ASTC’s interesting fact of the week

On 9 December 1972, the Apollo 17 mission was on its way to the last manned-mission to the moon. 42 years ago today the mission crew were halfway through a rest period, or having a snooze, during their lunar-coast on their way to land on the moon. They were so relaxed that they overslept by 70 minutes and mission control were unable to wake them as their earplugs had fallen out!

This was just over 52 hours into their mission after leaving earth, at this point the crew were 70,200 nautical miles from the moon.

Sadly the Apollo 17 mission wasn’t only the last time humans walked on the moon, it was also the last time humans have left low-earth orbit in the exploration of our universe!

The Apollo 17 mission broke many records, such as breaking the record for the longest total lunar surface extravehicular activities, the largest lunar sample return and the longest time in lunar orbit. Perhaps most interesting, is the fact that the mission was the first and only time a professional scientist has visited the moon, or flown beyond low earth orbit. Harrison Schmitt, a professional geologist, was assigned as the Lunar Module Pilot, rather than NASA training a pilot as a geologist.

The whole Apollo 17 mission is available to view in real-time, with over 200 hours of viewing at


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