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Men on the Moon: Apollo 16 & 17 Missions

The astronauts that traveled to the Moon are known for having colorful careers in the military, such as John Young, who was part of the Apollo 16 mission. He also had a great deal of experience piloting different kinds of spacecraft. In this article, you will also learn about the astronauts who were the last to visit the Moon.

The Apollo 16 Mission (John Young and Charles Duke Jr.)

John Young and Charles Duke Jr. landed on the Moon during a mission that lasted from April 16 to 27, 1972.

Out of all the astronauts in the United States, John Young is considered one that enjoyed the most versatile of careers at NASA , lasting 19 years of active service. He participated in six spaceflights and was the first person to complete this feat. He was the only person to have piloted four different classes of spacecraft, which included Gemini, the Apollo Command/Service Module, the Apollo Lunar Module, and the Space Shuttle. Other achievements include flying on the first manned Gemini mission in 1965, becoming the first person to orbit the moon alone during Apollo 10, and one of only three people to have traveled to the Moon two times. In 2004, Young finally retired from NASA.

Besides being an astronaut, Charles Duke Jr was a brigadier general in the United States Air Force and aerospace engineer for NASA. In 1972, he was a lunar module pilot for Apollo 16, where he became the tenth and youngest person to walk on the Moon. As a test pilot, Duke racked up 4,147 hours of flying time , 3,632 hours in jet aircraft and 265 hours in space with the addition of 21 hours and 28 minutes of extra-vehicular activity. While on the Moon, Duke is known for leaving behind a picture of his family.

The Apollo 17 Mission (Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt)

Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt landed on the Moon during a mission that lasted from December 7 to 19, 1972.

Eugene Cernan was an engineer and officer for the United States Navy, who has traveled to space for three missions. In 19966, he was a pilot for Gemini 9A, and a lunar module pilot for the Apollo 10 mission in 1969, and then the commander of the Apollo 17 mission in 1972. With this final lunar landing mission, Cernan became known as the ‘last man on the moon’ since he was the last to reenter the Apollo Lunar Module during the final extra-vehicular activity. Cernan is one of only three humans to have traveled to the Moon on two different occasions when he orbited the moon on the Apollo 10 mission and landed with Apollo 17. After his days at NASA, Cernan wrote a book and spends time opposing the cancellation of space programs.

Harrison Schmitt

Harrison Schmitt was a unique visitor to the Moon because he was the only geologist to make the trip. He is also known as the ‘last man to arrive on the moon’ because he left the module first. Interestingly, Schmitt never belonged to the United States Armed Forces like the other astronauts. Before he joined NASA, he was amongst the first scientists to work at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Astrogeology Center at Flagstaff, Arizona, where they spent time developing techniques for Apollo crews to use while on the Moon. Following all the landing missions, Schmitt would examine and evaluate the lunar samples