- Historical event
- 14 December 1972
- On this day in 1972, American astronaut Eugene Cernan made the last human step on the lunar surface. It is interesting that he was actually of Czech and Slovak descent, and his real name was Čerňan, which was Americanized to Cernan.
On this day in 1972, American astronaut Eugene Cernan made the last human step on the lunar surface. He was part of the Apollo 17 mission, the final mission of the Apollo lunar landing program (more were planned, but they were cancelled). Eugene Cernan was the commander of the mission and, on this day, he and Harrison Schmitt finished the last astronaut walk on the lunar surface. Schmitt was first to return in the module for takeoff, and Cernan – now alone on the surface – made a final statement for television:
“…as I take man’s last step on the surface, back home for some time to come – but we believe not too long into the future – I’d like to just (say) what I believe history will record. That America’s challenge of today has forged man’s destiny of tomorrow. And, 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. Godspeed the crew of Apollo 17.”
Interestingly, Eugene Cernan, the last man on the moon, was actually of the Czech and Slovak origin. His mother was Czech and his father Slovak, whose real surname was Čerňan, which was later Americanized to Cernan.