Last Man On the Moon: A Talk With Gene Cernan

Four decades after flying to the moon, Apollo 17 commander Gene Cernan still has a lot to say.

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Frazer Harrison / Wire Image

Astronaut Capt Gene Cernan speaks at the Omega Celebrates The 40th Anniversary of The Apollo Moon Landing at South Coast Plaza on July 11, 2009 in Costa Mesa, Calif.

Forty years ago today, Gene Cernan, commander of Apollo 17, climbed back up the ladder of his lunar module and took off from the moon’s Taurus-Littrow valley — thus ending America’s lunar program. Cernan, who also orbited the Earth aboard Gemini 9 and orbited the moon on Apollo 10, is frustrated with the aimlessness of America’s current space program, but is confident that one day — even if it’s a distant day — we’ll return to the moon. As Apollo 17’s 40th anniversary approached, he spoke with Time:  

On the public’s enduring fascination with the lunar astronauts: One of the things I’ve observed is that almost none of the questions I get pertain to the technology. People don’t ask about how fast you were going through the perilune or the apolune when you were entering the shadow. No one cares. The questions people have are about the humanity of the experience. What did it feel like? How did you sleep? Were you scared? They also want to know about the experience of taking my first step on the moon. I say it was important to me and it’s mine and no one can take it away. But the memorable steps were the last ones.

On feelings of faith and his belief in God: What I saw as I looked at the Earth from the moon was that it was all too beautiful to have happened by accident. This could not have been the result of two dust particles coming together. I wanted to do grab that crescent Earth, put it in my spacesuit and take it home and show it to people. Looking up at the Earth, I had the sense that I was sitting on God’s front porch.

(PHOTOS: Pictures From Apollo 17)

On having fun on the moon: We spent three hard days working and we had a mission to accomplish. I was aware of what could happen if I fell down and my suit tore or if the engine didn’t light, but we didn’t live under an umbrella of fear. What we were always conscious of was the environment. We’re digging trenches and core samples and taking pictures of that magnificent desolation — the mountains surrounding us were higher than the grand canyon is deep. Jack [Schmitt, lunar module pilot] did a great job, but he’s a lunar geologist. He was in that test tube much of the time. I had to say to to him, “Jack, take a time out. You owe it to yourself to look over your shoulder at where you are.”

On the near-disaster of Apollo 13: Jim [Lovell, Apollo 13 commander] and I are still very close and I was with him in Chicago not long ago. I talk to Jim about the 13 experience and even I have a hard time grasping what those guys had to go through. Post-Apollo 13 I went back out to the moon and the only thing I could do was put the dangers out of my mind. One thing I know though: People like to say failure was not an option, but you know what? Failure was an option. Failure was very much on the table. I was in the simulator trying to figure out how they could fire the service propulsion [main] engine without making the whole ship go ass over tea kettle. But again we just trained ourselves not to think about the danger.

On reacclimating to life on Earth: You get back home and everything’s normal. I was living on the moon for 72 hours and then here I was now back in this real world. I’d often ask myself, Did what I think happened really happen? I was in the space program for 13 years and it was like someone just cut those years from my life, put me in a different world — literally in the case of Apollo 17 — and then sent me back to my original world. It’s almost like you’ve lived two different lives

On the uniqueness of astronauts: We’re really just the tip of the spear—the Armstrongs and the Shepards and the Glenns and the Lovells. We represented the people who sent us. It’s important to remember that everyone who went to the moon came home to talk about it. That says something about who we are as a nation and what we can do. That’s why as long as we’re still around, we have a responsibility to keep young kids inspired.

MORE: Last Man on the Moon, 40 Years Later: A Dream Abandoned

32 comments
Globalls
Globalls like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

33m:12h:734739d is our global date now. 

See the party in the next 3days on 742 or 734742d.

Nasas
Nasas like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

@Globalls  

On 1464742d after healing strengthening our Earth then we are ready to go to the nearest moon. 

It is said: 

All humans activities are to make better human's Quality as the near human's destinations.

BeSee
BeSee like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

See it just likes making new actual holy manuscripts which are more relevant more wise more holy than the primitive irrelevant korans.

Prophets are Not coming just from the past stories in the static books.

Real New Prophets are real alive on this days too.

If only in the past then the islamic prophets with its egoistic islam are Wrong Not Real but just Lies by their selfish arabian egos to survive theirs without the other truth.

It is better to muslims to be Atheist rather than living in Lies by the sorrowful dead islamic story from the wrong arabian past lives.

Abdulla
Abdulla like.author.displayName 1 Like

@BeSee  

The loud islam spoil the peaceful nature. 

See even their Allah feel boring about the static loud islam. 

The solution is simple: Don't Disturb Each Other.

How about the primitive islam is wrong at all? Big shames to muslims. 

For the responsibility for the past wrong islam: 

Creators terminate islam the static past islamic egos that is the end in islam. 

Violent loud muslims with noisy mosques make enemies only Not Friends. 

