HomeNASANASA — 12 Nice Presents from Astronomy

NASA — 12 Nice Presents from Astronomy

Not lengthy after midnight on Dec. 7, 1972, the final crewed mission to the Moon, Apollo 17, lifted off with three astronauts: Eugene Cernan, Harrison Schmitt, and Ronald Evans.

Expertise the Apollo 17 launch and observe the mission in actual time.

The Apollo 17 Space Vehicle sits poised beneath a full moon on Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center during the launch countdown. The Saturn V rocket is mostly white, with several black patches, American flags, and the letters “USA” on its side. It is connected to an orange launch tower on the left. Credit: NASAALT

Meet the Crew

Let’s meet the astronauts who made the ultimate Apollo journey to the Moon, together with the primary scientist-astronaut.

Gene Cernan: In 1972, Apollo 17 Mission Commander Eugene A. Cernan had two area flights below his belt, Gemini 9 in June 1966, and Apollo 10 in Could 1969. He was a naval aviator, electrical and aeronautical engineer and fighter pilot.

Ron Evans: Apollo 17 Command Module Pilot Ronald E. Evans was chosen as a member of the 4th group of NASA astronauts in 1966. Like Cernan, he was {an electrical} and aeronautical engineer, and naval aviator earlier than his project to the Apollo 17 crew.

Harrison (Jack) Schmitt: Lunar Module Pilot Dr. Harrison (Jack) Schmitt joined NASA as a member of the primary group of scientist-astronauts in 1965. Earlier than working for NASA, Schmitt was a geologist on the USGS Astrogeology Middle. He was on the backup crew for Apollo 15 earlier than being chosen for the prime crew of Apollo 17. He turned the primary of the scientist-astronauts to go to area and the twelfth human to stroll on the Moon.

The Apollo 17 prime astronaut crew observes pre-launch activity at Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center while participating in Emergency Egress Test. They are, left to right, Ronald E. Evans, Harrison H. Schmitt, and Eugene A. Cernan. Credit: NASAALT

The Blue Marble

“The Blue Marble,” some of the reproduced pictures in historical past, was taken 50 years in the past on Dec. 7, 1972 by the Apollo 17 crew as they made their technique to the Moon.

This view of Earth was seen by the Apollo 17 crew as they traveled toward the moon on their NASA lunar landing mission. This outstanding trans-lunar coast photograph extends from the Mediterranean Sea area to the Antarctica south polar ice cap. This is the first time the Apollo trajectory made it possible to photograph the south polar ice cap. Note the heavy cloud cover in the Southern Hemisphere. Almost the entire coastline of Africa is clearly visible. The Arabian Peninsula can be seen at the northeastern edge of Africa. The large island off the coast of Africa is the Malagasy Republic. The Asian mainland is on the horizon toward the northeast. Credit: NASAALT

Bag of Soup, Anybody?

NASA astronauts have an array of menu objects to remain properly fed and hydrated on missions. For Apollo 17, the menus allotted round 2,500 energy per day for every astronaut. They included:

  • Bacon Squares
  • Peanut Butter Sandwiches
  • Frankfurters
  • Lobster Bisque

Like something going to area, weight and containment matter. That’s why the Apollo 17 menu included loads of soups and puddings.

Ron Evans smiles as he holds up a packet of soup during the outbound trip of Apollo 17. Credit: NASAALT


On Dec. 11, 2022,  the Artemis I mission might be splashing down on Earth after its 25.5-day mission. At 2:55 p.m. 50 years prior, the Apollo 17 lunar module (LM) landed on the Moon, with Commander Gene Cernan and LM Pilot Harrison Schmitt on board. Ron Evans remained within the Command and Service Module (CSM) orbiting the Moon.

Expertise the touchdown.

The half Earth appears in the black sy over the Lunar Module on the lunar surface. The spacecraft has a radio dish, black thermal blankets, and a tubular metal support structure. Credit: NASAALT

Planting the Flag

One of many first duties the Apollo 17 crew did on their first moonwalk was to plant the American flag. There’s no wind on the Moon, however that doesn’t imply the flag has to droop. Do you know {that a} horizontal rod with a latch makes the flag look like flying within the wind? Gene Cernan fastidiously composed this photograph to get Schmitt, the flag, and the Earth in a single shot.

So, is the flag nonetheless there? Photos of the Apollo 17 touchdown web site from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Digicam present that in 2011 the flag was nonetheless standing and casting a shadow!

Astronaut Harrison Schmitt poses in a bulky white spacesuit on the Lunar surface next to an American flag. The Earth hangs in the black sky in the background, and fellow astronaut Eugene Cernan is seen in the reflection of Schmitt's golden visor. Credit: NASAALT

Moon Buggy

Throughout Apollo 17, the Lunar Rover Automobile (LRV), nicknamed the Moon buggy, logged the farthest distance from the Lunar Module of any Apollo mission, about 4.7 miles (7.5 km). 

As a precaution, the LRV had a walk-back restrict within the occasion of a difficulty; astronauts needed to have sufficient assets to stroll again to the lunar module if want be.

Astronaut Gene Cernan wears a bulky white space suit with a gold visor. He is sitting in the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV), a car-like open vehicle with large, round tires and red-orange fenders. It sits on the surface of the gray, dusty Moon. The mountain sloping upward in the right background is the east end of South Massif. Credit: NASAALT

Seize the Duct Tape!

The precise rear fender extension of the LRV (Moon buggy) was torn off, kicking up mud because the crew drove, lowering visibility. The crew made a resourceful restore utilizing duct tape and maps.

For LRV followers, visiting an LRV pushed on the Moon is a bit troublesome since all three LRVs used on the Apollo 15, 16, and 17 missions have been left on the Moon. However yow will discover an LRV used for coaching on the Nationwide Air and Area Museum in Washington.
Learn extra in regards to the LRV.

A close-up view of the rear right wheel of the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) at the Taurus-Littrow. Note the makeshift repair arrangement on the fender of the LRV; a folded map is held in place parallel to the wheel with several strips of gray duct tape. Below the wheel, sunlight casts stark shadows on the dusty lunar surface. Credit: NASAALT

The Perils of Lunar Mud

After the primary lunar EVA, Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt reported that he suffered from “lunar hay fever” in response to the lunar mud. Not like Earth’s mud particles that are rounded, Moon mud particles are sharp and abrasive, irritating astronaut eyes, nasal passages, and lungs.

Interested in how Moon mud feels and smells? Discover out!

Scientist-astronaut Harrison Schmitt, Apollo 17 lunar module pilot, uses an adjustable sampling scoop to retrieve lunar samples during the second Apollo 17 extravehicular activity (EVA), at Station 5 at the Taurus-Littrow landing site. A gnomon is atop the large rock in the foreground. The gnomon is a stadia rod mounted on a tripod, and serves as an indicator of the gravitational vector and provides accurate vertical reference and calibrated length for determining size and position of objects in near-field photographs. The color scale of blue, orange and green is used to accurately determine color for photography. Credit: NASAALT

So What’s it Like?

After his return to Earth, Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt (on the fitting) described his time on the Moon:

“Engaged on the Moon is a variety of enjoyable. It’s like strolling round on a large trampoline on a regular basis and also you’re simply as sturdy as you have been right here on Earth, however you don’t weigh as a lot.”

Astronaut Gene Cernan (left) and scientist-astronaut Harrison Schmitt wear white flight suits with Apollo patches on the left chest. Behind them is a gray metal hatch decorated with a small American flag. Credit: NASAALT


After 12 days and 14 hours in area, the Apollo 17 astronauts splashed down within the Pacific Ocean at 2:25 p.m. EST on Dec. 19, 1972. It was the longest of all of the Apollo missions, with essentially the most photographs taken. A restoration group was ready on the USS Ticonderoga simply 4 miles (6.4 km) away to choose up the astronauts, the lunar samples, and the Crew Module.

The Apollo 17 Command Module (CM), with astronauts Gene Cernan, Ron Evans and Harrison Schmitt aboard appears as a small conical spaceship.The capsule nears splashdown in the South Pacific Ocean with three enormous red-and-white striped parachutes. This overhead view was taken from a recovery aircraft seconds before the spacecraft hit the blue water. Later, the three crewmen were picked up by a helicopter from the prime recovery ship, USS Ticonderoga. Credit: NASAALT

When Are We Going Again?

NASA’s Artemis Program has taken its first steps to sending people again to the Moon with Artemis I, at the moment on its means again to Earth. This system plans to land people, together with the primary girls and particular person of shade, on the Moon’s south polar area with its Artemis III mission, at the moment slated to launch in 2025.

Is aerospace historical past your cup of tea? Make sure to try extra from NASA’s previous missions at www.nasa.gov/historical past.

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