Apollo XII Mission - Page 7 of 8
Early on the morning of November 24, Apollo 12 splashed down some 600 kilometers (375 miles) east of Pago Pago, 3.5 kilometers (2 miles) from the recovery ship U.S.S. Hornet. The concern over the parachute pyrotechnics being damaged by the lightning strike was unfounded. The landing was rough, however. Apparently Yankee Clipper hit a rising wave as it swung on its parachutes hard enough to dislodge a 16-mm movie camera from its bracket and slam it into Alan Bean's forehead, momentarily stunning him and opening a 1-inch (2.5-centimeter) cut, which Conrad bandaged.

The recovery swimmers soon arrived, tossed respirators and coveralls - replacing the biological isolation garments that the Apollo 11 crew had found so objectionable - into the command module, then assisted the astronauts into the raft. The astronauts had a four-day trip aboard ship to Hawaii, then a nine-hour flight to Houston. On the morning of November 29, Conrad, Bean, and Gordon entered the Lunar Receiving Laboratory for their 11-day stay in quarantine.

Apollo 12 was a complete success on many fronts. The procedural changes incorporated to improve landing accuracy had allowed Conrad to put Intrepid down within sight of Surveyor III, exactly as intended. Now astronauts could go places the scientists wanted them to. Lunar exploration had been easy for both Conrad and Bean. They had oxygen to spare when they returned with nearly 75 pounds (34 kilograms) of samples from the surface of Oceanus Procellarum. The surface experiments they had set up were returning streams of data, and scientists agreed the astronauts had done a remarkable job.

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