The thorough moon.NASA.gov/exploration page Moon Missions shows the image below.

I learned almost all of what I know about Physics and Engineering from the Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner cartoons, from the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons.

I instantly recognized the apparatus on the Surveyor 3 lander extending in front of Apollo 12 commander Charles Conrad Jr. as a spring loaded boxing glove, adapted more recently (either from the Surveyor 3 or the Coyote's implementation) by a Wallace and Gromit mission shown below.

Question: But I'd like to know exactly what was Surveyor 3 doing with a spring-loaded boxing glove-like device?

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Source: https://moon.nasa.gov/exploration/moon-missions/

Apollo 12 commander Charles Conrad Jr. examines the robotic Surveyor 3 spacecraft during his second extravehicular activity (EVA) on the Moon on 20 November 1969.

Full size available here where the caption says

Apollo 12 astronaut Alan L. Bean, lunar module pilot, examines the robotic Surveyor 3 spacecraft during his second extravehicular activity (EVA) on the Moon on 20 November 1969. Surveyor spacecraft pioneered the technology that enabled Apollo astronauts to reach the Moon.

The Lunar Module (LM) Intrepid is in the background (right). This picture was taken by commander Charles Conrad Jr.

Intrepid landed on the Moon's Ocean of Storms on 19 November 1969 only about 600 feet (180 meters) from the Surveyor 3 spacecraft.

The television camera and several other components were taken from Surveyor 3 and brought back to Earth for scientific analysis.

Because of the conflict in names, I've just asked Which Apollo 12 astronaut is shown examining the Surveyor 3 lander in this photograph?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Did you mean one fo these $\endgroup$
    – user20636
    Sep 20, 2019 at 13:43

1 Answer 1


It's the soil sampling arm and scoop.

This Surveyor mission was the first one that carried a surface-soil sampling-scoop, which can be seen on its extendable arm in the pictures. This mechanism was mounted on an electric-motor-driven arm and was used to dig four trenches in the lunar soil. These trenches were up to seven inches (18 centimeters) deep. Samples of soil from the trenches were placed in front of the Surveyor's television cameras to be photographed and the pictures radioed back to the Earth.


The Apollo 12 crew brought the scoop back! It is currently in the Kansas Cosmosphere.

Good article on it here.

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Images from the Heroic Relics scoop page.

(apparently not made by Acme)


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