Moon

Gene Cernan on the moon

Cernan Jump Salutes Flag

Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon during the Apollo Program, died today. He was 82.

“Eugene A. Cernan, Commander, Apollo 17 salutes the flag on the lunar surface during extravehicular activity (EVA) on NASA’s final lunar landing mission. The Lunar Module “Challenger” is in the left background behind the flag and the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) also in background behind him. While astronauts Cernan and Schmitt descended in the Challenger to explore the Taurus-Littrow region of the Moon, astronaut Ronald E. Evans, Command Module pilot, remained with the Command/Service Module (CSM) “America” in lunar-orbit.”

Cernan Driving the Rover

“Astronaut Eugene A. Cernan, Apollo 17 mission commander, makes a short checkout of the Lunar Roving Vehicle during the early part of the first Apollo 17 extravehicular activity (EVA-1) at the Taurus-Littrow landing site. This view of the “stripped down” Rover is prior to loadup. This photograph was taken by Geologist-Astronaut Harrison H. Schmitt, Lunar Module pilot. The mountain in the right background is the East end of South Massif.”

The Last Steps on the Moon

Apollo 17 was the last manned mission to the moon in NASA’s Apollo program. It took place in 1972. No doubt we’ll go again at some point although at the moment its tough to imagine any single country or the world getting focussed enough to make it happen.

Some of us are old enough to remember the Mercury program and John Glenn orbiting the earth, the Gemini program and various astronauts doing the first space walks, and then Apollo and the moon landings. All of that was over in 1972, and then we had Skylab, the Space Shuttle, and now the International Space Station.

This entire arc of space exploration is incredible but nothing has caught my imagination like the moon landings. I’ll never forget Walter Cronkite taking his glasses off and looking awestruck as he announced that Neil Armstrong was on the moon. This video brings some of that feeling back. Zoom it out, its well worth it.

[via Devour]

Cernan Driving the Rover (on the moon)

Cernan Driving the Rover

My flickr contact NASA has posted another historic image. Taken on December 11, 1972. Just incredible.

Astronaut Eugene A. Cernan, Apollo 17 mission commander, makes a short checkout of the Lunar Roving Vehicle during the early part of the first Apollo 17 extravehicular activity (EVA-1) at the Taurus-Littrow landing site. This view of the “stripped down” Rover is prior to loadup. This photograph was taken by Geologist-Astronaut Harrison H. Schmitt, Lunar Module pilot. The mountain in the right background is the East end of South Massif.

Schmitt covered with lunar dirt

Schmitt Covered with Lunar Dirt

My flickr contact NASA has posted this historic image of astronaut Harrison Schmitt on the moon taken on December 12, 1972.

Having NASA as a flickr contact is truly incredible. I was alive when all of this happened but it’s a lot more meaningful now. Fantastic.

Geologist-Astronaut Harrison Schmitt, Apollo 17 lunar module pilot, uses an adjustable sampling scoop to retrieve lunar samples during the second extravehicular activity (EVA-2), at Station 5 at the Taurus- Littrow landing site.

The cohesive nature of the lunar soil is born out by the “dirty” appearance of Schmitt’s space suit. A gnomon is atop the large rock in the foreground. The gnomon is a stadia rod mounted on a tripod, and serves as an indicator of the gravitational vector and provides accurate vertical reference and calibrated length for determining size and position of objects in near-field photographs. The color scale of blue, orange and green is used to accurately determine color for photography. The rod of it is 18 inches long.

The scoop Dr. Schmitt is using is 11 3/4 inches long and is attached to a tool extension which adds a potential 30 inches of length to the scoop. The pan portion, blocked in this view, has a flat bottom, flanged on both sides with a partial cover on the top. It is used to retrieve sand, dust and lunar samples too small for the tongs. The pan and the adjusting mechanism are made of stainless steel and the handle is made of aluminum.

45 Years Ago We Landed Men on the Moon

45 Years Ago We Landed Men on the Moon

Alan Taylor at The Atlantic has put together a great collection of images from the Apollo 11 mission, some familiar, some I’ve never seen before. Highly recommended.

Tomorrow [today] will mark the 45th anniversary of the July 16, 1969 launch of Apollo 11, the NASA mission that first landed human beings on the Moon. Years of effort, dangerous experiments, and bold missions led up to the Moon landing, an event watched on live television by millions around the world. Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin “Buzz” E. Aldrin left the Earth on a Wednesday, landed on the Moon on that Sunday, spent a bit more than two hours walking on its surface, deploying experiments and collecting samples, then splashed down safely in the Pacific Ocean the following Thursday, after 8 days off-planet. Collected here are 45 images of that historic mission, a “giant leap for mankind,” 45 years ago.