Apollo 17 was the eleventh and final manned mission in the American Apollo space program. The mission launched on December 7, 1972, with a crew of Commander Eugene Cernan, Command Module Pilot Ronald Evans, and Lunar Module Pilot Harrison Schmitt.
The twelve-day-long Apollo 17 mission was the sixth and last Apollo lunar landing. Cernan and Schmitt stayed for three days on the lunar surface in the Taurus-Littrow valley collecting lunar samples and setting up scientific instruments.
Eugene Cernan, the last man to walk on the Moon, said when he returned to the Lunar Module for trip home: “As I take man’s last step from the surface, back home for some time to come — but we believe not too long into the future — I’d like to just [say] what I believe history will record — that America’s challenge of today has forged man’s destiny of tomorrow. And, as we leave the Moon at Taurus-Littrow, we leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind. Godspeed the crew of Apollo 17.”
The Apollo 17 Plaque that was left on the moon read: “Here Man completed his first explorations of the Moon. December 1972 AD. May the spirit of peace in which we came be reflected in the lives of all mankind.” The Apollo 17 patch features the Apollo Belvedere looking over his shoulder into unexplored space.
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