Last Human to Step on the Moon 43 years ago today

When Eugene Cernan got aboard the Challenger Lunar Module and left the Moon at the end of the Apollo 17 mission 43 years ago today, it was the last time a human stood on the moon

This was the mission with the Lunar Rover and all the scientific tests

Too bad not continued.

That is depressing as hell.

Great achievement, but robotic missions are the way to go, until we replace chemical fueled rockets.

Obligatory XKCD cartoon. (includes a worthy mouse-over note)

That’s what they WANT you to think.

Without googling, how many humans have walked on the moon?

2 each from Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17 for a total of 12.

I’m saddened to think so many people have not been able to experience the wonder of looking at the moon and knowing a person was up there right then. That feeling was amazing.

Thanks, Senator Proxmire, you scumbag.

I managed to shake Gene’s hand a month or so back. Calling him Mr. Cernan or Captain Cernan just seemed not right some how.

It was at the premier for a movie about him, called The Last Man On The Moon. I think it gets released in couple of months.

He really looked like he has aged a lot in the past couple of years. He even mentioned that he had been “laid up for awhile recently but that this event was something he wasn’t going to miss”. If he isn’t around much longer I would not be surprised.

I would not say the movie was great, because for some it probably is and some it probably isn’t.

But as for what it represents, both in the big picture and in the details, it was both inspiring and gut wrenching to watch. I’ve been to funerals that were easier to get through.

As I left the event, I remember looking at him in the distance, shaking hands and being happy. And thinking “damn”.

There was a SF author (I can’t remember which one) who said “We thought we were the Columbuses of space. But it turns out we were the Lief Eriksons.”

If we wait for the perfect technology, we’ll be waiting forever. It’s long past time we became a multiplanet species.

Interestingly, Harrison Schmitt, the geologist on the Apollo 17 mission, received the Leif Erikson Exploration Award just last month:

I’d never heard that one before. It’s a good line.

Believe it or not I knew that without Googling. My Death Pool list this year was all astronauts and cosmonauts, and included all those astronauts living who walked on the moon. So I looked it up last December.

I recall a scene from the movie (though IIRC the scene is from a fair number of years ago).

Gene is at one of the “abandoned” Apollo launch pads. He says something to the effect of "this is depressing as hell…I should have never come here…this was a mistake "


PS…the depressing as hell part might be an imagination on my part.

When we took a friggin’ CAR to the MOON, it was all downhill.

AIUI, there is someone now ‘signing up’ folks for a one-way trip to ‘colonize’ Mars.

For all those who really, really think “we” should start setting up housekeeping on other worlds, how many would take that rip - while they were under 30, healthy, and with specific talents needed for such a colony?
Say, with a 50-50 shot of living long enough to secure a toe-hold and either reproduce there or live long enough to see more humans arrive from Earth?


What, because he killed Apollos 18, 19, and 20?

Don’t get me wrong, it was penny-wise and pound-foolish to cancel those three missions. But another six people on the moon - bfd, in the long run. That’s not why nobody’s been back since.

What surprises me is that with all the technologically capable nations in the world, nobody else has gone there in all this time. You’d think the Chinese or somebody would go there, just to show they can.

The other thing that surprises me is the price tags put on an American return to the moon. This is a solved problem. It’s not like we’ve got to figure everything out from scratch; we already know what works. We don’t have to send up Ranger and Surveyor missions to see the moon up close; we’ve already mapped that sucker. We already know how to build a Saturn V booster rocket and an Apollo space capsule and a LEM. Plus we’ve got 45 years of off-the-shelf technology advances. The notion that it would take hundreds of billions of dollars to get back to the moon seems crazy.

Mars and beyond, OTOH…if we can’t even get back to the moon, why bother talking about Mars? And besides, robots do space really well. Vacuum and cold and cosmic radiation just don’t bother them, but they kill us. Just about all of the cost of manned space flight is the cost of keeping intact that bubble of safety that enables astronauts to keep on living and breathing while outside the Earth’s atmosphere. Robots don’t need that bubble. Robots and space are perfect for each other.

And you have just joined the discussion of bomber v missle
and now:
Fighter/bomber v drone

It is the requirement to maintain a pulse that limits the G forces, altitudes, and speeds.

I’d love to see the head-to-head costs for a Manned vs Unmanned space shot AND heavy bomber.

China has already announced it plans on sending a manned mission to the moon. And they seem to be on track. They’ve launched men into space and they’ve soft-landed unmanned ships on the moon. While they haven’t set a date yet, it’s expected their manned lunar mission will be launched with the next ten to fifteen years.