National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content NASA Banner
Solar System Exploration
Apollo 16
Missions to the Moon
 By Target   By Name   By Decade 
Beyond Our Solar System Our Solar System Sun Mercury Venus Moon Earth Mars Dwarf Planets Dwarf Planets Dwarf Planets Asteroids Comets Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune Kuiper Belt
Apollo 16
Apollo 16 Mission to Earth's Moon

Goals: Primary objectives were to (1) perform geological inspection, survey, and sampling of materials and surface features in a preselected area of the Descartes region; (2) emplace and activate surface experiments; and (3) conduct inflight experiments and photographic tasks.

Commander: John W. Young
Lunar module (Orion) pilot: Charles M. Duke, Jr.
Command module (Casper) pilot: Thomas K. Mattingly II

Landing site:
Mare Tranquilitatis (Sea of Tranquility)

Accomplishments: Apollo 16 was the first landing in the central lunar highlands. This mission overturned prevailing scientific opinion that the central lunar highlands were of volcanic origin.

Key Dates
16 Apr 1972:  Launch
19 Apr 1972:  Lunar Orbit Insertion
20 Apr 1972:  Lunar Landing
24 Apr 1972:  Lunar Surface Departure
27 Apr 1972:  Recovery on Earth
27 Apr 1972:  End of Lunar Mission
Status: Successful
Fast Facts
Apollo 16 Facts Apollo 16 was the fifth crewed mission to the lunar surface.

At 36 years of age, Charles Duke was the youngest person to walk on the moon.

Ken Mattingly was to have piloted the command module on the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission, but the flight surgeon grounded him 72 hours before the scheduled launch. Charles Duke had exposed the crew to German measles, to which Mattingly had no immunity.

The command module (see right) was named after Casper the Friendly Ghost, allegedly after some children remarked that the spacesuited astronauts looked like the cartoon character.

The lunar module was named "Orion" for the constellation because the crew would depend on star sightings to navigate.
People Spotlight
David S. McKay David S. McKay
During the Apollo program, McKay gave the first men to walk on the moon training in geology. Read More...
Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map   Print This Page
NASA Official: Kristen Erickson
Advisory: Dr. James Green, Director of Planetary Science
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Curator/Editor: Phil Davis
Science Writers: Courtney O'Connor and Bill Dunford
Producer: Greg Baerg
Webmaster: David Martin
> NASA Science Mission Directorate
> Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
> Equal Employment Opportunity Data
   Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
> Information-Dissemination Policies and Inventories
> Freedom of Information Act
> Privacy Policy & Important Notices
> Inspector General Hotline
> Office of the Inspector General
> NASA Communications Policy
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 5 Sep 2013