The crash site of Apollo 16’s S-IVB stage has been pinpointed after a dedicated search for its impact location on the Moon.
As the third stage on the Saturn V booster, the S-IVB stages were purposely smashed into the Moon to perform seismic measurements used for characterizing the lunar interior.
However, on the Apollo 16 flight, a malfunction resulted in premature loss of tracking data for that mission’s SIVB. There was uncertainty in the stage’s impact location.
Position poorly defined
“I did finally find the Apollo 16 SIVB crater,” reports Jeff Plescia of The Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland.
“It looks like the others, but its position was much more poorly defined since the tracking was lost prior to impact,” Plescia told Inside Outer Space.
The Apollo 16’s SIVB struck the Moon on April 19, 1972.
Plescia made use of super-powerful images produced by the LROC system on the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to identify the crash site.
Fifth human mission
Lifting off from Earth on April 16, 1972, Apollo 16 was the fifth mission to land humans on the Moon and return them to Earth.
The crew members for this expedition were John Young, Commander, Thomas Mattingly II, Command Module Pilot, and Charles Duke, Jr., Lunar Module Pilot,
Onboard their lunar lander – Orion — Young and Duke touched down in the Descartes Highlands of the Moon.