Pete Conrad, Alan Bean and Richard Gordon flew on the mission which touched down near the earlier unmanned Surveyor 3 probe's landing site. Conrad and Bean walked on the lunar surface and collected rock samples and pieces of the Surveyor 3 spacecraft. NASA scientists wanted to study how more than two years on the Moon had affected the probe.
Photo: Alan Bean sets up experiments on the Moon (NASA)
Astronauts visit a robotic probe on the Moon.
James May meets Alan Bean, lunar module pilot on Apollo 12.
James May goes to meet one of only 12 men to have walked on the Moon. Alan Bean was the lunar module pilot on Apollo 12 and spent over 30 hours on the surface of the Moon.
Patrick Moore and his guest tackle a common Moon hoax claim.
Playing devil's advocate, Sir Patrick Moore asks space imaging expert Douglas Arnold about a common claim made by people who say the Moon landings were faked.
Apollo 12 finds hardy bacteria on an old Moon probe.
The Apollo 12 astronauts located Surveyor 3, a 1967 unmanned Moon probe, and returned a piece of it to Earth. Scientists wanted to know what effect 33 months on the Moon had had on the probe. Inside the spacecraft's camera they found droplets from a sneeze accidentally sealed into the instrument by one of its builders. The bacteria in the droplets "came back to life" once they were returned to the right conditions. This showed how hardy life can be.
Apollo 12 was the sixth manned flight in the United States Apollo program and the second to land on the Moon (an H type mission). It was launched on November 14, 1969 from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, four months after Apollo 11. Mission commander Charles "Pete" Conrad and Lunar Module Pilot Alan L. Bean performed just over one day and seven hours of lunar surface activity while Command Module Pilot Richard F. Gordon remained in lunar orbit. The landing site for the mission was located in the southeastern portion of the Ocean of Storms.
Unlike the first landing on Apollo 11, Conrad and Bean achieved a precise landing at their expected location, the site of the Surveyor 3 unmanned probe, which had landed on April 20, 1967. They carried the first color television camera to the lunar surface on an Apollo flight, but transmission was lost after Bean accidentally destroyed the camera by pointing it at the Sun. On one of two moonwalks, they visited the Surveyor and removed some parts for return to Earth. The mission ended on November 24 with a successful splashdown.