Eugene Cernan, Last Man To Walk On Moon, Dies

Posted: Jan 17 2017, 7:23am CST | by , Updated: Jan 17 2017, 7:28am CST, in News | Latest Science News

 

Eugene Cernan, Last Man to Walk on Moon, Dies
Photo Credit: Getty Images
 

Eugene Cernan was the commander of Apollo 17 - the last lunar mission

Eugene Cernan, the astronaut who was the last person to walk on moon’s surface, died on Monday. He was 82.

Eugene Cernan was the commander of Apollo 17 – the sixth and the final mission of the NASA’s Apollo program. No manned mission has been sent to the moon ever since. 

Cernan was the 11th man to set foot on moon. Though, he was followed by lunar module pilot Harrison Schmitt but since Cernan was the last man to reenter the module, it gave him the distinction of being the last human to leave his footprints on moon.

Cernan was also one of the only three astronauts to have flown to lunar surface twice in their career. He spent 73 hours on moon’s surface during those two missions. Overall, he logged more than 500 hours in space.

Born in Chicago, Cernan was a captain in Navy before he was selected by NASA in October 1963. He travelled to space on three occasions: as Pilot of Gemini 9A in June 1966, as Lunar Module Pilot of Apollo 10 in May 1969, and lastly as Commander of Apollo 17 in December 1972.

Apollo 17 was a memorable mission in many ways. It set several new records in spaceflight history,  including longest lunar flight (301 hours, 51 minutes); longest lunar surface activities (22 hours, 6 minutes); largest lunar sample return (nearly 249 pounds); and longest time in lunar orbit (147 hours, 48 minutes).

“Apollo 17 built upon all of the other mission scientifically,” Cernan said in 2008. “We had lunar rover, we were able to cover more ground than most of the other missions. We stayed there a little bit longer. We went to a more challenging unique area in the mountains, to learn something more about the history and the origin of the moon itself.”

Cernan retired from NASA in 1976 after spending 13 remarkable years in space agency and started his own company for providing consultancy in aerospace and other related industries. 

“Even at the age of 82, Gene was passionate about sharing his desire to see the continued human exploration of space and encouraged our nation’s leaders and young people to not let him remain the last man to walk on the moon.” His family said in statement on Monday.

NASA has also paid tribute to Cernan and the legacy he left behind.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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