Sunday, December 9, 2012

Apollo 17

Forty years ago this month, NASA launched Apollo 17, its last mission to the moon.  Mission commander Gene Cernan, lunar module pilot Dr. Harrison "Jack" Schmitt and command module pilot Ron Evans lifted off just after 12:30 a.m. on December 7th, 1972.  While Evans performed experiments in lunar orbit, Cernan and Schmitt explored the area of Taurus-Littrow, discovered orange soil, and composed the brief musical parody "I was strolling on the moon one day".  They splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on December 19th.  Previously planned subsequent Apollo missions were cancelled.

Dr. Schmitt remembers the mission vividly.  He remains the only trained geologist to collect rock samples on a world other than earth.  Cernan, who named a large rock after his daughter, remembers the camera he left on the moon.

Go here for a panorama of what the two astronauts saw.  For more on Apollo 17, go to Universe TodayNational Journal and Views Of The Solar System, and watch this video:

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