Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Forty years ago today, on December 11, 1972, astronaut Eugene Cernan, commander of the Apollo 17 mission, took what must have been an exhilarating drive in the moon rover. Talk about four-wheeling excitement!
Today’s NASA “Image of the Day” celebrated that significant event with this photo and the accompanying explanation:
Forty years ago today on Dec. 11, 1972, astronaut Eugene A. Cernan, commander, makes a short checkout of the lunar rover during the early part of the first Apollo 17 extravehicular activity at the Taurus-Littrow landing site. This view of the “stripped down” rover is prior to loading up. Equipment later loaded onto the rover included the ground-controlled television assembly, the lunar communications relay unit, hi-gain antenna, low-gain antenna, aft tool pallet, lunar tools and scientific gear.
This photograph was taken by scientist-astronaut Harrison H. Schmitt, lunar module pilot. The mountain in the right background is the east end of South Massif. While astronauts Cernan and Schmitt descended in the Lunar Module “Challenger” to explore the moon, astronaut Ronald E. Evans, command module pilot, remained with the Command and Service Modules “America” in lunar orbit.
The big question: Will we ever return?