The majority of the time of EVA-1 (Apollos 12-17 -- there really was no science on 11) was devoted to setting out an array of science instruments near the landing point. The instruments included seismometers, atmosphere and solar wind analysis, and a gravimeter, as well as the more famous laser retro-reflectors that are still being used today (albeit degraded by dust.) The kit and caboodle was known collectively as the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package—ALSEP. Electrical power that most of the instruments required was provided by a Pu238-loaded Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator—RTG.
Right out of the box, the RTG provided nearly 80 watts of power, but its oomph fell off quite steeply over time. The figure below is from page 4-47 of the official ALSEP Termination Report. It shows that after 63 lunations—five years— the Apollo 17 RTG had faded to 61% output and three instruments had already ceased to function. The Apollo 12 ALSEP, planted three years earlier, had declined to just 20 watts. Its design life was only a year (ref. p.2-16 of the same report.)
In late 1977 the decision was taken to stop monitoring the telemetry. To turn ALSEP off, basically, except for passive experiments like the reflectors. Scientists Frank Press and Gary Latham protested, but were overruled. Not only was the ultimate life of the RTGs obviously in its terminal phase, but the room in Houston used for ALSEP data reception was badly needed for Skylab Ops. The cost of running the operation may also have been a consideration.
On 30th September 1977 ALSEP was switched off. It so happens that I was personally present on that occasion, covering it for television. The engineers invited Frank Press to poke the button that would complete the power-down sequence. He looked for a moment as if he'd refuse, but he finally steeled himself, stabbed at the button and turned away with a look of disgust.
Imagine my surprise, therefore, when on 6th October 2009—a full 32 years later!—I heard Richard Hoagland say on Coast to Coast AM that ALSEP seismometers would record the forthcoming impact of the LCROSS Centaur rocket. The notion that ALSEP was turned off in 1977 was, he announced, "another NASA lie."
Editors at wikipedia noticed this too, and made a point of it on Hoagland's page. Yesterday the topic of lunar science came up in Facebooklandia, and Neville Parchemin asked Hoagland whether he had personally seen any ALSEP data since 1977. Hoagland replied quickly:
No, I said "in all likelihood [based on NASA's proven OTHER lies -- as documented in "Dark Mission"...] the ALSEP network -- especially the critical seismometers -- was NOT actually shut down on that highly publicised date in 1977"; if that is, indeed, the case, then why would there be ANY evidence in "the public domain" to contradict the official NASA statement re ALSEP's "budget termination" ...?
Incidentally, that Wikipedia entry has been TOTALLY edited (and re-edited) by NASA -- many times -- thus, it is full of outright lies about me ... AND my work. :)
It's safe to decode that first part as "Actually I don't have any evidence whatsoever to support that ignorant and malicious allegation."
As for the second part, the edit history of that wikipage is available for anyone to inspect, and it shows no official action by NASA at all. One editor works at NASA Goddard but specifically states that his wiki-activities are not wiki-official.
Bet you didn't think it could get any more ridiculous, didya? Well, stand by. Parchemin followed up by asking specifically what were the chances of the RTGs providing any useful power after the elapse of 40-odd years. Here's what RCH said about RTGs:
I looked into this (briefly), back in 2009, as LCROSS was approaching its impact with the Moon; I was wondering if "a still working ALSEP seismic network" could, secretly, provide unique data from the coming LCROSS impact (as well as the planned impacts of the two Japenese and Chinese lunar orbiting probes ...).
The case, in 2009 (if I remember the numbers correctly) was "marginal."But, of course, that's NOT counting on the capabilities of the "secret space program" to quietly REFUEL those ALSEP SNAP power systems, or even to emplace an entire new generation of sesimic (and other) sensors on the moon ... in the decades SINCE Apollo ....
SO MUCH is being hidden re the REAL space program, it's almost impossible to have a rational discussion on these points -- as Mike Bara and I point out repeatedly, with evidence, in "Dark Mission."
If you read that travesty of a book, Dark Mission, you'll discover that what he calls evidence is what most of us would call idle and paranoid conjecture. As for the RTG power being described as "marginal" 35 years after its design life had expired, that's just poppycock as usual.