On April 16, 1972 NASA launched the Apollo 16 moon landing mission, which sent three astronauts to the moon's Descartes region. See photos from the historic flight in our gallery here.
First, a Memento: A plaque exactly like this was left on the moon by the Apollo 16 crewmen — astronauts John W. Young, commander; Thomas K. Mattingly II, command module pilot; and Charles M. Duke Jr., lunar module pilot.
Apollo 16 Crew Patch
A NASA artist designed the official Apollo 16 crew patch from ideas the mission crewmembers — astronauts John W. Young, commander; Thomas K. Mattingly II, command module pilot; and Charles M. Duke Jr., lunar module pilot, submitted. The background consists of a lunar scene surrounded by a blue circle with 16 white stars and the crew's last names across the bottom. The dominant feature of the patch is an eagle perched on a red, white and blue shield. A symbol of flight in gold outlined with blue is emblazoned across the shield.
From directly above the Apollo 16 landing site in the Descartes area is clear. Over the image a layout of the suggested landing location for the Apollo 16 Lunar Module. The crew took this image from lunar orbit with a 500mm lens camera. In the Apollo 16 Lunar Module, called "Orion," astronauts John W. Young, commander; and Charles M. Duke Jr., lunar module pilot; descended to and landed on the Descartes highlands on the moon. During the exploration, astronaut Thomas K. Mattingly II, command module pilot, stayed in the Apollo 16 Command and Service Modules, called "Casper," in orbit.
Practice Here for Work There
Over November 17-18, 1971, astronauts John W. Young, right, prime crew commander for Apollo 16, and Charles M. Duke Jr., lunar module pilot, took part in a geology field trip to the Coso Range outside Ridgecrest, California to complete exercises along a simulated lunar traverse route. The tasks were completed at the U.S. Naval Ordnance Test Station.
From the Apollo 14 spacecraft, this image of the Descartes area was captured almost vertically. For the Apollo 16 lunar landing mission, an overlay of the planned extravehicular activities, Lunar Roving Vehicle routes and the nicknames of the moons features. Roman numerals reveal EVA numbers and Arabic numbers indicate stations or traverse stops for the vehicle.
Apollo 16, the fifth NASA Apollo lunar landing mission, touched down in the mountainous highlands region near the Descartes crater. The Apollo 16 lunar landing mission was a three-day mission carrying the self-recording penetrometer experiment, an experiment on lunar soil mechanics. On January 28, 1972, astronauts John W. Young, left, Apollo 16 commander, and Charles M. Duke Jr., lunar module pilot, simulate a lunar traverse. Duke holds a model of the penetrometer.
As Close As Possible
During a December 1, 1971 underwater training to simulate the conditions in space, astronaut Thomas K. Mattingly II, command module pilot of the Apollo 16 lunar landing mission, participates in extravehicular activity exercises in a water facility tank at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Building 5.
During water egress training in the Gulf of Mexico on February 5, 1972, the Apollo 16 prime crew — from left to right, astronauts Thomas K. Mattingly II, command module pilot; John W. Young, commander; and Charles M. Duke Jr., lunar module pilot — chill on the NASA Motor Vessel Retriever.
Picture Perfect Launch
On April 16, 1972, the Apollo 16 space vehicle, standing 363-feel tall, consisting of Spacecraft 113, Lunar Module 11 and Saturn 511, successfully launched from Launch Complex 39, Pad A at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The Apollo 16 prime crew — astronauts Thomas K. Mattingly II, command module pilot; John W. Young, commander; and Charles M. Duke Jr., lunar module pilot — were part of NASA's fifth lunar landing mission.
Activity at the Mission Operations Control Room at the Mission Control Center on April 16, 1972, reveals a television transmission from the Apollo 16 spacecraft in transit from Earth to the moon. On the monitor in the background a view of Earth from the spacecraft.
From the Apollo 16 space vehicle, the Apollo 16 astronauts saw Earth this way. Canada and the oceans have a great deal of cloud cover but the United States is almost entirely visible. Two of the Great Lakes and much of the Rocky Mountain Range is clear.