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Neil Armstrong was the first man on the moon - but do you also know who was the LAST man to walk on the moon's surface?
As of December 7, 2007, it has been 34 years and 358 days since any human has walked on the Moon. It was Eugene Cernan, commander of Apollo 17, who was the last person to leave the Moon's surface, and it thus officially "the last man on the moon".
Eugene Andrew Cernan was born March 14, 1934 (so he's 73 years old now). He's the son of a Czech mother and a Slovak father and he grew up in Chicago. He got a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, later entered the US Navy and became a pilot, which finally led him to the NASA.
As of today, only twelve men ever walked on the moon, and Eugene Cernan is one of them. Along with the crew member Harrison Schmitt he spent a total of 22 hours on the moon's surface (outside of the Lunar Module). Using the Lunar Rover they traveled about 35 kilometers and collected a large amount of moon rocks.
Apollo 17 was launched on December 7, 1972 - exactly 35 years ago. Cernan and Schmitt landed on the moon's surface on December 15, stayed a bit more than 3 days. They left the moon's surface on December 18, 1972, and returned to Earth the next day.
As Cernan got ready to climb the ladder he spoke these words, the last currently spoken by a human standing on the moon's surface: "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. As I take these last steps from the surface for some time to come, I'd just like to record that America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow. Godspeed the crew of Apollo Seventeen."
Cernan has been in space three times: he was the co-pilot of Gemini 9A (1966), he orbited the moon as lunar module pilot of Apollo 10 (1969, even before the first moon landing of Apollo 11) and finally as as commander of Apollo 17 (1972). This also means that he one of only three man who made the journey to the moon twice - one time only orbiting the moon, and then landing on it's surface).
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