The Surveyor 3 hardware had spent several years exposed in space. Until this point most 'samples' had spent at most a couple of weeks in orbit, with the exception of a sample collection plate recovered by Gemini 10 from the Gemini 8 Agena target vehicle after 6 months.
Space exposure is hard to simulate and, prior to the ISS making this much easier, several ...
It stands for Signal Conditioning Equipment. From Wikipedia
The loss of all three fuel cells put the CSM entirely on batteries,
which were unable to maintain normal 75-ampere launch loads on the
28-volt DC bus. One of the AC inverters dropped offline. These power
supply problems lit nearly every warning light on the control panel
and caused much ...
This is explained in the Apollo Program Summary Report. A floating command module has two stable positions; stable II is upside-down and undesired. It was discovered that three identical uprighting bags was not enough to get out of the stable II position, so the Z-axis bag was made smaller:
184.108.40.206 Uprighting system
In addition to the overall weight ...
"How was Surveyor-3's location known to such accuracy?"
The Surveyors were located using Lunar Orbiter photography (not necessarily of the probe themselves, just the surrounding area).
These coordinates were obtained by determining the position of the
landed Surveyors on Lunar Orbiter photographs by matching features
shown in Surveyor pictures ...
The first Block I version of the capsule used three bags of the same diameter (43 inch). The later Block II used one smaller bag (34 inch). The volume of the small bag was 49.43 % of the larger ones. So they wanted to try a smaller bag with half the volume and calculated a 34 inch diameter bag.
The priceless opportunity to get data on the effect of the environment on equipment that had been on the moon.
??? whatever else might have happened to it.
It is one thing to collect Moon Rocks, which also contain a lot of information about these sort of things. But a moon rock only tells you what it ...
(This answer doesn't directly address the question, but it dovetails well with Organic Marble's on-topic answer.)
On the landing approach, Conrad saw and identified "Surveyor crater" very quickly after the "pitchover" maneuver that allowed a surface view out the windows of the LM. This was a 400-foot wide crater inside which Surveyor III ...
If such a thing happened, it would most likely have been during the approach and rendezvous of the LM ascent stage with the CM, as Conrad and Bean were returning from the lunar surface. The most challenging part of the mission would be behind them and there would be a little window of time where they could maneuver around on the RCS thrusters without any ...
NASA wanted to see the change of the Surveyor parts caused by the stay on the Moon.
The Surveyor III TV camera is on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D. C. Photo by Ulrich Lotzmann. See, also, a photo of the camera being examined at the Hughes Aircraft Company in April 1970.
The Apollo 12 Preliminary Science Report contains a section on Surveyor 3.
Among other findings:
no evidence of "cold welding" of the parts.
dust kicked up during the landing of the Apollo 12 LM pitted and "sandblasted" one side of Surveyor
micrometeoroid pitting was light and confirmed the estimates used in designing the Apollo spacecraft to withstand ...
Without any time markings, it's impossible to tell if the ground track indicates a "hard left" or very gentle maneuvers over a long period of time.
The annotated transcript gives us some hints, though:
[Pete is descending very slowly as he flies along the north rim of Surveyor Crater, looking for a good spot to land.]
[Conrad, from the 1969 ...
Primary reason: demonstrating precision landing
Secondary reason: recovering the Surveyor hardware
The Apollo landing sites were chosen by Bellcomm. An entire issue (30.3 Mb, 176 pp.) of the Bell System Technical Journal describes the Apollo landing site selection process. The decision for Apollo 12 is explained on p. 976:
The landing site selected for ...
To be precise, the astronaut is posing for a "tourist picture", rather than examining Surveyor.
This is photo AS12-48-7136 (very similar to -7135, but distinguishable by the position of the Réseau marks), with some contrast changes. According to the Apollo 12 image library, there was some back and forth of cameras and magazines because of a mechanical ...
From NASA's own website:
With a half hour to go, Merritt Island was experiencing peak winds of 14 knots, light rain showers, broken clouds at 240 meters, and overcast skies at 3,000 meters. But the ceiling exceeded the minimum requirement of 150 meters, and the ground winds were within limits. The Apollo design permitted launch during rain. The ...
