Last man to walk on the moon, Gene Cernan, passes away at 82

January 16, 2017 (AP) — Gene Cernan, the retired U.S. astronaut who was the last man to walk on the moon, has died at the age of 82.

NASA announced that Cernan died Monday surrounded by his family. NASA spokesman Bob Jacobs confirmed the death but had no immediately details.

Cernan and Apollo 17 crewmate Harrison Schmitt spent three days on the moon in December 1972. As he followed Schmitt into the lunar lander for the return home, he offered a message of “peace and hope for all mankind.” He also traced the initials of his 9-year-old daughter into the dust of the lunar surface.

Cernan also took part in a Gemini spaceflight in 1965 and in Apollo 10, the last mission before the one that put Neil Armstrong on the moon in July 1969.

In all, Cernan was in space for 566 hours and 15 minutes, about 73 hours of which was on the moon.

Neil Armstrong, Gene Cernan, astronauts, 2007
Former astronaut Neil Armstrong, left, is congratualted by fellow ex-astronaut Gene Cernan following the dedication ceremony of the Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., Saturday, Oct. 27, 2007. Armstrong, a Purdue alum, became the first man to walk on the Moon in 1969. Cernan, also a Purdue alum, was the last person to walk on the Moon.

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