A Day in Astronomy: The Last Lunar Footprint

Image (Credit): Official emblem of the Apollo 17 lunar landing mission. (NASA)

On this day in 1972, Apollo 17 commander Eugene Cernan was the last human to be on the Moon. He was the eleventh human to ever step on the Moon.

Here is the full crew of Apollo 17:

  • Eugene A. Cernan, Commander
  • Harrison H. Schmitt, Lunar Module Pilot
  • Ronald E. Evans, Command Module Pilot

Mr. Cernan, who passed away in 2017, was also part of the Apollo 10 mission that orbited the moon without landing (similar to the upcoming Artemis II mission).

With the successful orbit of the Orion spacecraft around the Moon this month, let’s hope the 50 year dryspell is finally over and the United States can again be the nation putting humans back on the lunar surface. Of course, we will be followed by others, including the Chinese. Yet it’s important the first space-faring nation get back in the game and restart the human exploration of the Moon, and then Mars soon thereafter.