Uploaded on December 19, 2012
Chris Hadfield's tribute to Apollo 17
2012-12-19 - The Apollo 17 Mission featured the last time a man set foot on the Moon. On the 40th anniversary of Apollo 17, CSA astronaut Chris Hadfield relates its importance then and significance now. Hadfield launched aboard a Soyuz rocket for Expedition 34/35 on December 19th, the same day the Apollo 17 crew returned to Earth.
(Credits: Canadian Space Agency, NASA)
Chris Hadfield: Forty years ago this week, three men climbed into a space capsule, launched aboard a huge rocket, and left Earth on their way to the Moon. They were Ron Evans, Harrison Schmitt, Gene Cernan–three NASA astronauts. This was the last Apollo mission. Half-a-million people were at the Cape to watch them launch. And by the end when they returned, twelve days later, they were the longest of all the Apollo flights and collected hundred and eleven kilograms of rock and soil, and they helped unlock the history of the Moon itself.
There in the valley of Taurus Littrow, Gene and Harrison were outside for twenty-two hours over three spacewalks. They drilled three meters down into the surface of the Moon. They measured the Moon's gravity, and using seismometers they decoded the internal nature of the Moon's mantle and core. And driving on the Lunar surface in the rover they traveled thirty-six kilometers–and even a broken fender didn't bother them, they fixed it with a map and some duck tape.
They brought home a seven hundred and forty-one individual rock and soil samples. And so much of what we know about the Moon we owe to Apollo 17. And as the commander, Gene Cernan stood on the Moon for the last time, he said in a determined voice: “As I take Man's last step from the surface I'd like to say what I believe history will record that America's challenge of today has forged Man's destiny of tomorrow”. And the crew landed safely in the South Pacific on the 19th of December, 1972.
These three men inspired me, and all of humankind. Their footprints are the latest ones we've put on the Moon that both challenge and inspire us today. I honor the crew of Apollo 17, for the risks they took, the discoveries they made and for the future that they showed as possible for us all.