16.2.18 Apollo 17 (AS-512)

Figure 16.2.18-1. Harrison Schmitt next to the Lunar Rover, photographed by Gene Cernan. Photo AS17-146-22386.

Crew: Gene Cernan (CDR), Harrison Schmitt (LMP), Ron Evans (CMP).

Launch vehicle: Saturn V.

LM: present (LM-12). Weight on Earth: 16,448 kg (36,262 lb).

Lunar orbit: yes (75 orbits).

CM and LM call signs: America, Challenger.

Launch and return dates: December 7-19, 1972.

Lunar landing date and time: December 11, 1972 19:54:57 UTC.

Lunar landing site: Taurus-Littrow Valley.

Number of moonwalks: 3 (7 h 11 m; 7 h 36 m; 7 h 15 m).

Mission duration: 12 days 13 hours 51 minutes.

Time spent on the Moon: 3 days 2 hours 59 minutes.

Number of photographs taken: 3,581, of which 2,237 on the Moon. Color TV transmissions were made (including the liftoff of the LM from the Moon) and color movie footage was also shot.

Quantity of Moon rocks: 110.5 kg (243.6 lb).

Rover: yes, for a total of 35.7 km (22.2 miles).

Notes: The last lunar mission of the Apollo project was the first night launch of a US crew, the longest stay on the Moon and in lunar orbit and as a whole the longest lunar mission. It used the heaviest Lunar Module (1,383 kg (3,050 lb) heavier than the one used for Apollo 11), returned the heaviest load of Moon rocks (five times more than Apollo 11), featured the first visit of a geologist (Schmitt) to another world, took the most photographs, covered the greatest distance in a single Rover excursion (20 kilometers (12.4 miles)), and ventured farthest from the LM (7.6 km (4.7 miles)).

Apollo 17 was also the only mission to investigate the nature of lunar soil by using gravimetric measurements and transmitting radio signals through the ground.

Gene Cernan was the last man to walk on the Moon: he left its surface to reenter the Lunar Module at 5:35 GMT on December 14, 1972. Since then, no one has visited the Moon.

This mission, like the previous one, also performed a 67-minute spacewalk during the return trip.