Daily Archives: 22nd February

Time on the Moon

I was surprised to find that the amount of time spent on the Moon by Neil Armstrong and “Buzz” Aldrin on the Apollo 11 mission was really quite small when compared with the time spent by astronauts on subsequent Apollo missions.

Only 12 people (all men, unfortunately) have ever set foot on the Moon. The person to spend the most time on the Moon is Gene Cernan, the commander of the Apollo 17 mission. He left the Apollo lander before the Apollo 17 Lunar Module pilot, NASA geologist Harrison Schmitt, and re-entered the lander after Schmitt. He is therefore also the last person to set foot on the Moon, all the way back in 1972.

Gene Cernan cruising the lunar surface in the lunar rover

Cernan also co-holds (with Thomas Stafford and John Young) the record for the fastest speed achieved by a human being, as the Apollo 10 probe on which he was a passenger reached a speed of 11.1 kilometres per second (24 790 mph) on its return to Earth after orbiting the Moon. The Apollo 10 Command Module is now on display at the Science Museum in London.