The last man to stand on the surface of the moon has passed away of unknown causes.
In December of 1972 Gene Cernan, the commander of Apollo 17, had the distinguished honor to be the last man to stand on the moon. He was the 11th person to step foot on the cratered surface, his lunar module pilot being the 12th, but was the last back on board during the last of the Apollo missions.
— NASA (@NASA) January 16, 2017
Though Cernan’s words seemed to get lost with the media, not becoming as famous as Armstrong’s during the first steps on the lunar surface, they were none the less emotional, historical, and grand in nature. Cernan, as he stood on the dusty surface of the far off moon, stated:
“America’s challenge of today has forged man’s destiny of tomorrow. And, as we leave the Moon at Taurus- Littrow, we leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind. Godspeed the crew of Apollo 17.”
On top of walking on the surface of the moon Cernan also commanded the Apollo 10 mission where they flew within eight miles of the surface and then became the second American to ever walk in space during the Gemini IX mission in 1966. Cernan participated in a documentary produced in 2007 entitled, “In The Shadow Of The Moon,” where he talked about his experiences stating:
“There is too much purpose, too much logic, it was just too beautiful to happen by accident. There has to be somebody bigger than you and bigger than me…And I mean this in a spiritual sense, not in a religious sense, there has to be a creator of the universe who stands above the religions that we ourselves create to govern our lives.”
Astronaut Cernan was 82 years old at his time of death.
Featured image via NASA.