Now all the enemies attack muslims to destroy the sinful evil selfish islam. 

Time to revenge the violence which islam did in so many nations. 

All Human Beings Gladly Crucify islam. 

Do muslims feel the Newphobia now? 

Don't say Israelphobia. 

Survey your nations. 

Visit: 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/88544725@N06/ (Survey Global) 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/88055981@N08/ (Survei Kehidupan)

Globalls
Globalls like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

@BeSee 

From Arabs: 

We are All Muslims Apologize for the sinful islamic egos also ready to make the responsibility to all victims at all nations which are suffered by islamic violence.

moha
moha

@BeSee  Who are you people? 

AllahHolymore
AllahHolymore like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

@moha @BeSee 

Allah Holymore is her name. 

Can human have a name from the 3 legal alphabets A+l+l+a+h? 

Yes, it is legal holy.

Abdulla
Abdulla like.author.displayName 1 Like

@AllahHolymore @moha @BeSee  

Those are just words to name things Not the things. 

So No Problems. 

Too much associated with the words blind muslims cannot see the other truth. 

Too deep associated with something will reduce the others before being radicals when lose it. 

That is why they feel burning all muslims when burning islam when burning korans. 

muslims burn our embassies our flags. 

we burn their embassies their islamic flags too. 

This is the world without comma.

Holyword
Holyword like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@AllahHolymore @moha @BeSee 

What word is holy or more holy than the others? 

Do muslims think the i+s+l+a+m is holy more than the other words? 

Look the arabian dog's name is islam the poor local dog. 

Once before the arabian king's pet's name was islam. 

It is a shame to muslims feel holy about i+s+l+a+m as their new Allah. 

Our holy words are America factory mines technology Dollar Plutonium aircraft submarine Earth Atmosphere Water also burger & sex to make the real holy lives. 

All muslims are fooled by the poor islamic story about A+l+l+a+h. 

It is so shameful to muslims as dull slaves for islam. 

So pitiful muslims.

Apology
Apology like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

@BeSee

Everyone can be a prophet with the real actual relevant visions for good future Humans & Nature.

Cybero
Cybero like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

@BeSee 

What they made kill their selves. 

See islam kill muslims after being trapped in their dead islam before death. 

Pitiful. 

GNet
GNet like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 5 Like

The earth is not holy but going to the moon is holy. 

What is holy? 

Killing people kids women slavery are legal & holy in the name of islam? 

Those are the crimes legalized by islamic egos they call holy. 

Nothing is holy also islam is sinful caused by its islamic egos. 

Nobody is innocent also islam is sinful caused by its islamic egos. 

None is more holy.

Nasas
Nasas like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@GNet  

On 1464742d after healing strengthening our Earth then we are ready to go to the nearest moon. 

It is said: 

All humans activities are to make better human's Quality as the near human's destinations.

 

moha
moha like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

@GNet  

True. 

That is the islamic egos from the selfish dead prophets who want to revive forever. 

It is your Real Active Lives Not the dead past static story. 

So muslims Wake Up!! Exit from the dead past islamic story!! 

Your real current lives are always Different Not inside the past islamic story. 

Like AppleTime said: 

There is No same apple. Two mean Different by the two existances.
 

Apollogy
Apollogy like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

@GNet 

Now the small moon the dead kaaba the arabian words become their new Allah for stubborn arrogant muslims to be punished by the jealous Allah in the islamic story. 

Holyword
Holyword like.author.displayName 1 Like

@Apollogy @GNet 

What word is holy or more holy than the others? 

Do muslims think the i+s+l+a+m is holy more than the other words? 

Look the arabian dog's name is islam the poor local dog. 

It is so shameful to muslims as dull slaves for islam.

So pitiful muslims.

moha
moha like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

@Apollogy @GNet  

If your islamic Allah can feel jealous angry sentimental emotional which are the human's feelings then your islamic Allah is Human just the past local arabian words from the dead prophets that had been Dead with their responsibilities to be all muslim's responsibilities to change the wrong egoistic irrelevant islam. 

That is the proof that your jealous Allah is Human the jealous local arab's writing in korans we reproduce them by the paper factory.

Holyword
Holyword like.author.displayName 1 Like

@moha @Apollogy @GNet 

Abdullah Bin Dulliz:

"..What word is holy or more holy than the others? 

Do muslims think the i+s+l+a+m is holy more than the other words? 

..The arabian king's pet's name is islam.. 

It is so shameful to muslims as dull slaves for islam.."

Visios
Visios like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

@GNet 

How laws punish the true people? 

To hide the sinful islam muslims punish the true people? 

The guilty fault is the wrong law itself to be destroyed as the punishment by Creators. 

See the sinful selfish islam will be punished by Creators. 

Eliminate islam so all don't have to kill muslims.

Abdulla
Abdulla like.author.displayName 1 Like

@Visios @GNet  

If a law punishes innocent people then the guilty fault is the wrong law itself and every wrong law every wrong rule Must Be Punished by Destroying the wrong law or the wrong rule itself.

