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This Day in History: Final Manned Landing on Moon to Date (December 11th, 1972)


Astronaut Eugene A. Cernan checks out the Lunar Rover. (NASA/file)

Astronaut Eugene A. Cernan checks out the Lunar Rover. (NASA/file)

It would be the final manned landing on the moon to date: Apollo 17 and it landed on Earth's only natural satellite on December 11th, 1972.

Apollo 17 was launched aboard a Saturn V rocket on December 7th, 1972. Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt would land on the moon on December 11th, while Ronald Evans remained in orbit in the Command Module.

The mission included an expanded amount of time on the moon, including several moonwalks and excursions in a wheeled vehicle called a lunar rover.

To this day, the Apollo 17 mission holds the record for the longest manned mission the moon. The astronauts made a successful return to Earth on December 19th, 1972.

Originally, three more missions were planned to land on the moon—Apollo 18, Apollo 19, and Apollo 20. These would be changed to the Skylab missions to a space station in Earth orbit as well as an Earth orbit rendezvous mission with a Soviet spacecraft—Apollo-Soyuz.


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