Saturday, December 17, 2011

Apollo 17: If you believed they put a man on the moon (well, they did in 1972)

Smithsonian Apollo Model

"If you believed they put a man on the moon, man on the moon
If you believe there's nothing up his sleeve, then nothing is cool"

- R.E.M., "Man on the Moon", Automatic for the People (1992)
In 1972 on this date, the last human - for the foreseeable future - walked on the moon. Gene Cernan, part of  the Apollo 17 team, was that last human (joined on the team by Harrison Schmitt and Ron Evans). The picture on the left isn't from that mission, but from a model around the Smithsonian. The real spacesuit is below.
Apollo 17
Apollo 17 patch from Matt707

From the Smithsonian e-Torch website:
Apollo 17 was the last Apollo mission to land men on the moon. It was launched by a Saturn V rocket Dec. 7, 1972, carrying Commander Eugene Cernan, command module pilot Ron Evans and lunar module pilot Harrison Schmitt, the only geologist to walk on the moon.
While Evans remained in lunar orbit in the command/service module, Cernan and Schmitt landed lunar module “Challenger” in the Taurus-Littrow region of the moon. They spent three days conducting three periods of extra-vehicular activity, or moonwalks, where they collected lunar samples and deployed scientific instruments.
While collecting a record 110 kilograms of lunar samples, they spent 22 hours outside of the lunar module and drove the lunar roving vehicle 35 kilometers. The crew landed in the Pacific Ocean Dec. 19, 1972.
Cernan still holds the distinction of being the last man to walk on the Moon; no humans have visited the moon since Dec. 14, 1972. This is Cernan’s spacesuit—the last spacesuit worn on the moon. When combined with the portable life-support system and other components making up the extra-vehicular mobility unit, it weighed about 185 pounds on Earth. It was transferred to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum from NASA in 1974.
Thanks to Matt707 for the Apollo 17 patch (upper right)

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