Last Man on the Moon

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Apollo 17 (Mission Event: December 7–19, 1972) was the final mission of NASA's Apollo program; and remains the last time humans have travelled beyond the confines of low Earth orbit.
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The Apollo 17 crew consisted of Commander Eugene Cernan, Lunar Module Pilot Harrison Schmitt, Command Module Pilot Ronald Evans, and a lesser known group of star voyagers…a box containing five mice named Fe, Fi, Fo, Fun, and Phooey.
The 17th mission was classified as a "J-type”, which was a NASA package deal that offered direct flight to Taurus-Littrow valley, three days on the Lunar sands, 3 local excursions, and unlimited access to the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV). Air Fare and meals included.
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The mission commenced with a fully fuelled Saturn V on launch pad 39A, and weighed in at a whopping 6 million, five hundred and forty pounds. Her first stage consisted of 5 Rocketdyne F-1 rocket engines that produced an impressive seven million, eight hundred, and ninety one pounds of thrust, for a total burn time of 168 seconds. On the top of the mighty Saturn V sat Apollo 17's Command Module named “America”, and Lunar Lander named “Challenger”.
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The clock started ticking as Apollo 17 was launched at 05:33:00 UTC, (12:33 a.m. Eastern Standard Time) on December 7th, 1972, and as per mission parameters, at 3:46 am EST, the S-IVB third stage was re-ignited for Trans Lunar Injection, propelling the spacecraft towards the Moon.
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At approximately 2:47 pm EST on December 10th, the main engine ignited to slow down the CSM/LM stack into lunar orbit. Following a nominal orbital insertion and orbital stabilization, the crew began preparations for landing in the Taurus-Littrow valley.
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Challenger separated from America, with Evans remaining behind in the CSM.  Several minutes after the descent phase was initiated, the LM pitched, giving the crew their first look at the landing site. Apollo 17 touched down on the lunar surface at 2:55 pm EST on December the 11th. 
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The first task was to offload the rover and other equipment from the LM. Unfortunately Cernan caught his hammer under the right-rear fender extension, accidentally breaking it off, thus forcing the crew to attempt the worlds first Lunar Buggy repair.  Utilizing duct tape, and a map, the crew attempted to fix the LRV, but sadly lunar dust stuck to the tape's surface, preventing it from adhering properly to the damaged fender. 
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On that mission, Cernan and Schmitt had completed the longest-duration EVA in history to-date, traveling further away from a spacecraft, and covering more ground on a planetary body during any single EVA of any other spacefarers.
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December 14th, 1972, the crew of Apollo 17 were preparing to depart the surface of the moon, when "Gene" Cernan paused as he was about to climb the ladder back into the LM, and said the following words...
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"As I take man's last step from the surface, back home for some time to come – but we believe not too long into the future – I'd like to just say what I believe history will record. That America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow. And, as we leave the Moon at Taurus–Littrow, we leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind.
Godspeed the crew of Apollo 17."
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It has been 50 years since these words were spoken...and we have yet to return.
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1 comment


  • Andy

    Thank you


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