For three days in December 1972, New Mexico native and Apollo astronaut Harrison Schmitt was one of two space travelers who drilled into the surface of the moon’s Taurus-Littrow valley to collect rock samples. No one has been on the moon since.
Several of the rock samples collected, NASA decided at the time, would be put into a vacuum-sealed container while the astronauts were still on the surface of the moon. The rocks have remained sealed for nearly five decades.
Later this year, students from the University of New Mexico and other institutions and universities will be the first to study the preserved moon samples.