Last man to walk on moon passes away at 82

Last man to walk on moon passes away at 82

PanARMENIAN.Net - US astronaut Eugene Cernan, the last man to set foot on the moon, died Monday, January 16 at age 82, NASA and his family announced.

Cernan was the spacecraft commander of Apollo 17 -- his third space flight and the last scheduled US manned mission to the moon -- in December 1972, AFP says.

"We are saddened by the loss of retired NASA astronaut Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon," the US space agency said on Twitter.

According to a family statement released by NASA, Cernan, a retired naval officer, died following ongoing health issues.

"It is with very deep sadness that we share the loss of our beloved husband and father," the family said.

"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," the statement added.

"Even at the age of 82, Gene was passionate about sharing his desire to see the continued human exploration of space and encouraged our nation's leaders and young people to not let him remain the last man to walk on the moon."

The space community quickly took to Twitter to pay tribute to Cernan and honor his legacy.

"Saddened by the loss of pioneer, fellow naval aviator, astronaut and friend Gene Cernan #RIP #lastmanonthemoon," said retired American astronaut Scott Kelly.

"Ad Astra, Gene," tweeted NASA's Kennedy Space Center, using a Latin phrase meaning "to the stars."

"We mourn the loss of our friend Gene Cernan, the Last Man on the Moon and a hero for the ages," said the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. "Godspeed the Commander of Apollo 17."

On what would be the last manned mission to the lunar surface, Cernan's second to the moon, the crew captured the iconic image of a full view of the planet Earth dubbed "Blue Marble."

"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," the astronaut said of his final mission, in a 2007 interview with NASA.

The footprints Cernan left on the moon's surface remain visible more than four decades later.

"I'd just like to record that America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow," he said as he left the moon for the final time.

Read also. Daughter’s name on the Moon: When you have a great dad

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