Apollo 17

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Apollo 17
Mission Insignia
Apollo 17 insignia
Mission Statistics
Mission Name: Apollo 17
Call Sign: Command module: America
Lunar module: Challenger
Number of
Launch: December 7, 1972
05:33:00 UTC
Kennedy Space Center
LC 39A
Lunar Landing: December 11, 1972
19:54:57 UTC
20° 11' 26.88" N - 30° 46' 18.05" E
Lunar EVA
1st: 7 h 11 min 53 s
2nd: 7 h 36 min 56 s
3rd: 7 h 15 min 8 s
Total: 22 h 3 min 57 s
CMP EVA: 1 h 5 min 44 s
Lunar surface
74 h 59 min 40 s
Lunar sample
110.52 kg (243.65 lbs)
Splashdown: December 19, 1972
19:24:59 UTC
17° 53' S - 166° 7' W
Duration: 12 d 13 h 51 min 59 s
Number of
Lunar Orbits:
Time in
Lunar Orbit:
147 h 43 min 37.11 s
Mass: CSM 30,369 kg;
LM 16,456 kg
Crew Picture
Apollo 17 crew portrait (L-R: Schmitt, Cernan (seated) and Evans)
Apollo 17 crew portrait
(L-R: Schmitt, Cernan (seated) and Evans)
Night View
Apollo 17 - The Last Moon Shot
Apollo 17 — The Last Moon Shot

Apollo 17 was the eleventh manned space mission in the NASA Apollo program, and was the sixth and last mission to date to land on the Moon. It was the first night launch, and the final mission, of the Apollo program.


Backup crew

Support Crew

Mission parameters

  • Mass:
    • Launch mass: 2,923,387 kg
    • Total spacecraft: 46,678 kg
      • CSM mass: 30,320 kg, of which CM was 5960 kg, SM 24,360 kg
      • LM mass: 16,448 kg, of which ascent stage was 4985 kg, descent stage 11,463 kg
  • Earth orbits: 2 before leaving for Moon, about one on return
  • Lunar orbits: 75



  • Cernan and Schmitt - EVA 1
  • EVA 1 Start: December 11, 1972, 23:54:49 UTC
  • EVA 1 End: 12 December 07:06:42 UTC
  • Duration: 7 hours, 11 minutes, 53 seconds
  • Cernan and Schmitt - EVA 2
  • EVA 2 Start: December 12, 1972, 23:28:06 UTC
  • EVA 2 End: 13 December 07:05:02 UTC
  • Duration: 7 hours, 36 minutes, 56 seconds
  • Cernan and Schmitt - EVA 3
  • EVA 3 Start: December 13, 1972, 22:25:48 UTC
  • EVA 3 End: 14 December 05:40:56 UTC
  • Duration: 7 hours, 15 minutes, 08 seconds
  • Evans - Transearth EVA 4
  • EVA 4 Start: December 17, 1972, 20:27:40 UTC
  • EVA 4 End: 17 December 21:33:24 UTC
  • Duration: 1 hour, 05 minutes, 44 seconds

See also

The splashdown point was 17 deg 53 min S, 166 deg 7 min W, 350 nautical miles SE of the Samoan Islands and 6.5 km (4 mi) from the recovery ship USS Ticonderoga. Apollo 17 landed approximately 640m from its target point.

Mission highlights

Schmitt took this picture of Cernan flanked by an American flag and their lunar rover's umbrella-shaped high-gain antenna near the beginning of their third and final excursion across the lunar surface. The prominent Sculptured Hills lie in the background while Schmitt's reflection can just be made out in Cernan's helmet.
File:Apollo 17 Trans-Earth EVA.jpg
Command Module pilot Ron Evans performs a trans-earth EVA to retieve film from the Apollo 17 SIM Bay camera. (NASA)
Apollo 17 recovery operations. (NASA)

One of the last two men to set foot on the Moon was also the first scientist-astronaut, geologist Harrison Schmitt. While Evans circled in "America," Schmitt and Cernan collected a record 108.86 kilograms of rocks during three Moonwalks. The crew roamed for 33.80 kilometers through the Taurus-Littrow valley in their rover, discovered orange-colored soil, and left the most comprehensive set of instruments in the ALSEP on the lunar surface. Their mission was the last in the Apollo lunar program.


Crew members were Gene Cernan, commander; Ron Evans, command module pilot; and Harrison Schmitt, lunar module pilot.

The landing site for this mission was on the southeastern rim of the Mare Serenitatis, in the southwestern Montes Taurus. This was a dark mantle between three high, steep massifs, in an area known as the Taurus-Littrow region. Pre-mission photographs showed boulders deposited along the bases of the mountains, which could provide bedrock samples. The area also contained a landslide, several impact craters, and some dark craters which could be volcanic.

A J-class mission, featuring the Lunar Rover, they conducted three lunar surface excursions, lasting 7.2, 7.6 and 7.3 hours. The mission returned 110.5 kg of samples from the Moon.

The Command module is currently on display at NASA's Johnson Space Center, in Houston, Texas. The lunar module impacted the Moon on 15 December 1972 at 06:50:20.8 UT (1:50 AM EST) at 19.96 N, 30.50 E.

On this mission the astronauts took a famous photograph of the earth known as "The Blue Marble".

Mission notes

  • Schmitt, a geologist, was the first (and to date, only) scientist to walk on the Moon.
  • Like the astronauts of Apollos 10, 12, 13, and 14 before it, the Apollo 17 crew were recovered in Pacific waters near American Samoa after splashdown, and were flown from the recovery ship to the airport at Tafuna where they were greeted with an enthusiastic (and well practiced!) Samoan reception before being flown on to Honolulu, thence to Houston.
  • File:A17-plaque.gif
    depiction of the plaque left on the moon by Apollo 17
    The plaque left on the ladder of the descent stage of Challenger read: Here Man completed his first explorations of the moon. December 1972 AD. May the spirit of peace in which we came be reflected in the lives of all mankind. The plaque showed two hemispheres of Earth and the near side of the Moon, plus the signatures of Cernan, Evans, Schmitt, and President Nixon.
  • Schmitt was originally due to fly on the cancelled Apollo 18 but following pressure from the science community was moved up to LM pilot on Apollo 17 in place of Joe Engle.
  • Apollo 17 broke several records set by previous flights, including longest manned lunar landing flight; longest total lunar surface extravehicular activities; largest lunar sample return, and longest time in lunar orbit.


"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."

— Eugene A. Cernan, Apollo 17 Commander. Last man to walk on the moon, 14 December 1972.

"Okay, Jack. Let's get this mother outta here".

- Eugene A. Cernan, Apollo 17 Commander. Last 'informal' words said on the lunar surface - one second before lunar liftoff.


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External links

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