The last person on the moon

Updated 27 August 2012

The first and last human on the moon, possibly early 1960s

Neil Armstrong and Eugene Cernan

The first and last human on the moon, 2007

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4th February 2007

Everybody knows about Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon. But considerably less knew about the last person ever to have set foot on the moon, Eugene Cernan.

He was commander of Apollo 17 when their mission landed on the moon in December 1972. He was 38 years old. In that final lunar landing mission, Cernan became the last man on the moon because he was the last to reenter the lunar module. While on the moon he and crewmate Harrison Schmitt explored the moon for a total of 22 hours, most of the time using the Lunar Rover, collecting geologic samples.

As he 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 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.”

He is one of only 12 men to have ever walked on the moon. No additional individuals are expected to walk on the moon for at least another decade.

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