The late Lucien J. B. LaCoste (1908–1995) successfully designed gravity meters for nearly every environment on earth—from marine to airborne, from land to underwater to the borehole. This made him an obvious choice for the ultimate challenge in the 1970s, designing a gravity meter for the moon. This is the story of the lunar gravity meter and how a simple error caused it to fail.

In 1968, LaCoste & Romberg began production of the D-meter, an improved version of the famous zero-length spring/beam lever-arm design which could measure gravity in the microGal range. This was the first small, portable field...

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