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Apollo 17 astronauts returned to earth 47 years ago today. These photos tell the story of the last manned lunar landing.

Apollo 17 astronauts returned to earth 47 years ago today. These photos tell the story of the last manned lunar landing.

Apollo 11

AP/NASA PHOTO

  • 47 years ago in 1972, Apollo 17 became NASA’s last manned moon landing.

  • A crew of three astronauts spent three days on the moon, taking lunar samples and walking on the surface. They landed back on earth on December 19, 1972.

  • The flight occurred three years after the first human visit to the moon on Apollo 11 in 1969.

  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories. 

Humans haven’t set foot on the moon in nearly half a century, but photos from the small number of trips remain source of fascination.

People first landed on the moon in 1969 as part of the Apollo 11 mission, one of only six total manned lunar missions. Apollo 17 was the last, three years after the first, and it landed safely back on earth 47 years ago today.

Now, President Trump says he plans to send astronauts back to the moon as soon as 2024, but concerns over money and NASA’s culture might make that timeline overly ambitious, according to some astronauts.

These photos show the last time humans were on the moon.

Ronald Evans, pictured here with his wife Jan Pollom, was Command Module Pilot for the Apollo 17 Lunar Landing Mission, which took off from Cape Kennedy in Florida on December 7.

Apollo 11
Apollo 11

AP Photo/NASA

Source: AP, NASA

Dr. Schmitt was the lunar module pilot.

Apollo 11
Apollo 11

AP photo/Jim KerlinHarrison Schmitt, Ronald Evans, and Eugene Cernan prepared to go into space.

Apollo 11
Apollo 11

Bettmann / ContributorThe command module orbited the moon.

Apollo 11
Apollo 11

Corbis/Corbis via Getty ImagesOnce on the moon, astronauts collected lunar samples…

Apollo 11

AP/NASA PHOTO

AP/NASA PHOTO…like this 3.5 billion year old rock, sometimes called “The Goodwill Sample.” Samples from it were gifted to every country on earth.

Apollo 17
Apollo 17

AP PhotoThe Evans family watched two of the astronauts explore the moon on TV, while Ronald Evans orbited the moon in the command module.

Apollo 11
Apollo 11

AP PhotoCernan drove the Lunar Roving Vehicle around the landing site.

Apollo 11
Apollo 11

AP/NASA PHOTOThe astronauts took a photo of earth from the spacecraft.

Apollo 11
Apollo 11

AP photo/NASAAccording to NASA, astronauts spent 75 hours on the moon’s surface during the mission.

Apollo 11
Apollo 11

AP/NASA PHOTOThe Evans family and others waited for news of a safe landing.

Apollo 11
Apollo 11

AP Photo/NASAThe command module landed back on earth in the Pacific Ocean on December 19, 1972.

Apollo 11
Apollo 11

AP Photo/PLThe family and supporters cheered as they watched the landing on TV.

Apollo 11
Apollo 11

AP Photo/NASAOn December 21, Evans was reunited with his wife and two children in Houston.

Apollo 11
Apollo 11

AP Photo

Learn more about Apollo 11 here.

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