A Look Back at Apollo 16

In early April of 1972, NASA was preparing to launch the Apollo program's 10th manned mission—the fifth to actually land on the Moon, Apollo 16. This mission would be the penultimate trip in the Apollo program, carrying astronauts John Young, Charles Duke, and Ken Mattingly to the Moon, with Young and Duke headed to the lunar surface while Mattingly remained in orbit. Apollo 16 was the second expedition to bring a Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) along. The astronauts spent more than 20 hours exploring the surface of the Moon, driving 16.6 miles in their LRV, gathering 210 pounds of samples, and setting up a package of instruments and experiments. On April 27, 1972, the crew splashed down safely in the Pacific Ocean, after 12 days away from Earth. [35 photos total]

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Astronauts John Young and Charles Duke drive a Lunar Roving Vehicle trainer on a simulated lunar surface on Earth, on December 22, 1971. (NASA) #
John Young and Charles Duke during EVA training at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in 1971. (NASA) #
John Young gives a "thumb up" to well-wishers gathered in a hallway as he and crewmates leave to board the transfer van to the launch pad on April 16, 1972. (NASA) #
Liftoff of Apollo 16 on April 16, 1972. The crew of three was lifted into orbit atop a Saturn V SA-511 rocket, eventually hurling them toward the Moon at 22,000 mph. (NASA) #
Flight Director Gene Kranz during the Apollo 16 launch, April 16, 1972. (NASA) #
View of Earth from orbit shortly after launch, on April 16, 1972. (NASA) #
View of Earth during translunar coast. Baja California is at the center of the image. (NASA) #
View of the Moon's Van Gent and Nagaoka Craters. Image was taken during Revolution 18 of the Apollo 16 mission. Approximate Altitude was 118 km. (NASA) #
The Command Service Module "Casper" viewed from the Lunar Module on April 20, 1972. (NASA) #
Lunar Module "Orion" and the lunar surface, with Earthrise in the background, on April 19, 1972. (NASA) #
After touchdown, a view from the Lunar Module window. (NASA) #
Apollo 16 Commander John Young jumps and salutes the flag on April 20, 1972. (NASA) #
One of the science experiments, a magnetometer, deployed on the lunar surface. (NASA) #
A panorama of the Lunar Module and LRV on April 21, 1972. (NASA) #
The LRV gets a speed workout by astronaut John W. Young in the "Grand Prix" run during the first Apollo 16 extravehicular activity (EVA) at the Descartes landing site on April 21, 1972 . This view is a frame from motion picture film exposed by a 16mm Maurer camera held by astronaut Charles M. Duke Jr. (NASA) #
The LRV gets a speed workout by astronaut John W. Young in the "Grand Prix" run during the first Apollo 16 extravehicular activity (EVA) at the Descartes landing site on April 21, 1972 . (NASA) #
Lunar Module in the distance, the Passive Seismic Experiment in foreground. (NASA) #
Commander John Young at the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package site on April 21, 1972. (NASA) #
A a plastic-encased photo of Astronaut Charles Duke's family, placed on on lunar surface by Duke. Written on the other side is the message "This is the family of Astronaut Duke from Planet Earth. Landed on the Moon, April 1972". (NASA) #
Charles Duke at Station 4 on Stone Mountain. (NASA) #
Aboard the LRV, a still from a 16mm movie shot during a drive. (NASA) #
Gathering surface samples. (NASA) #
Duke sampling from a large rock at Station 11 on April 23, 1972. (NASA) #
At Station 1, a panorama of Young leaving the LRV with Plum Crater at right. (NASA) #
At Station 1, Duke at edge of crater. (NASA) #
A tiny speck, the Lunar Module seen at lower left, in a shot of Smoky Mountain, when the crew was some distance away on an EVA. (NASA) #
Young working at landing site on April 21, 1972. (NASA) #
Astronaut John Young drives the LRV to its final parking place near the end of the third Apollo 16 EVAs at the Descartes landing site. Astronaut Charles M. Duke Jr., lunar module pilot, took this photograph looking southward. The shadow of the Lunar Module (LM) occupies much of the picture. (NASA) #
On April 23, 1972, astronaut Charles Duke works at the front of the LRV parked in a rock field at a North Ray Crater geological site. (NASA) #
Lunar Module ascent stage approaching for rendezvous in orbit on April 23, 1972. (NASA) #
Gassendi Crater, seen during departure. (NASA) #
On April 25, 1972, astronaut Thomas Mattingly, command module pilot, performs an extravehicular activity during the Apollo 16 trans-Earth coast. Mattingly is assisted by astronaut Charles M. Duke Jr., lunar module pilot. Mattingly inspected the SIM Bay or Service Module (SM), and retrieved film from the Mapping and Panoramic Cameras. (NASA) #
The moment of impact during Apollo 16 splashdown, on April 27, 1972. (NASA) #
Apollo 16 pilot Thomas Mattingly leaves the spacecraft following splashdown. (NASA) #
Apollo 16 astronauts Ken Mattingly, Charles Duke, and John Young, photographed just after leaving a simulator on December 20, 1971. (NASA) #

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