Oregon State UniversitySpecial Collections & Archives Research Center

Apollo Moon Missions Photographs, 1971-1972

Biographical Note

The Apollo 15 Moon Mission was the fourth successful landing of astronauts on the moon. Carried out by David R. Scott, Commander, Alfred M. Worden, Command Module Pilot, and James B. Irwin, Lunar Module Pilot, the mission is noteworthy for being the first to utilize a Lunar Roving Vehicle for exploration of the moon's surface. The goal of the mission was to collect different types of information about the lunar surface, a process which included sample collection, photography and the activation of surface experiments. Equipped with the Lunar Roving Vehicle, the Apollo 15 astronauts explored tens of kilometers of the Hadley Rille/Apennine region. The Apollo 15 mission was launched on July 26, 1971 and concluded with a safe landing on Earth on August 7, 1971.

The tenth manned mission in the Apollo program and the fifth successful moon landing, Apollo 16 was conducted by Commander John W. Young, Command Module Pilot T. Kenneth Mattingly, Jr. and Lunar Module Pilot Charles M. Duke, Jr. The mission represented the first spaceflight for both Mattingly and Duke. Again making use of a Lunar Roving Vehicle, the goals of Apollo 16 were similar to those of the previous mission, though oriented toward a different area of the moon, the Descartes highlands region. The mission, which lasted from April 16 to April 27, 1972, also marked the first uses of an ultraviolet camera in lunar experimentation.

To date the final moon landing in NASA history, the Apollo 17 mission (launched December 7, 1972, concluded December 19, 1972) set the benchmark for lunar exploration in terms of duration, activity, terrain explored and samples collected. Staffed by Commander Eugene A. Cernan, Command Module Pilot Ronald E. Evans and Lunar Module Pilot Harrison H. "Jack" Schmitt, (the latter two in their first spaceflights) Apollo 17 also stands as the first night launch of a U.S.-manned spacecraft. The mission focused on the Taurus-Littrow region of the moon and involved experimentation along the lines of the Apollo 15 and 16 expeditions, though on a grander scale. Schmitt remains the only trained geologist to have visited the moon while Commander Cernan holds the distinction of being the last human to have walked on the lunar surface.

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