Photo of Gene Cernan in the Apollo 17 CSM during return from the Moon in 1972. (NASA/JSC)
Sad news today: Eugene A. Cernan, former NASA astronaut and one of the twelve people who walked on the Moon during the Apollo program, died today at the age of 82.
“It is with very deep sadness that we share the loss of our beloved husband and father,” Cernan’s family said in a news release from NASA. “Our family is heartbroken, of course, and we truly appreciate everyone’s thoughts and prayers. Gene, as he was known by so many, was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend.”
Gene Cernan was born in Chicago on March 14, 1934. He was a Navy pilot and captain, and was selected to be an astronaut by NASA in Oct. 1963. Gene flew in space three times: the first on Gemini IX, the second as LM pilot on Apollo 10—the “dress rehearsal” for the following lunar landing—and finally as commander on Apollo 17 in December 1972. It was during this mission that Gene became the “last man on the Moon,” as he was the last person to have boots on the lunar surface once fellow moonwalker Jack ...