Apollo 14—Kitty Hawk and LEM, Antares—reached the moon in January 1971. Our first astronaut, Alan Shepard, commanded the mission. He and Ed Mitchell descended to the lunar surface in Antares while CM pilot Stuart Roosa awaited their return in Kitty Hawk.
Shepard and Mitchell made two walks on the moon, discovering a huge boulder about five feet long just a short way from the LEM. Shepard, an inveterate golfer, had stowed away a golf club and ball. On their second walk, he brought them out and drove the ball as if on a fairway. They never saw it come down.
Apollo 15’s LEM, Falcon, took an extra piece of equipment to the lunar surface. It carried a moon jalopy for explorers Dave Scott and Jim Irwin to ride –the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV). This enabled them to go further afield and learn more in the rocky, mountainous terrain they touched down in.
They were in an area known as the Hadley-Apennine region. It gave them much to explore—mountains, craters, boulders. They made three jaunts across the rocky lunar surface in their moon car, and made exciting photos of the region.
On the way back to Earth, CM pilot Al Worden took a short EVA from the Endeavor CM and made photos of the lunar surface.
John Young, Tom Mattingly and Charles Duke settled Apollo 16 into lunar orbit in April of 1972. Young and Mattingly would take the LEM, Orion, into the lunar Descartes highlands, a more risky landing site than previous ones. Once again with the LRV, the two were able to explore far afield from Orion, spending 70 hours on the surface.
On December 7, 1972, CM, American, and LEM, Challenger—Apollo 17--lifted off from Pad 39A, headed for the Taurus-Littrow area, a highlands and valley site that offered significant geological promise. Along with Commander Gene Cernan and CM pilot Ron Evans was LEM pilot and Geologist Harrison Schmitt, the first bona fide scientist to go to the moon. The two lunar explorers spent 75 hours collecting the best geological samples yet returned. They traveled more than 35 miles in their LRV through the highlands and the valley of Taurus-Littrow.
Three more lunar missions had been planned, one to land on the far side of the moon. But Congress, in its wisdom, declined to fund those.
Yet, the Apollo program was not over. Apollo still had work to do.