Eugene Cernan

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Eugene A. Cernan (born March 14, 1934) is a former United States astronaut. He has been into space three times: as co-pilot of Gemini 9A in June 1966; as lunar module pilot of Apollo 10 in May 1969; and as commander of Apollo 17 in December 1972, when he became "the last man on the moon". He was also a reserve crew member for the Gemini 12, Apollo 7 and Apollo 14 missions.

A native of Chicago, Illinois, a son of Slovak parents, received his father's name which was originally spelled as Ondrej Čerňan. Cernan grew up in the town of Maywood. He graduated from Purdue University, where he became a member of Phi Gamma Delta, in 1956, with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. He was commissioned into the Navy through the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps at Purdue, and became a Naval Aviator flying jets. He also holds a M.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School. In 1976, Cernan retired both from the Navy (as a Captain) and from NASA, and went into private business.

Cernan is one of only three men to voyage to the moon on two different occasions (the others being Jim Lovell and John Young), and one of only twelve men to walk on the moon. Cernan orbited the moon on Apollo 10, and landed on the moon on Apollo 17.

Gene in LM after EVA-3

While on the moon on Apollo 17 he and his crewmate Harrison Schmitt performed three EVAs for a total of about 22 hours of exploration. Their first EVA alone was over three times the length Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin spent outside the LM on Apollo 11. During this time they covered over 35 kilometers in the Lunar Rover and spent a great deal of time collecting geologic samples that would shed light on the moon's early history.

As Cernan got ready to climb the ladder he spoke these words, the last ever spoken by a man standing on the moon's surface: "As we leave the Moon and 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."

He is the author of Last Man on the Moon, his memoirs of the Apollo program.

"Yes, I am the last man to have walked on the moon, and that's a very dubious and disappointing honor. It's been far too long."


  • Drew his daughter's initials TDC (Tracy Dawn Cernan) in the lunar regolith
  • Motto: Take the word 'impossible' out of your dictionary
  • There is a planetarium named in Captain Cernan's honor -- the Cernan Earth and Space Center on the campus of Triton College in River Grove, Illinois.
  • The first (Armstrong) and last (Cernan) men to walk on the Moon were engineering graduates from Purdue University

External links

cs:Eugene Cernan de:Eugene Cernan et:Eugene Cernan eo:Gene CERNAN it:Eugene Cernan ja:ユージン・サーナン sk:Eugene Andrew Cernan pl:Eugene Cernan