News-Antique.com - Jun 06,2008 - Santa Fe, June 6, 2008--The Saturn rocket lit up the night sky like a torch on Dec. 7, 1972. In a brilliant flash it left the launch pad.
The last mission, Apollo 17, was now on its way to the moon.
The glow of 74 searchlights at Cape Canaveral added to the magic. The blast could be heard from 50 miles away. Half a million Americans were on hand for the grand finale.
History was unfolding right before the worldís eyes. Everyone knew it.
Gene Cernan, the flightís commander, would set the Lunar Module Challenger down on the eastern shore of the moonís Sea of Serenity. The landing site was a flat-floored valley four miles wide, bordered on three sides by high mountains. It was a spectacular setting for an unearthly journey.
The landing site was picked because older and younger rocks than those previously returned from Apollo missions might be found. Compared to earlier flights, Apollo 17 astronauts traveled the greatest distance using their Lunar Roving vehicle.
They also brought back the largest amount of rock and soil samples, shot more film and collected more data.
Cernan wanted to take back what it felt like to be on the moon. He knew he would be the last man there for a long time. In the end over 200 pounds of moon came back with him.
How do you top an experience like walking on the moon? Cernan said you donít. Encores fall so short. He was able, however, to powerfully communicate his experience to audiences all over the world through his lectures.
ďIt's our destiny to explore. It's our destiny to be a space-faring nation.Ē That was Cernanís ultimate message.
On March 25, a selection of Gene Cernanís flown space objects were offered for sale in Heritage Auction Galleries, Dallas, Texas, Air & Space Auction.
A flown space pen used during the flight and carried in Cernanís spacesuit pocket sold for $23,900.
Read the entire article at http://www.LiveAuctionTalk.com
Photo courtesy of Heritage Auctioneers & Appraisers.