Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2005 December 10
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

The Last Moon Shot
Credit: Apollo Program, NASA (image scanned by J.L. Pickering)

Explanation: In 1865 Jules Verne predicted the invention of a space capsule that could carry people. His science fiction story "From the Earth to the Moon" outlined his vision of a cannon in Florida so powerful that it could shoot a Projectile-Vehicle carrying three adventurers to the Moon. Over 100 years later NASA, guided by Wernher Von Braun's vision, produced the Saturn V rocket. From a spaceport in Florida, this rocket turned Verne's fiction into fact, launching 9 Apollo Lunar missions and allowing 12 astronauts to walk on the Moon. As spotlights play on the rocket and launch pad at dusk, the last moon shot, Apollo 17, is pictured here awaiting its December 1972 night launch.

Tomorrow's picture: sky spider

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