Two Wasted Generations


On 20 July, 1969, I got the day off. I was in basic training at Fort Bragg, and the President gave all federal employees (including us ROTC cadets) the day off to watch the Apollo 11 landing. I was 21 years old. I was 24 years old when Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt spent about 75 hours on the Moon during the Apollo 17 mission. I’m 64 years old now, and no one has been back to the moon during my entire working career. Two generations of astronauts have restricted to low earth orbit.

This picture was taken by Cernan as he and Schmitt roamed floor of the Taurus-Littrow Valley. The image shows Schmitt on the left with the lunar rover at the edge of Shorty Crater, near the spot where geologist Schmitt discovered orange lunar soil. The Apollo 17 crew returned with 110 kilograms of rock and soil samples, more than was returned from any of the other lunar landing sites. Cernan and Schmitt are still the last to walk on the Moon.

Image Credit: NASA

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