Last man to walk on the moon dies aged 82

Gene Cernan logged 566 hours and 15 minutes in space

Last man to walk on the moon dies aged 82

Gene Cernan | Image: NASA

The last man to walk on the moon has died.

NASA astronaut Gene Cernan was 82 years old.

He was one of fourteen astronauts selected by NASA in October 1963, and made several trips to space.

He was the second American to have walked in space, having spanned the circumference of the world twice in a little more than 2-1/2 hours.

He was one of the two men to have flown to the moon on two occasions, and as commander of the last mission to the moon, Apollo 17, had the distinction of being the last man to have left his footprints on the surface of the moon.

On his second space flight in May 1969, he was lunar module pilot of Apollo 10 - the first comprehensive lunar-orbital qualification and verification flight test of an Apollo lunar module.

He made his third space flight as spacecraft commander of Apollo 17 - the last scheduled manned mission to the moon for the United States - on December 6th, 1972.

This was also the first manned nighttime launch.

This last mission to the moon established several new records for manned space flight, including longest manned lunar landing flight of 301 hours and 51 minutes.

Captain Cernan logged 566 hours and 15 minutes in space - of which more than 73 hours were spent on the surface of the moon.

Capt Eugene Cernan is pictured on the moon | Image: NASA

His family say he passed away Monday following ongoing health issues.

"It is with very deep sadness that we share the loss of our beloved husband and father,”Cernan’s 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.

“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".

Heis survived by his wife, Jan Nanna Cernan, his daughter, son-in-law, step-daughters and nine grandchildren.