On December 14th, 1972 at 05:40:56 GMT: a human left the last footprint of mankind on the Moon…
The last mission on the Moon
December 7th 1972, Apollo XVII was launched from the Kennedy Space Center with a Saturn V and three men on-board. This mission marked the last time humans landed on the Moon. The crew was composed of: Eugene A. Cernan, commander, Ronald E. Evans, the command module pilot and, Harrison H. Schmitt, the lunar module pilot and. E.Cernan and H.Schmitt landed on the Moon on December 11th. They performed 3 space walks outside of the Lunar Module which had a total duration of 22 hours and 4 minutes. The mission included a Lunar Roving Vehicle which allowed them to cross a massive 30 km of the Lunar Surface. This mission was the last one which sent humans to the Moon and the most interesting for science. H. Schmitt was the geologist on the mission and they collected 110 kg of Moon rocks.
The Lunar module lift off was on December 14th. Eugene Cernan is officially the last man to leave a footprint on the Moon. This was 41 years ago. Nobody has achieved such a feat since this time.
More about the Apollo program here.
Why has nobody walked on the Moon for 41 years?
In 1970, NASA cancelled the last mission of Apollo due to budgetary restraints. Since then, scientists have not stopped dreaming about space. Many great developments took place after Apollo 17 Including the International Space Station (ISS) which is now permanently occupied by astronauts. Nevertheless, no person has been beyond low Earth orbit since Apollo 17.
Going to the Moon still remains a very high technological challenge but the main problem is the expense of such a mission.
Due to a lack of political will, some private organizations have popped-up with their own plans to reach the Moon with a crewed spacecraft such as Golden Spike Company. Their main challenge is the huge financial burden. Many scientists and politicians do not rank exploration of the Moon as a priority.
“Too many years have passed for me to still be the last man to have left his footprints on the Moon. I believe with all my heart that somewhere out there is a young boy or girl with indomitable will and courage who will lift that dubious distinction from my shoulders and take us back where we belong. Let us give that dream a chance.” – Captain Eugene A. Cernan