If humans returned to the original Apollo landing sites, what previously left-behind equipment could reasonably be salvaged as part of a future mission or colony? That is, is everything that was left behind in the 60's and 70's essentially junk as of 2019, or are there individual parts or even components that are likely to be still functional or at least capable of being repaired by astronauts on-site?

In response to @called2voyage's comment, I am primarily asking about the technical side - that is, if we assume that it is NASA that is returning, or an agency that has obtained permission from NASA to salvage its stuff, and especially asking about cost-effectiveness - that is, is there anything where it is likely to be more cost effective to salvage the one that Apollo astronauts left behind than to ship a new one from Earth?

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    $\begingroup$ Do you want us to consider potential legal consequences or ignore them? See space.stackexchange.com/a/8214/58 $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage
    Mar 5, 2019 at 17:11
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    $\begingroup$ @called2voyage I edited my question. My question was intended to be about the technical side. $\endgroup$ Mar 5, 2019 at 17:15
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    $\begingroup$ What about the Hasselblad Data cameras left on the moon before lift off? Of course without film magazines but with camera body and lens. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Mar 5, 2019 at 21:47
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    $\begingroup$ @Uwe I would expect a modern digital camera would net less mass per photo then replacement film and magazines, may you should ask a new question about it. $\endgroup$ Mar 6, 2019 at 10:55
  • $\begingroup$ Something very simple without any moving parts or electronics just like a hammer would still work. But a pair of pliers may have failed during 50 years on the moon. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Jul 30, 2019 at 13:55

1 Answer 1


The general consensus of answers at Can I borrow a lunar rover? is two points

  1. We don't really know for sure...
  2. Probably not realistic as we expect there will have been considerable damage.

You can't count on anything being available for reuse. Once there you could check on the condition, and order needed replacement parts or bring them on a second trip.

Also related Can I drive Elon Musk's Tesla after it's been in space for 100 Years?


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