investing: NASA Memorabilia." CNBC. Retrieved: November 7, 2011.
- "DeDe Lind Circles the Moon." playboy.com. Retrieved: November 7, 2011.
- "Moon Museum." greg.org, February 28, 2008. Retrieved: November 7, 2011.
- "How Many Moons does the Earth have?" Retrieved: November 7, 2011.
- "Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter images of the Apollo 12 landing site." Retrieved: November 7, 2011.
- "Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter returns to the Apollo 12 landing site in 2011. Retrieved: November 7, 2011.
- Analysis of Apollo 12 Lightning Incident, (PDF) February 1970.
- Analysis of Surveyor 3 material and photographs returned by Apollo 12 (PDF) 1972.
- Apollo 12 Characteristics — SP-4012 NASA Historical Data Book
- Apollo 12 Mission Report (PDF) March 1970.
- Chaikin, Andrew. A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts. New York: Penguin Books, 1995. ISBN 978-0-14-024146-4.
- Examination of Surveyor 3 surface sampler scoop returned by Apollo 12 mission (PDF) 1971.
- Kluger, Jeffrey and James Lovell. Lost Moon. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1994. ISBN 0-395-67029-2.
- Lattimer, Dick. All We Did was Fly to the Moon. Alachua, Florida: Whispering Eagle Press, 1985. ISBN 0-9611228-0-3.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Apollo 12|
- NASA Apollo 12 press kit - Nov 5, 1969
- Image of mission patch
- Map of surface activities for Apollo 12[dead link]
- Apollo 12 entry in Encyclopedia Astronautica
- NASA NSSDC Master Catalog
- APOLLO BY THE NUMBERS: A Statistical Reference by Richard W. Orloff (NASA)
- The Apollo Spacecraft: A Chronology
- Apollo Program Summary Report
- Apollo 12 Science Experiments
- Apollo 12 Preliminary Science Report
- Actual Mission Audio Recordings
- Apollo 12: There and Back Again - image slideshow by Life magazine