A new documentary short looks back at the last time humanity ventured beyond low-Earth orbit.
"The Last Steps," which premiered on Saturday (Oct. 8) at the Hamptons International Film Festival in East Hampton, New York, chronicles the journey of Apollo 17, the United States' sixth and last moon landing in December 1972.
"The theme of our mission is that this isn't the end," says Apollo 17 commander Gene Cernan in a rarely-seen pre-flight interview that is playing as "The Last Steps" begins. "We've just begin [sic] to crawl with the Apollo program as mankind. We're just now hoping that we can learn to walk and then press onto the future."
Produced by CNN Films and Great Big Story, CNN's video network, "The Last Steps" relies solely on original NASA footage — most of it having been shot by Cernan and his Apollo 17 crew mates, Harrison Schmitt and Ron Evans.
"Unlike other films that have blended archival footage with interviews or narration from today, our film is unique in that we use only archival material, in other words transmission audio, original still photography and original film captured by the astronauts," said Todd Miller, "Last Steps" director, in an interview with collectSPACE.com, "thus giving the viewer a truly direct cinema experience of our last trip to the lunar surface."
Launched from Earth on Dec. 7, 1972, Cernan and Schmitt spent three days on the moon, exploring the Taurus-Littrow valley over the course of three moonwalks. They were the last to drive a lunar rover and collected 741 rock and soil samples. Evans made the last deep space extra-vehicular activity .