On Dec. 7, 1972, half-a-century ago, Apollo 17 launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, marking the final mission of the Apollo program and the last time humans traveled to the moon. The crew consisted of Eugene A. Cernan, commander; Ronald E. Evans, command module pilot; and Harrison H. Schmitt, lunar module pilot. During the mission, Schmitt became the first scientist-astronaut to land on the moon.
Apollo 17 was the third mission to employ the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) – an engineering marvel designed and built by Boeing. The battery-powered vehicles gave astronauts the ability to do three times the amount of work done on the earlier voyages. During Apollo 17, the LRV traversed roughly 19 miles (30.5 kilometers).