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They collected 77 kilograms (170 lb) of lunar surface material.
At the same time, Command Module Pilot Alfred Worden orbited the Moon, using a Scientific Instrument Module (SIM) in the Service Module (SM) to study the lunar surface and environment in great detail with a panoramic camera, a gamma-ray spectrometer, a mapping camera, a laser altimeter, a mass spectrometer, and a lunar sub-satellite deployed at the end of Apollo 15's stay in lunar orbit (an Apollo program first).
(During a mission the Capsule Communicators (CAPCOMs), always fellow astronauts, were the only people who normally would speak to the crew.) The CAPCOM was accompanied by a group of geologists unfamiliar with the area who would rely on the astronauts' descriptions to interpret the findings.
It was the first of what were termed "J missions", long stays on the Moon, with a greater focus on science than had been possible on previous missions.At first Silver would take the prime and backup crews to various geological sites in Arizona and New Mexico as if for a normal field geology lesson, but as launch time approached, these trips became more realistic.Crews began to wear mock-ups of the backpacks they would carry, and communicate using walkie-talkies to a CAPCOM in a tent.The mission successfully accomplished its objectives, but was marred by negative publicity that accompanied disclosure of the crew carrying unauthorized postage stamps which they had planned to sell after their return.Ironically, this mission was one of very few that had been honored with the issue of a commemorative US stamp, with this first use of a lunar rover happening one decade after the first Mercury astronaut launch.