History Law are Never Perfect because they are created from imperfections.
That is why a Law can be destroyed as the punishment if the law is wrong imperfect or irrelevant. 

That is why for the active truth a law an history cannot be static shut in its dead imperfections but must open to accept the new actual truth & wisdom to become more perfect. 

The same with the sinful violent egoistic islam cannot avoid the punishment from Creators. 

Creators eliminate islam because islam is irrelevant static unrealistic brings so many conflicts violence by the stubborn loud egoistic islam make crazy lazy muslims for nothing. 

The fantasy story's imaginations from the wrong egoistic islams are the empty hope from the wrong past imperfections at the islamic hell deserts with its evil arabs to be destroyed to bring the new better future for more perfections. 


Apollogy
Apollogy like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

@Visios @GNet 

Allah said: 

"..I create islam. I have my authority to end islam my creation your past sorrowful human's imaginations. Do you obey my real direct voices? You muslims must Terminate islam which imprisons all so let the peace to your heart to make peace on your Earth.." 

All arabs apologize for the sinful egoistic islam the garbage culture from our primitive past wrong shallow imaginations on our arabian hell deserts. 

Visit: 

http://afghanistan.blogs.cnn.com/2011/08/26/ireporter-photos-afghan-women/ 

http://sacrificeislam.blogspot.com/ 

http://arab-apologize.blogspot.com/ 

Pluton
Pluton like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

@GNet  

Don't work but just pray 100 times everyday in front of Tsunami before muslims are Dead in Death illness poverty weakness.

TrueTime
TrueTime like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

@GNet From ILO.org: 

islam makes lazy bad mood workers all negative spirits by their loud sorrow mosques. 

islam steals the public time 5 times everyday for nothing just to feel holy at public. 

All people can pray when walking standing or sitting every second everywhere. 

So stupid useless islam the unproductive things do problems by ruling the natural truth. 

Just Eliminate islams.

Abdulla
Abdulla like.author.displayName 1 Like

@TrueTime @GNet   

Okay we are sorry about the unfair islamic propaganda. 

We all providers gladly to stop the islamic propaganda on all public medias. 

All public medias Must be Neutral without Discriminations.
 

Apollogy
Apollogy like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

@TrueTime @GNet 

True. 

All nations have so many problems caused by the stubborn loud islam. 

muslims are useless unproductive just loud praying 5 times everyday show to feel holy on public before begging money by loud violence in the name of islamic ego. 

islam cause unproductive lazy temper stubborn crazy unrealistic muslims without logic. 

Can islam exist without humans without money without the Earth Nature? 

So be it. 

Terminate islam. 

Egoistic islam only revives stubborn violence conflicts problems endless wars as same as their cursed arabian hell nations. 

It is better to muslims to become Atheists which are universal more free.

WPress
WPress like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 5 Like

@GNet Agree.

Dull islam is their own curse for the stubborn muslims. 

Cursed islam will turn muslims go back to its hell arabian deserts.

Cursed story by egoistic islam will scar muslims like the endless wars on arabian lands. 

yale_s
yale_s

Cernan's comments on religion should be given the same credibility (none) as his birther nonsense about our president:

“I don’t think he fully understands what traditional America is all about, because he didn’t literally grow up here"

"I don’t know that he wants America to be first"

"I don’t think he understands what America and what the traditions have been, and what being the leader of the free world has meant to the people of this country. It goes downhill."

It is a shame that the last man on the Moon has so lost his way.

Abdulla
Abdulla like.author.displayName 1 Like

@yale_s  

They make it up. 

So stupid experiments with the same predictable tests are useless. 

Apology
Apology like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

@yale_s

From Secular Saudis: 

Atheism exists before islam or without islam.

Algae Animals exist before islam or without dead static islam.

Humans exist before islam or without arabian islamic words. 

Universes exist forever before islam or without islamic egos.

To live embryos Never need islam or without islamic voices. 

Life first before islam or without sorrowful past islam.

Can islam exist without humans without money without the Earth Nature?

So be it.

Cybero
Cybero like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

@yale_s 

They are semi Christian semi Buddhist semi Hindus. 

They combine essences to make more perfect new religions. 

Christianity with Holy Cross as 2 bridges like Cartesian Cross for positioning directions. 

Buddhist with Silent Meditation to heal also to feel all connections within Nature. 

Hindus with The 3 Main Universal Activities: Create & Modify & Destruct. 

Just like Gandhi said as the new actual wisdom. 

Apollogy
Apollogy like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

@Cybero @yale_s  

Those can make a new relevant religion by all actual dynamic new wisdoms everyday in this actual reality. 

Holy Wisdoms are active coming from everything everywhere every second every breath. 

For the embryos feel their mother's heart beats as the holy voices as one body inside. 

For the children accept the good Pinocchio as the holy figure for hopes for wishes for lives. 

Many scientists make the holy technology & its universal truth to sustain lives as their religions. 

So what is Holy for you? That is your own Heaven.