Apollo 17 Enters Lunar Orbit (10 Dec. 1972) — The crescent Earth rises above the lunar horizon in this photograph taken from the Apollo 17 spacecraft in lunar orbit during National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) final lunar landing mission in the Apollo program. While astronauts Eugene A. Cernan, commander, and Harrison H. Schmitt, lunar module pilot, descended in the Lunar Module (LM) “Challenger” to explore the Taurus-Littrow region of the moon, astronaut Ronald E. Evans, command module pilot, remained with the Command and Service Modules (CSM) “America” in lunar orbit.

Apollo Veteran: Skip Asteroid, Go to the Moon: It’s 40 years to the day that the final mission to the moon launched. Discovery News speaks with Apollo 17 astronaut and geologist Harrison “Jack” Schmitt about where he thinks the Earth’s only satellite came from and why he thinks a NASA manned asteroid mission is a mistake.

“I think an asteroid is a diversion, if the ultimate goal is to get to Mars, you have a satellite only three days away that has a great deal of science as well as resources. The science of the moon has just been scratched. We’ve hardly explored the moon." – Schmitt

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Some girl in my classroom: Omg the guys from 1D are like so hot, look at them!

Me: They’re not that hot

Her: They’re way better than your band members

And that is how she got brutally murdered after school.

Let’s take a moment to remember that on this day, 40 years ago (my god, could it really be so long ago?), the United States launched Apollo 17, the mission that would put the last two men on the moon.

Pictured are Commander Eugene Cernan (bottom), LMP Harrison “Jack” Schmitt (top left) and CMP Ronald Evans.

Let’s hope it’s not too long before we go back.


I was able to meet Harrison “Jack” Schmitt today.  He was one of only twelve men to set foot on the moon.  He flew on the Apollo 17 mission, which was the final launch of the Saturn V, and was launched at night.  What a great honor and his speech was very sharp and detailed, as what you would expect from a scientist.  He will give another lecture later this afternoon and was able to get his autograph.  I tried to play it cool, but probably came across like a bumbling fan-boy.  

I grew up in the shadow of the Kennedy Space Center, and the astronauts of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs were heroes to me and I still have much respect for them to this day.  They are aging and will not be with us forever, and it was a great opportunity to meet an astronaut today.  Very excited.  

I told him that we grew up about 170 miles to the south and how Mom and Dad would always say how the sky lit up when they launched.  His response, his view wasn’t as good and didn’t get to see.  He smiled and was a pleasant guy.  Very happy to have met him.

(13 Dec. 1972) — The Apollo 17 Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) is photographed near a large lunar boulder during the third Apollo 17 extravehicular activity (EVA) at the Taurus-Littrow landing site. About half of the boulder is captured in this scene, photographed by astronaut Eugene A. Cernan, mission commander. While astronauts Cernan and Harrison H. Schmitt descended in the Lunar Module (LM) “Challenger” to explore the lunar surface, astronaut Ronald E. Evans, command module pilot, remained with the Command and Service Modules (CSM) in lunar orbit.