Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, has died

NASA has revealed that retired astronaut Eugene "Gene" Cernan, the last many to walk on the moon, has passed away at the age of 82. Born in Chicago in 1934, Cernan went on to become one of 14 astronauts NASA selected in 1963. His career was long and varied, and included serving as a pilot for the Gemini IX mission, a backup pilot for Gemini 12, and a backup lunar module pilot for Apollo 7.

Perhaps most notable among Cernan's NASA career was his role as spacecraft commander for the Apollo 17, the US's last manned moon mission. Cernan holds distinction as the last man to step on the moon. According to NASA, he ultimately spent more than 73 hours of his career on the moon's surface, and logged more than 566 hours in space.

By late 1973, Cernan had taken on Special Assistant duties at the Johnson Space Center. NASA notes that in addition to being the last man to walk on the moon, Cernan was also one of two men who traveled to the moon twice, and 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."

Cernan went on to retire from the U.S. Navy and cut ties with NASA in the summer of 1976. Later on in 1981, Cernan started his own company called the Cernan Corporation, and he became Chairman of the Board for Johnson Engineering Corporation. The circumstances of Cernan's passing are not clear at this time.