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Only 10 other people -- all American astronauts -- had done so before and none since.For three days, the moon was home for Cernan and Schmitt."Forever more, I would belong to the universe".Cernan was 38 years old when he blasted off for the moon on Dec. 7, 1972, as commander of Apollo 17 . With Ronald Evans orbiting above in the command module, Cernan and Harrison Schmitt, a geologist, rode the lunar lander to the moon's surface four days later.The size 10-1/2 boot prints that Cernan made on his walk back to the module afterward marked the last steps man has taken on the moon.In a 2007 interview for NASA's oral history program, Cernan recalled his final moments before climbing back in the lander.Apollo 17 was Cernan's last flight as an astronaut after 566 hours and 15 minutes in space.In 1969, Cernan was the pilot of the Apollo 10 lunar module that came within 9.6 miles (15.6 km) of the moon's surface after separating from the command module.
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