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Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Recent image of the Apollo 17 landing site.  Did they leave the keys in the ignition of the LTV?

LAST FOOTPRINTS—Apollo 17 was the last Apollo mission to land men on the moon.  Looking back the span of missions from Apollo 11 to Apollo 17 lasted from July 1969 to December 1972, a mere whisper of time.  Blast off from Kennedy Space Center launch complex 39A was on December 7, 1972, the only night time launch of an Apollo mission.   See video link below.

Rare view of Antarctica from the Moon
Lunar touchdown was December 11, 1972. Landing site was Taurus-Littrow valley on the eastern edge of Mare Serenitatis.  There were two main geology objectives for this site, according to the Lunar and Planetary Institute.   First, was to obtain samples of ancient rocks from the lunar highlands and second, to seek evidence of younger volcanic activity on the valley floor.  The two lunar explorers collected 741 individual rock and soil samples, including a deep drill core that included material from three meters below the lunar surface.  The mission goals were met.

One of the Apollo 17 photography goals was to capture a view of Antarctica from the moon.

Crew consisted of Eugene Cernan, commander; Ronald Evans, command module pilot (America); and Harrison Schmidt, lunar module pilot (Challenger).

Apollo 17’s Harrison Schmitt was the only trained geologist to walk on the lunar surface.  Compared with previous Apollo missions, number 17 astronauts traversed the greatest distance (30 kilometers )by utilizing the four-wheeled moon buggy.  They also returned the largest amount of rock and soil samples (110 kilograms.)

Time on the lunar surface was 75 hours with 22 hours being outside the lander.

Astronaut Eugene Cernan, commander of Apollo 17, still holds the distinction of being the last human to walk on the moon, as no one has revisited since December 14, 1972.  Captain Cernan will be 79 years old on March 14, 2013.


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