This captivating photograph, AS17-145-22285, taken between December 7 and 19, 1972, presents a stunning view of the Eratosthenes Crater as seen from the southward perspective aboard the Command and Service Module (CSM). Astronaut Ronald E. Evans expertly pilots the CSM, while the prominent Copernicus crater graces the horizon in the distance. Joining Evans on this historic mission are astronauts Eugene A. Cernan, the commander, and Harrison H. Schmitt, the lunar module pilot. The image encapsulates the mesmerizing lunar landscape explored during the Apollo 17 mission.
Apollo 17, launched on December 7, 1972, was the final mission of NASA's Apollo program and marked the last time humans set foot on the moon. Led by Commander Eugene Cernan, Lunar Module Pilot Harrison Schmitt, and Command Module Pilot Ronald Evans, the mission showcased a series of scientific experiments and discoveries. Cernan and Schmitt spent over three days on the lunar surface, conducting three extravehicular activities (EVAs) that involved collecting lunar samples, deploying various scientific instruments, and exploring the Taurus-Littrow valley. Meanwhile, Evans orbited the moon, conducting photographic and geological observations. Apollo 17 not only set records for the longest lunar landing and longest total time spent on the moon's surface, but it also signified the end of an era in human space exploration and the Apollo program's lasting legacy.