24 Facts About Apollo 17


Apollo 17 was the final mission of NASA's Apollo program, the most recent time humans have set foot on the Moon or traveled beyond low Earth orbit.

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Schmitt's selection to the Apollo 17 crew left NASA Director of Flight Crew Operations Deke Slayton with the question of who would fill the two other Apollo 17 slots: the rest of the Apollo 15 backup crew or the Apollo 14 backup crew .

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Cernan, a 38-year-old captain in the United States Navy at the time of Apollo 17, had been selected in the third group of astronauts in 1963.

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Apollo 17 flew as Pilot of Gemini 9A in 1966 and as Lunar Module Pilot of Apollo 10 in 1969 before his service on Apollo 14's backup crew.

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The original backup crew for Apollo 17, announced at the same time as the prime crew, was the crew of Apollo 15, David Scott as commander, Alfred Worden as CMP and James Irwin as LMP; they were removed in May 1972 because of their roles in the Apollo 15 postal covers incident.

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Originally, Apollo 17 16's CMP, Ken Mattingly, was to be assigned along with his crewmates, but he declined so he could spend more time with his family, his son having just been born, and instead took an assignment to the Space Shuttle program.

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Usually low in seniority, they assembled the mission's rules, flight plan, and checklists, and kept them updated; For Apollo 17, they were Robert F Overmyer, Robert A Parker and C Gordon Fullerton.

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Insignia's most prominent feature is an image of the Greek sun god Apollo backdropped by a rendering of an American eagle, the red bars on the eagle mirroring those on the U S flag.

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The image of Apollo 17 in the mission insignia is a rendering of the Apollo 17 Belvedere sculpture in the Vatican Museums.

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Part of the reason Apollo 17 was scheduled for December 1972 was to make it fall after the presidential election in November, ensuring that if there was a disaster, it would have no effect on President Richard Nixon's re-election campaign.

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Since Apollo 17 was to be the final lunar landing of the Apollo program, high-priority landing sites that had not been visited previously were given consideration for potential exploration.

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For instance, a landing in the crater Copernicus was rejected because Apollo 17 12 had already obtained samples from that impact, and three other Apollo 17 expeditions had already visited the vicinity of Mare Imbrium, near the rim of which Copernicus is located.

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Three sites that made the final consideration for Apollo 17 were Alphonsus crater, Gassendi crater, and the Taurus–Littrow valley.

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Either one or both of Scott and Irwin of Apollo 17 15 took part in four field trips, though both were present together for only two of them.

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The Apollo 17 astronauts had fourteen field trips—the Apollo 11 crew had only one.

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Apollo 17 spacecraft comprised CSM-114 ; Lunar Module 12 ; a Spacecraft-Lunar Module Adapter numbered SLA-21; and a Launch Escape System .

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Apollo 17 Lunar Surface Experiments Package was a suite of nuclear-powered experiments, flown on each landing mission after Apollo 17 11.

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The Apollo 17 LRV was used to carry some of the scientific instruments, such as the Traverse Gravimeter Experiment and Surface Electrical Properties experiment.

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The Apollo 17 LRV traveled a cumulative distance of approximately 35.

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Apollo 17's CM carried a biological cosmic ray experiment, containing five mice that had been implanted with radiation monitors under their scalps to see whether they suffered damage from cosmic rays.

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Apollo 17 crew repeated an experiment, conducted on Apollo 16, with the objective of linking these light flashes with cosmic rays.

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Apollo 17 carried a sodium-iodide crystal identical to the ones in the gamma-ray spectrometer flown on Apollo 15 and 16.

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Apollo 17 was successful, and left it in the position it would need to be in for the CSM-LM docking that would occur upon return from the lunar surface.

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Eugene Cernan's flown Apollo 17 spacesuit is in the collection of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, where it was transferred in 1974, and Harrison Schmitt's is in storage at NASM's Paul E Garber Facility.

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