Eugene Cernan

NASA astronaut, Naval aviator, aeronautical engineer, electrical engineer, fighter pilot, eleventh human to walk on the Moon (Apollo 10 and Apollo 17)

Eugene Andrew Cernan (born March 14, 1934 - 16 January 2017) was an American astronaut, naval aviator, electrical engineer, aeronautical engineer, and fighter pilot. During the Apollo 17 mission, Cernan became the eleventh person to walk on the Moon. As he re-entered the Apollo Lunar Module after Harrison Schmitt on their third and final lunar excursion, he is the last person to walk on the Moon as of 2021.

Cernan in 1971


  • As I take man's last step from the surface, back home for some time to come - but we believe not too long into the future - I'd like to just (say) what I believe history will record. That 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.
  • I felt that I was literally standing on a plateau somewhere out there in space. A plateau that science and technology had allowed me to get to. But now what I was seeing and even more important what I was feeling at that moment in time, science and technology had no answers. Literally no answers because there I was, and there you are, there you were, the earth dynamic, overwhelming.. And I felt that the world just.. 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.
  • It's the last steps that are perhaps more memorable to me than that first step, because I'd been in this valley on the Moon, almost living in a paradox. Sunshine the whole three days we were there. Yet surrounded by the blackest black that we can conceive in our mind, and we don't know how to define it, describe it. We pull words out like infinity, the endlessness of space, the endlessness of time, but we don't know what that is. But I can tell you the endlessness of it all exists, because I saw it with my own eyes. So you're in the middle of this. You're part of this unique part of the universe. Everything's three dimension when you look back at the Earth in all its splendor, in all its glory, multicolors of the blues of the oceans and whites of the snow and the clouds. If your arm were long enough while you're on the surface, it's almost as if you could reach out and put it in the palm of your hand and bring it back close to you and take it home with you. Take it home with you so everybody else could see.
  • [(...) here is Cernan on the subject of window gazing:] You have to literally just pinch yourself and ask yourself the question, silently: Do you know where you are at this point in time and space, and in reality and in existence, when you can look out the window and you're looking at the most beautiful star in the heavens -- the most beautiful because it's the one we understand and we know, it's home, it's people, family, love, life -- and besides that it is beautiful. You can see from pole to pole and across oceans and continents and you can watch it turn and there's no strings holding it up, and it's moving in a blackness that is almost beyond conception.
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