Overall it seems that the NYT article has garbled the details: although the initial low-angle sunlight made Surveyor Crater look too steep, the estimated angle of about 11 degrees proved manageable by sidling down the rim. From the Apollo 12 Lunar Surface Journal transcripts and commentary by the astronauts (https://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/a12/a12.html):
Sadly, it didn't convince them for long. At least one other vehicle was lost to triggered lightning.
Adding to the misery of the US launch industry in the late 1980s was the Atlas Centaur 67 incident, which was launched into cloudy conditions and subsequently struck by rocket triggered lightning.
Late in the afternoon of 26 March 1987, while the NRC was ...
Apollo 12 actually was not struck by lightning, despite the common misconception. It did fly through rain, and was the only manned spacecraft to fly through rain. In that flight, there was a massive static electricity buildup that lead to the two electrical events. Source
There was a rule, 1-404, that states:
“The vehicle will not be launched when its ...
Another candidate for Al Bean driving during the trip back is this line from day 9 of the mission.
211:18:45 Conrad: In case you're watching the DSKY, it's a little OJT [on the job training] for Al, and we won't torque.
What Al Bean's doing is a "P52", adjusting the alignment of the Inertial Measurement Unit based on star sightings. When Conrad says "we ...
No color photographs were taken.
According to Analysis of Surveyor 3 material and photographs
returned by Apollo 12, p. 3,
During their second EVA, astronauts Charles Conrad and Alan Bean reached Surveyor 3 on November 20, 1969, at 06:27 GMT. They spent about 25 minutes at Surveyor and an additional 10 minutes at a nearby small crater ("Blocky Crater"), ...
I've found a couple of test reports on other RTGs designed for space. First, from A report on RTGs for Pluto and other missions post 2006:
The RTGs (Qualification Unit and flight units) were assembled in the
Inert Atmosphere Assembly Chamber (IAAC) at Mound (except for F-8
which was assembled at INL). Mound and INL performed initial RTG
Here is an image of the Apollo 9 multispectral camera mounted to the hatch window. It was used in Earth orbit:
Image from this pdf.
A color image of the array from this NASA page: Note the different color labels in green, red, brown and black.
An front side image of the Apollo 12 camera array was provided by Organic Marble, so I concentrate on the filter ...
There's a picture in the Apollo Experience Report - Photographic Equipment..., page 21.
This is a guess really - it's out of my wheelhouse - but a note on Page 11 in the document linked above gives the experiment number SO-246 associated with this instrument, and on Page 5 in the Apollo 12 Lunar Photography document linked in the question, SO-246 is stated ...
I'm very sure that this is the Lunar Equipment Conveyor.
The Lunar Equipment Conveyor (LEC) is a device which the astronauts will use during the EVA to transfer equipment to or from the ascent stage. It may also be used by the crewmen as a safety tether when moving down the ladder or as an aid in ascending to the ascent stage.
The LEC is a 60 foot ...
To answer question 4 (this is mostly reformulating my comments on the question):
Was it ever used on any Apollo mission, either to haul someone out of a crater or for something else?
The Lunar Surface Journal's Sampling at Head Crater and Bench Crater entry includes commentary between Pete Conrad, Alan Bean (the LM crew) and Eric M. Jones (who wrote/...
It helps to do the math. Tangent 21 degrees = .384 = 38.4 % grade. This is around 5 times steeper than most anything you'll see driving around the Rocky mountains of Western USA.
Very difficult to climb out of, even when not wearing a bulky space suit.
Important to remember, even though moon gravity is 1/6th earth (1.62m/s$^2$), there is no "terminal ...
The Lunar coordinates of the landing site were 3.01239° S latitude, 23.42157° W longitude which Ewen Adair Whitaker (who had previously successfully located Surveyor 1 for NASA) designated as 1,180 feet (360 m) from the location of Surveyor 3, a distance that was chosen to eliminate the possibility of lunar dust being kicked up by Intrepid's descent engine ...