Apollo’s Final Footsteps, 40 years later

by Nancy Atkinson on December 14, 2012

Will there come a time when we on Earth can look up at the Moon and know that people are living there permanently?

40 years ago today, humans left the Moon for the last time during our visits during the Apollo program. Author Andrew Chaikin has been creating a series of videos on why space exploration is important, and to mark the 40th anniversary of the last human footsteps on the moon, he looks back at Apollo 17’s explorations and explains why he believes the Moon is the solar system’s “jewel in the crown,” beckoning us to return.

“The Moon is an ideal place for future astronauts to tackle the enormous challenges of living on other worlds,” Chaikin says, “a kind of outward-bound school for learning to live off-planet that is just three days away from home.”

You can see all of Chaikin’s videos here, and here’s an interview we did with Chaikin last year, “Was the Apollo Program an Anomaly?

Additionally, read a great article the Amy Shira Teitel wrote for us last year about the Apollo 17 mission’s last Moonwalk.

Scientist-astronaut Harrison H. "Jack" Schmitt stands next to a huge, split lunar boulder during the third Apollo 17 extravehicular activity (EVA) at the Taurus-Littrow landing site. The Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV), which transported Schmitt and Eugene A. Cernan to this extravehicular station from their Lunar Module (LM), is seen in the background. This image is a mosaic made from two pictures taken by Cernan. Image Credit: NASA/Eugene Cernan


Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

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