38 years ago, on December 19, 1972 at 19:24:59 UTC, the Apollo 17 Command Module America splashed down into Pacific.The first human exploration of a planetary body other than Earth has ended.
The Apollo anniversaries are usually hard for space enthusiasts. It’s hard to acknowledge that in 1972 we have abandoned dreams of space colonization, and instead chosen to remain confined to Earth surface and low Earth orbit. But the aim of this blog is to look forward towards the new perspectives, not back at past glory. Recent discoveries around the poles of the Moon do rekindle hope that one day humans shall return to claim Earth’s Next Continent.
Although not located in the attractive polar regions, the Taurus-Littrow valley visited by Apollo 17 remains a fascinating place. Let’s use the anniversary to explore it:
- On the Moon with Apollo 17: A Guidebook to Taurus-Littrow. (PDF, 22MB; includes maps).
- The USGS geologic map of the region (large JPEG)
- LROC view of the landing site (including the Apollo junk), and the associated video