字幕表 動画を再生する 英語字幕をプリント The United States had big plans for the Moon, and the Apollo Program was just the start. As the public dreamt of a new home in the stars, NASA developed plans to make cosmic colonization a reality. The Apollo missions were laying the foundation for life on the lunar landscape. But, just three years after the first landing, the United States ventured to the Moon for the final time. In the 1960's, NASA was developing ambitious offshoots for the Apollo Program - primarily establishment of a Moon base intended to extend humanity's time on the Moon. The Lunar Shelter-Laboratory or SHELAB was one of the concepts under consideration. SHELAB consisted of a cabin with an airlock chamber and a lunar excursion truck equipped with a flying belt for the astronauts. Powered by fuel cells and batteries, the shelter would support two astronauts for 14 days. It was believed that the lunar bases could be the start of a large permanent colony on the Moon. At the time, expanding on Apollo wasn't so far fetched. The country's Cold War competition and desire to be first rapidly expanded the potential of space exploration. Two years after NASA began operations, the U.S. government allocated 500 million dollars of the federal budget to the agency. In just five years, the budget grew to 5.2 billion dollars which represented 5.3 percent of all government spending. NASA expanded facilities across the country: the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, the Launch Operations Center at Cape Canaveral in Florida and the Mississippi Test Facility. With the massive expansion came hundreds of thousands of jobs. NASA's labor force peaked in the mid 60's with a reported 400,000 staffers and contractors. The majority of NASA's resources went to the Apollo Program. Between 1959 and 1973, the agency spent just over 23 billion dollars on human spaceflight of which nearly 20 billion dollars was for Apollo. That amount of money today would equate to over 130 billion dollars spent on one program alone. But by the 1970's, public attention was no longer above the clouds. With the lunar landing achieved, attention shifted to the seemingly endless Vietnam War. And that's where government funds went as well, putting a huge strain on the U.S. economy. NASA's glory years were starting to lose their grandiose glow. Budget cuts forced the agency to rethink the feasibility of its exploration plans. And since the Apollo Program was expensive and risky, the agency's priorities started to move towards other projects. Ultimately, NASA decided to cut the Apollo Program and its deep space dreams, short. In 1970, the flights planned for Apollo 15, 19 and 20 were cancelled, and the remaining missions were renumbered. The cancelled missions freed up resources for NASA's Skylab and Space Shuttle - programs that were slated to launch over the next two decades. Some of the astronauts who spent years training for Apollo, were reassigned to these programs while others retired without ever making it to space. The Apollo 17 astronauts would be the last men to land on the Moon. Veteran Gene Cernan would embark on his second lunar trek. During Apollo 10, he hovered above the surface but this time he'd touch down. The other final moonwalker was Jack Schmitt. He was the first scientist to be selected for an Apollo crew. And rookie Ronald Evans would man the Command Module while his crewmates journeyed to the Moon. Apollo 17 launched on December 7th, 1972. NASA selected the Taurus-Littrow region as the mission's landing location. The nearby Shorty Crater was believed to hold evidence of past volcanic vents and geologist turned astronaut Jack Schmitt would help provide vital insight of the area. En route to the Moon, the astronauts got a view of home that had never been seen before. One of the astronauts grabbed a camera and snapped a picture. It's known as the Blue Marble Shot and it is the first photograph to capture the entire Earth. The picture became the center of a decades long debate between the Apollo 17 crew members, each claiming they were the photographer. After the snapshot, the crew made it to lunar orbit and eventually landed on the Moon without major issue. The astronauts deployed scientific instruments and collected lunar samples. At the end of their first trip in the Lunar Rover, they hit a problem. But just like Apollo 13, this snag would be solved with duct tape. With the LVR running again, the team ventured to the rim of the Shorty Crater where they observed orange soil, which was later found to be tiny spheres of colored glass likely from a volcanic vent. After about three days and a record 22 hours spent outside the lunar module, the astronauts prepared to head back to Earth for the last time. And with that, NASA's missions to the Moon came to a close. The ambitious goals of the early Apollo Program had fallen like dominos synchronized with NASA's depleting budget. The space agency moved on to other projects that would remain in Low Earth Orbit. Apollo 17 marked the world's last manned trip to another celestial body. But while the Apollo Program came to an end, it's contributions to science did not. And now, decades later, NASA is tracing a new path to the Moon. The Apollo Program revolutionized all aspects of spaceflight. To learn more about the development of the first lunar vehicle, check out this video. You can find the rest of the Apollo series on the Seeker playlist page. Thanks for watching and make sure to subscribe! The Apollo Program revolutionized all aspects of spaceflight. To learn more about the development of the first lunar vehicle, watch the episode we posted in the comments. And make sure to follow Seeker for more science in your feed. Thanks for watching!