The Half-Astrophysicist Blog

Apollo 17 Anniversary

Apollo 17 launched on December 7th, 1972. It was the last of the six missions to successfully land on the Moon and the first to have a scientists, Harrison Schmidt (geologist), walk on the Moon. They spent more time on the lunar surface (over three days) and walking on the Moon (over 22 hours spread over three Moon walks) than any other mission.

Watching this launch is one of my earliest childhood memories. I have vague memories of other Moon missions, but this one is the most clear. It’s easy to pin down since it was the only night launch.  I was only four years old. I remember watching it and there was a launch delay that I remember taking a long time and that I got to stay up way past my usual bedtime to watch the launch. Boy, was I right! Now I can look stuff up and see that it was a 2 hour and 40 minute delay and Apollo 17 finally launched at 12:33am EST. I was in the central time zone so I saw the launch at 11:33pm, pretty late for a four year old to stay up glued to the television!

Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmidt landed on the Moon while Ronald Evans stayed in orbit with the command module. Next year will mark forty years since we last set foot on the Moon. We are long overdue to get back.

December 7, 2011 - Posted by | Apollo, exploration, Moon, NASA

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