The Last Lunar Landing Launch →


Apollo 17, the last of the missions to land men on the moon, began 40 years ago today with the dawning of a man-made sun.

Lifting off just after midnight (EST) on Dec. 7, 1972, the Apollo 17 mission was the final of NASA’s moon-bound manned flights — and the first night launch. The massive, 363-foot tall (111 meters) Saturn V rocket turned night into day as the long flames from its five powerful F–1 engines bathed the dark sky with a brilliant, bright-as-the-sun light that appeared to spectators to slowly climb skyward from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The photo of the Saturn V launching at night is almost as chilling as the fact that we abandoned moon exploration.