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Apollo 17: 40 Years Ago Today

The launch of Apollo 17. Credit: NASA

It was the end of an era. At 12:33 a.m. (EST) on Dec. 7, 1972 the monstrous Saturn V rocket blasted off for the final Apollo mission to the Moon. It was a stunning sight, as it was the first nighttime liftoff of the Saturn V. Aboard the Apollo 17 spacecraft were astronauts Gene Cernan, Ron Evans and Jack Schmitt.

Below are a couple of images and videos from the mission, one video is an overview of the mission, and the other is one of my favorite scenes:

Gene Cernan driving the lunar rover during the Apollo 17 mission on the Moon. Credit: NASA

Jack Schmitt with the lunar rover at the edge of Shorty Crater. Credit: NASA

The famous “Blue Marble” image of Earth taken by the Apollo 17 crew on Dec. 7, 1972. Credit: NASA


Nancy Atkinson is currently Universe Today's Contributing Editor. Previously she served as UT's Senior Editor and lead writer, and has worked with Astronomy Cast and 365 Days of Astronomy. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • ritwik137 December 8, 2012, 10:33 AM

    “It was the end of an era”

    so bad… after that NASA slipped in to a slumber state ..now that china is catching up steadily ,NASA got their swagger back

  • Aqua4U December 9, 2012, 1:03 AM

    It’s still a thrill to see these images! We actually WENT and DONE that! AND, we will do it again! COME ON Y’all! Let’s go! Humanity needs some new toys!

    Thanks for the reminder Nancy ~*~

  • Larry Hank December 9, 2012, 4:18 AM

    I hope others see this also feel that maned space flight is the way. Lets put our footprints on other worlds. Mars is feeling lonely so lets go. The sooner the better.