The Final Apollo Mission – December 7, 1972

Apollo 17 Liftoff - December 7, 1942

Apollo 17 Liftoff – December 7, 1942

On December 7, 1972 (41 years ago today) the final manned mission to the moon blasted off from Kennedy Space Center.  Eugene Cernan was the last person to walk on the moon on December 14, 1972 at roughly 05:40 GMT. It is ultimately hard to believe that its been 41 years and we’ve not had a manned mission to Mars yet.  Even more astounding is the fact is that at this time we are between the Space Shuttle and its replacement, so we have no currently operational mode of launching humans into space.  The Orion capsule is currently under development and approaching ETF-1 (Exploration Flight Test-1), but that is scheduled for late 2014.

I got interested in the total time spent on the surface (just EVA’s for the Apollo missions) of of the Moon, you can find the figures on the table below.  You can tell by the figures when the Apollo missions started using the lunar rover.  I’ve also included drive distance of NASA’s Mars rovers.

Mission Surface EVA Surface Distance Covered
Apollo 11 2:31:40 Negligible
Apollo 12 7:45:18 2.0 km (1.2 mi)
Apollo 14 9:22:31 3.3 km (2.1 mi)
Apollo 15 19:07:53 27.9 km (17.3 mi)
Apollo 16 20:14:14 26.7 km (16.6 mi)
Apollo 17 22:03:57 35.74 km (22.21 mi)
Sojourner 100 m (330 ft)
Spirit 7.73 km (4.8 mi)
Opportunity 38.70 km (24.05 mi) – Ongoing
Curiosity 1 km (0.6 mi)+ – Ongoing

I leave you with this entry in the Sagan Series titled the “Gift of Apollo.”





Posted by Chad Dotson

A small town Computer Scientist / Software Engineer. Chad enjoys writing Python and JavaScript as well as tinkering with his Raspberry Pi and Arduino. When not programming, he enjoys Photography (especially lightning) and Sci-Fi.

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