Forty three years ago today, the last of the Apollo moon missions lifted off.
Apollo 17 Mission Insignia
The crew consisted of Eugene Cernan (Commander), Ronald Evans (Command Module Pilot) and Harrison Schmitt (Lunar Module Pilot). Cernan and Schmitt landed on the moon on December 11 and lifted off at 5:55 EST December 14. They were the last humans to walk the moon. In fact, the three crew members were the last humans to fly higher than low-Earth orbit. If you had told THC in 1972 that by 2015 humans would not have returned to the moon or ventured further into space he would not have believed you. Hope we return in my lifetime.
(Eugene Cernan, December 13, 1972)
Apollo 17 was the only night launch of the moon missions and it was spectacular.
Apollo 17 Launch
The Saturn V which took the astronauts into space remains the tallest (363 feet) and heaviest (6.5 million pounds) rocket ever launched. Think of it as launching a 35 story tall building into space gives a sense of the technical accomplishment.
In tribute to all of those who flew on the moon missions it's appropriate to end this with William Shatner's immortal version of Rocket Man, written by Bernie Taupin and Elton John. This mind-blowing performance is from the 1978 Science Fiction Film Awards. Best of the YouTube comments: "There should be a cult centered around this video". When the third Shatner enters around 4:00 it elevates the whole thing to another level.