The day we left the Moon

26 mayo 2008

The following scene was filmed on December 14, 1972, on the southeastern rim of the Mare Serenitatis. The video shows lunar lift-off of Apollo 17. For a few seconds, the spacecraft gains height until it disappears in the darkness. On board there were two men, Eugene A. Cernan and Harrison H. Schmitt, the last two human who have walked on the Moon since then.

The scene is specially sad as it was a kind of farewell to the Moon until today. A few seconds before the lift-off, Commander Eugene A. Cernan pronounced his famous speech about "peace and hope for all mankind". However, it is said that his last 'informal' words on the lunar surface, one second before lunar liftoff, were "Okay, Jack. Let's get this mother outta here".

According to NASA, the television camera was mounted on the rover parked about 145 meters east of (behind) the lunar module. The ascent stage ignites and climbs, spacecraft foil and dust flying in all directions. Ed Fendell in Houston anticipates exactly the timing of ignition, lift-off, and the rate of climb, and the camera tilts to follows the ascent.

The original videos are avalaible at NASA's official site. Here you can see the lift-off and the moments after the spacecraft had left. This is what we could see on the Moon a few seconds after the last men had gone: