Irwin: OK, I have my pictures, Dave.
Scott: OK, let’s see. What do you think the best way to sample it would be?
Irwin: I think probably… Could we break off a piece of the clod underneath it? Or I guess you could probably lift that top fragment right off.
Scott: Yeah. Let me try.
As Scott leaned into it, he thought it was a white clast breccia — until a reflection caught his eye, and he realized it was something much rarer.
Scott: Yeah. Sure can. And it’s a — a white clast, and it’s about —
Irwin: Oh, man!
Scott: Oh, boy!
Irwin: I got —
Scott: Look at that.
Irwin: — Look at the glint!
Irwin: Almost see twinning [a symmetrical crystal pattern] in there!
Scott: …Guess what we just found. [Laughs.] Guess what we just found! I think we found what we came for.
Irwin: Crystalline rock, huh?
Scott: Yes, sir. You better believe it.
Allen: Yes, sir.
Scott: Look at the plage [plagioclase, a type of crystalline formation] in there.
Scott: Almost all plage.
Scott: As a matter of fact — [laughs] Oh, boy! I think we might have ourselves something close to anorthosite, ‘cause it’s crystalline, and there’s just a bunch… It’s just almost all plage. What a beaut.
Irwin: That is really a beauty. And, there’s another one down there!
Scott: Yeah. We’ll get some of these.
Allen: Bag it up!
Scott: Ah! Ah!
Scott: Hey, let me get some of that clod there. No, let’s don’t mix them. Let’s make this a special — why — I’ll zip it up.
Scott: Make this bag, 196, a special bag.
Allen: Yes, sir.
Scott: Our first one. [Pause.] Don’t lose your bag now, Jim. [Irwin: laughs.] Oh, boy!
The Genesis Rock was an instant sensation. Although it was not, as first thought, a piece of primordial lunar crust, at 4.1 billion years old, it was one of the oldest samples found during the entire Apollo program.
Over the course of the first two days, Scott and Irwin encountered persistent problems using the all-new power drill, struggling to exert enough pressure for it to make headway when planting probes to measure the Moon’s internal heat. The issues came to a head on the morning of their third day on the surface, when they were supposed to retrieve a core sample. Although they eventually succeeded, the delays forced them to cut their third EVA short and forgo exploring the North Complex of craters.
Nevertheless, all the mission’s science objectives had already been achieved. The astronauts capped their lunar exploration with a short jaunt in the rover over to the rim of Hadley Rille. The rover had more than proved its worth, covering 17.5 miles (28.2 km) over 18 hours and 37 minutes of EVA — a new duration record.
Shortly after returning to the LM, Scott and Irwin lit the engine of Falcon’s ascent stage and flew to a rendezvous with Endeavour and Worden, who had been keeping busy in lunar orbit with his own campaign of photography.