Apollo 17: The Last Time Humans Walked on the Moon

Next week will mark the 50th anniversary of the launch of NASA’s final Apollo mission, which took three astronauts to the moon and back in December 1972. Apollo 17 was the sixth mission to successfully land astronauts on the moon, bringing the total number of humans who have walked on another world to 12. Budget cuts brought the Apollo program to an end, and space-exploration efforts shifted to missions to low-Earth orbit, such as the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. Five decades later, several space agencies are now developing new crewed missions to return to the moon, and to go on to Mars. Collected below are images of Apollo 17 and its astronaut crew—Eugene Cernan, Ronald Evans, and Harrison Schmitt.

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