south massif

Astronaut Eugene A. Cernan, commander, makes a short checkout of the lunar rover during the early part of the first Apollo 17 extravehicular activity at the Taurus-Littrow landing site. This view of the “stripped down” rover is prior to loading up. Equipment later loaded onto the rover included the ground-controlled television assembly, the lunar communications relay unit, hi-gain antenna, low-gain antenna, aft tool pallet, lunar tools and scientific gear.

This photograph was taken by scientist-astronaut Harrison H. Schmitt, lunar module pilot. The mountain in the right background is the east end of South Massif. While astronauts Cernan and Schmitt descended in the Lunar Module “Challenger” to explore the moon, astronaut Ronald E. Evans, command module pilot, remained with the Command and Service Modules “America” in lunar orbit.

11 December 1972

Apollo 17, last of the lunar manned flights. (Above) Crescent earth rise before transearth injection (TEI) of Apollo. (Top right) Harrison H. Schmitt collecting rock sample with a lunar rake at the Taurus-Littrow landing site. (Center right) Rover driven beside lunar module by Eugene A. Cernan; South Massif is in the background. (Bottom right) Deployed components of the Apollo lunar surface experiments package (ALSEP), includ-ing lunar ejecta and meteorite experiment (LEAM) and radio-isotope thermoelectric generator (RTG). (Below) Large, split lunar boulder at the Taurus-Littrow landing site. [NASA]