The Apollo 17 mission landed on the Moon on December 11, 1972. Of all the Apollo astronauts, Apollo 17 astronauts Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmidt spent the longest time out on the lunar surface (more than 22 hours), traversed the greatest distance from the Lunar Module (over 30 kilometers), and collected the largest number of lunar rocks (more than 120 kilograms).
The Apollo 17 landing site (green cross) lies within the 2-kilometer-deep Taurus-Littrow Valley on the eastern edge of Mare Serenitatis. The two high massifs nearest the landing site, North and South Massif, were formed by the impact that created the Serenitatis Basin 3.89 billion years ago. The astronauts visited the base of both mountains. The Taurus-Littrow valley was partially filled by basaltic lavas a few hundred million years after the impact. The bright material on the north side of South Massif is a landslide deposit formed when ejecta from the 80-kilometer-wide bright-rayed crater Tycho struck the top of South Massif. Tycho lies 2200 kilometers to the southwest of the Apollo 17 landing site and is one of the youngest large craters on the Moon. Determining the age of this landslide has enabled scientists to estimate that Tycho formed about 110 million years ago.
Apollo 17 images