December 7th, 1972 - Apollo 17 launches the final manned flight to the Lunar surface with Astronauts Eugene Cernan, Ronald Evans, and Harrison Schmitt aboard.
Apollo 17 lifted off at 12:31 am, marking the first nighttime manned spaceflight for the United States and the final manned flight of the Saturn V. Geologist Harrison Schmitt would also be the first and only scientist to visit the moon.
The three-day lunar exploration was largely scientific, looking for signs of recent volcanic activity and lunar sampling. Apollo 17 also sported the third Lunar Roving Vehicle to be used.
After mission objectives were completed, and Eugene Cernan returned to the Lunar Module after their three-day stay on the moon, he shared his thoughts on the final planned moon mission’s completion:
“Bob, this is Gene, and I’m on the surface; and, 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.”