Friday, February 23, 2018
Human Interest

Looking Back: Apollo 17 crew prepare to be the last men on the moon (November 26, 1972)

This story appeared in the pages of the St. Petersburg Times on November 26, 1972. What follows is the text of the original story, interspersed with photos of the event (and a few from the blast off on Dec. 7) taken by Times staff photographer Tony Lopez.

Moon On Earth

By Times staff

Officials of the U.S. space agency have developed a 'lunar' surface for the Apollo 17 astronauts to practice on. Each day flight commander Eugene A. Cernan, wearing red armband, and Dr. Harrison H. 'Jack' Schmitt go through a simulated moon-walk training session at Cape Kennedy.

TIMES | Tony Lopez

Apollo 17 Flight Commander Eugene A. Cernan (right) and Lunar Module Pilot Dr. Harrison Schmitt (left) drive a mock lunar rover in a simulated moon-walk training session at Cape Kennedy.

TIMES | Tony Lopez

TIMES | Tony Lopez

TIMES | Tony Lopez

Flight Commander Cernan takes the mock lunar rover for a ride.

TIMES | Tony Lopez

Cernan became the eleventh person to walk on the Moon

TIMES | Tony Lopez

TIMES | Tony Lopez

While space officials may have been successful in providing a satisfactory lunar surface, the gravitation remains very much that of Earth's. This accounts for Cernan requiring two assistants to help him carry his equipment and Schmitt having to take a breather in the back of the truck.

TIMES | Tony Lopez

TIMES | Tony Lopez

Schmitt goes through a simulated moon-walk...

TIMES | Tony Lopez

and then takes a much needed break.

Although only a mock lunar rover, the vehicle is nevertheless equipped with all the latest push-button devices simulating the real thing.

TIMES | Tony Lopez

Cernan checks the training schedule that he keeps on his sleeve. The schedule can be seen on Cernan as he drives the mock rover.

TIMES | Tony Lopez

Cernan takes a break from the grueling training session.

TIMES | Tony Lopez

Two weeks later Cernan would be on the moon.

TIMES | Tony Lopez

TIMES | Tony Lopez

Launched at 12:33 a.m. on Dec. 7, 1972, Apollo 17 was the final mission of NASA's Apollo program. Joining Commander Eugene Cernan and Lunar Module Pilot Harrison Schmitt was Command Module Pilot Ronald Evans.

TIMES | Tony Lopez

TIMES | Tony Lopez

TIMES | Tony Lopez

PBS announced today that THE FARTHEST – VOYAGER IN SPACE, a two-hour special about NASA's historic Voyager mission to explore our solar system and beyond, will premiere nationally on August 23 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS stations, in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the first Voyager launch. The documentary was an official selection in the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival as part of the festival's Viewpoints program.

To order reprints, license or download any Times image from this gallery, or to see other Apollo 17 photos, please visit the Times image archive.

Jeremy King

Twitter: @TBTimesArchive

e-mail: [email protected]

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