In the graphic novel based on John Michael Greer's 'The Next 10 Billion Years', there's a haunting picture of the descent stage of a lunar module (the shorter online version, 'Grounded', is here: https://www.badspacecomics.com/post/grounded).

In the distant future, another civilization finds them. In an article on what was left behind on the Apollo missions (https://www.popsci.com/trash-items-left-on-moon-apollo-maps/), it mentions that some EV gloves were left behind. In theory, that means that future civilization could determine we had four fingers and a thumb (or perhaps, based on some technology left behind, they might have deduced we used a base-10 counting system).

In thinking about this, it made me wonder - what sort of spares were brought to the moon? Obviously extra gloves, since you couldn't have depressurized the lunar module unless you had gloves on. Is there a list of what spares were brought to the moon?

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    $\begingroup$ Charles Duke left a photo of his family. Not sure of the details and no doubt its faded away by now, but it might be possible to detect some elements of the picture via chemical residues. britannica.com/story/what-have-we-left-on-the-moon $\endgroup$
    – Slarty
    Commented Feb 17 at 16:27

2 Answers 2


I had started to write an answer that no EV gloves were left on the Moon and that the novel had likely taken artistic license. Even though the Popular Science article that the question linked to showed a diagram for Apollo 17 showing EV gloves being left behind, I somewhat dismissed this since the article’s Apollo 11 diagram showed it parked near Surveyor 6, and also since the Apollo 14, 15, and 17 diagrams each showed that besides the descent stage being left behind, the diagrams showed the ascent stages also being left behind. Unfortunately the document that the Popular Science article used as its source, the “NASA Catalogue of Manmade Material on the Moon” is no longer available on the NASA website and I have so far not been able to find a copy of it.

Edit - as pointed out in a comment by Abe Karplus, the archived NASA document is available here. The document shows two pairs of EV gloves being left behind. However the document also shows two pairs of lunar boots being left behind, something which according to later crew debriefs apparently did not occur.

After some further research I discovered that there is a mention in the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal of EV gloves being jettisoned at the end of the Apollo 17 surface stay. In a comment in the journal just after Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt received a go to begin the jettison operations it says:

171:39:37 Each of them has two pair of EV gloves, but have only been using one pair. As we will see at 171:54:54 and 174:52:48, they will jettison the unused pair, a departure from the checklist which doesn't call for any glove jettison. After repress - as called out in the checklist - they doffed their used gloves and stowed them on the comm panel. Now, they have re-donned the used gloves in preparation for the depress. Apparently, they have also gotten the unused gloves out of storage - an action not called out in the checklist - but have not put them on.

A few minutes later as Cernan and Schmitt are in the middle of the jettison operation, they make comments that sounds as if they are jettisoning their used EV gloves

171:54:33 Cernan: Well, Houston, I think we ought to probably just mention, anyway. We are jettisoning two sets of EVA gloves. I think that's worth mentioning. Because they did their job!
171:54:49 Schmitt: Just like everything else did its job. Let me jettison mine.
171:54:54 Cernan: Okay. (Pause)
171:54:58 Schmitt: Ooops, we didn't get them clear. (Laughs)
171:55:07 Parker: Okay, we copy two sets of EVA gloves to the surface for the last time.

Although in reality, either accidentally or on purpose, they apparently kept their used EV gloves (likely covered with lunar dust) and jettisoned the unused gloves, as indicated in a dialogue a few minutes later with Deke Slayton:

174:56:00 Slayton: We were just debating down here how come you guys threw away those nice clean gloves and kept the dirty ones.
174:56:09 Schmitt: I wish you hadn't asked that, Deke. (Slayton laughs) We were just debating that, too.

The commentary in the Lunar Surface Journal indicates that apparently Cernan and Schmitt did not jettison an extra pair of boots as planned, and thus speculated that the spare EV gloves were tossed out instead. If so then these would likely be the only EV gloves that were left behind on the lunar surface during the Apollo missions.

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    $\begingroup$ Might be a good sci-fi story on reproducing humanity from DNA left in the glove, shielded by the glove material. Alas, they threw the new ones away instead. (Sure, would not impede a good story.) $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Feb 17 at 20:15
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    $\begingroup$ The NASA catalogue is still available in the Internet Archive, and it confirms that Apollo 17 left behind "Gloves, EV Pair [2]": archive.org/details/finalcatalogueofmanmadematerialonthemoon/… $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 17 at 20:34
  • $\begingroup$ @AbeKarplus Thanks for posting the link to the document. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 17 at 23:38
  • $\begingroup$ Why? "weight reduction taken to the extreme" - they were supposed to jettison the boots but wanted to take them home as souvenirs, so they had to make up the difference? ... "I wish you hadn't asked that" also, please don't go look in my locker.... $\endgroup$
    – Mazura
    Commented Feb 18 at 0:05
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    $\begingroup$ @Mazura - I was referring to the presumably inadvertent assertion in the PopSci diagrams that the Apollo 14, 15 and 17 ascent modules were left behind and made a joke about it. Whatever (little) humor there might have been has now fizzed away so I have removed that line. But they had a strict weight budget for sample return, to the point that they had a small scale to weigh each sample. And they reported each item being jettisoned (including the gloves) so that Houston could include it in the ascent weight calculation. There was margin, but consider that they tossed custom Hasselblad cameras. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 18 at 1:02

Partial Answer -

There are lists of what was brought to the moon. They are called the "Stowage Lists" and you can get them here.

Looking at the Apollo 11 list, I don't see any spare EVA gloves.

enter image description here

The various codes break down to

  • B = LM Earth Launch Stowage List
  • 1015 = LM Stowed Operational GFE (Government Furnished Equipment)
  • A = COMAT Approved

(COMAT is an acronym for "Characteristics of Materials". The COMAT system is a computerized central data bank used in the recording and control of the use of non-metallic materials in the crew bays of the Apollo spacecraft- from here )

The other missions are left as an exercise for the reader.

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    $\begingroup$ I seem to recall that Apollo astronauts wore spacesuits during takeoff in case there would be a depressurization event. Do they have the same or different gloves than the EV gloves? Edit: Answering myself, IV and EV gloves are separate. $\endgroup$
    – jpa
    Commented Feb 17 at 17:30

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