|Apollo 17 astronaut Eugene Cernan seems to be enjoying the view. And what a view it is, with magnificent towering mountains in every direction. Gene and his pal Jack Schmitt landed in the Taurus-Littrow valley yesterday and are in the middle of a tightly packed 3-day exploration.
The area was a treasure of information just waiting to be sampled. Gene would later say, "No matter where we might be, we could always spend more time and learn more." But other equally interesting sites awaited their visit. Realizing that the most effective use of their limited stay time on the Moon was to maximize their time exploring a specific site on foot and minimize driving time from site to site in their lunar rover, Gene reported, "Even though we were never able to really go in a straight line very long because of boulders, craters, and other terrain features, I drove the rover full out the majority of the time, at speeds up to 18 kilometers per hour (about 11 miles per hour). I used 4-wheel drive and fore and aft steering and found that controllability was excellent but very sensitive".
The rover was an extremely lightweight electric car that did its job perfectly. It carried Gene and Jack, their tools and the samples they collected a total of nearly 22 miles during their 3 EVAs. It also supported a remotely controlled television camera that allowed us back here on planet Earth to experience firsthand the exploration of a distant world.