Apollo 17 astronaut
Apollo 17 astronaut. US astronaut and geologist Dr Harrison Schmitt exploring the Taurus-Littrow region of the Moon, as part of NASA's Apollo 17 mission. He landed on the Moon on 11 December 1972, with mission commander Eugene Cernan. They spent 75 hours on the surface. Ron Evans remained in orbit in the command module. Dr Schmitt is the only scientist to have landed on the Moon. Apollo 17 was the last Apollo mission, and Schmitt and Cernan are the last people to have walked on the Moon. A total of 12 US astronauts walked on the Moon during the eleven manned Apollo missions, from 1968-1972.
© NASA/VRS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Apollo 11 image of craters on the Moon
Moon craters. Apollo 11 spacecraft view of a large meteorite impact crater on the far side of the Moon. The crater, named IAU No. 308, is 80 kilo- metres (km) wide. This crater is millions of years old, as newer, smaller craters have formed in and around it due to later impacts. The Moon acts as a kind of natural shield, sheltering the Earth from some of the objects that might otherwise hit it; some lunar impact basins are several hundred km across. The Earth has also suffered from heavy bombardments, but weathering and geological processes have destroyed most of the evidence. Meteorites are lumps of metal and rock formed from the remnants of asteroids and comet cores.
© Nasa/Dvr/Science Photo Library
Optical image of a waxing gibbous moon
Waxing gibbous Moon. Optical image of a waxing gibbous Moon. A gibbous Moon is one showing over half the surface. The Moon is said to wax when it is increasing in apparent size. The Moon's phases start with a new Moon, progress through to a full Moon via this gibbous phase, and then reduce to a new Moon again. One cycle takes around 28 days. The phases of the Moon are due to its orbit around Earth. When it lies in between the Earth and the Sun, only the unlit side faces us (new Moon). When it has moved round so that the Earth lies between it and the Sun, we see the full lit face, a full Moon. North is at top. For the sequence of the Moon's phases, see images R340/526-532.
© JOHN SANFORD/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY