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Space History Photo: Apollo 17 Astronaut Harrison Schmitt on the Moon

Harrison Schmitt on Apollo 17 mission
Harrison Schmitt, Apollo 17 Lunar Module pilot, is photographed next to the American Flag during extravehicular activity (EVA) of NASA's final lunar landing mission. (Image credit: NASA/JSC/Eugene Cernan )

In this historical photo from the U.S. space agency, geologist-astronaut Harrison Schmitt, Apollo 17 Lunar Module pilot, is photographed on Dec. 13, 1972 next to the American Flag during extravehicular activity (EVA). It was NASA's final lunar landing mission in the Apollo series. The photo was taken at the Taurus-Littrow landing site by astronaut Eugene Cernan. The highest part of the flag appears to point toward Earth in the distant background.

Schmitt was the first scientist-astronaut to land on the moon. With help of a lunar rover, Harrison and the other astronauts collected 243 pounds (110.4 kg) of moon rocks and dust. Apollo 17 was the last mission to the moon.

Each weekday, SPACE.com looks back at the history of spaceflight through photos.

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NASA Archives
NASA Archives

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the U.S. government agency in charge of the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. Founded in 1958, NASA is a civilian space agency aimed at exploring the universe with space telescopes,  satellites, robotic spacecraft, astronauts and more. The space agency has 10 major centers based across the U.S. and launches robotic and crewed missions from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral Florida. It's astronaut corps is based at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. To follow NASA's latest mission, follow the space agency on Twitter or any other social channel, of visit: nasa.gov