71596 is an olivine-microporphyritic ilmenite basalt that was collected as part of a rake sample. It is a fine-grained basalt with skeletal olivine and ilmenite phenocrysts in a variolitic groundmass. Sheaths of plagioclase and pyroxene are intergrown in 'bow ties'. Olivine includes Cr-spinel grains. Armalcolite is present, mantled by ilmenite. Ca-rich pyroxene is zoned to Fe-rich rims. Rotation 1 shows a compositionally zoned olivine crystal.
The sample weighed 61 grams before analysis and has not been dated.
Further details of this and other Apollo samples are here: http://curator.jsc.nasa.gov/lunar/
Darker patches on our thin section are where there has been some deterioration in the epoxy used to glue the rock slice to the supporting glass slide.
Apollo 17, the final manned landing mission, had two objectives: to obtain samples of ancient rocks from the lunar highlands and to look for evidence of younger volcanic activity on the valley floor.
This small Collection contains material deriving from both periods, including igneous rocks around 4.3 billion years old from the lunar highlands as well as younger volcanic samples dating from about 3.6 billion years ago.
Apollo 17 was launched on 7 December 1972.