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Watch the Trailer for “The Last Man on the Moon”

Gene Cernan on the Moon during the final EVA of the Apollo 17 mission, Dec. 13, 1972 (NASA/JSC scan)

Gene Cernan on the Moon during the final EVA of the Apollo 17 mission, Dec. 13, 1972 (NASA)

On December 14, 1972, at about 5:40 a.m. GMT, Apollo 17 astronaut Eugene Andrew “Gene” Cernan returned to the lunar module Challenger after the end of the third mission EVA to join Harrison “Jack” Schmitt, completing nearly two and a half days of surface operations within the Taurus-Littrow site and officially becoming the last human to set foot upon the lunar surface. No one has returned since, and to this day the 80-year-old Cernan still holds the title of “last man on the Moon.”

If that’s not the perfect setup for a documentary film, I don’t know what is. Luckily for us there’s one in the works.

“The Last Man on the Moon,” from UK-based Mark Stewart Productions, tells the story of Gene Cernan and his accomplishments against the backdrop of the Apollo era, when superpowers competed for dominance in space and hotshot flyboys became international heroes. With firsthand accounts from Cernan himself and his family, along with several other astronauts and NASA celebrities, it’s an emotional and intimate account of America’s last lunar voyage.

Watch the trailer below:

According to IMDB the 99-minute documentary directed by Mark Craig is slated for release in the UK (and hopefully U.S.!) sometime this year, although an exact date isn’t listed. There have been advance screenings very recently, at some of which Cernan was present for Q&A sessions. Some viewers are calling it “the best space documentary they have seen” so needless to say I’m pretty excited about it!

You can keep up with the status of the film (and see some exclusive astronaut photos) by liking the Facebook page here and joining the mailing list on the official site.

And yes, we do need more films like this.

“I really wanted to reach out, stick it in my spacesuit and bring it home and show it to everybody: this is what it feels like.
– Gene Cernan

Earth over the LM seen from the Apollo 17 landing site (NASA/JSC scan)

Earth over the LM seen from the Apollo 17 landing site (NASA/JSC scan)

Video © Mark Stewart Productions. All rights reserved.

About 

A graphic designer in Rhode Island, Jason writes about space exploration on his blog Lights In The Dark, Discovery News, and, of course, here on Universe Today. Ad astra!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Max Fagin May 20, 2014, 9:42 PM

    I wish people wouldn’t use the phrase “Last Man On the Moon”. Cernan was the “MOST RECENT Man on the Moon”. If we call him the last man on the moon, then it’s a self fulfilling prophecy!

    • Jim E May 21, 2014, 6:48 PM

      “Last” does not necessarily mean “final”. We say “last week”, not “most recent week”.

    • grega May 21, 2014, 7:42 PM

      It would only be a self fulfilling prophecy if reading the title changed people’s attitudes so they would not try to go again.

  • MarsFKA May 21, 2014, 1:27 AM

    For too many of my generation, Cernan was indeed the last man on the Moon. In 1969, America had the Moon in its hands and the door to the solar system was wide open.
    Then, in the instant of its greatest triumph, that nation turned its back on everything it had won. The tax-paying public, with an attention span barely long enough to make it to the next commercial break, enjoyed a brief, exhilarating moment of patriotic euphoria when Armstrong made the one small step, then started to lose interest even as Apollo 11 splashed down.
    Against such monumental lack of interest, Apollo and any follow-up interplanetary flights never stood a chance.
    I wonder if Cernan will live to see the next human make the one small step. I hope so.

    • MSelman May 22, 2014, 5:30 AM

      One cannot solely peg the cancellation of Apollo solely on public apathy. One main cause was the nation’s leader, President Richard Nixon, who did not share the same enthusiasm for human spaceflight as you and I and a lot of people during the time. In fact, he indicated some desire cancel American human spaceflight entirely. Luckily, someone convinced him to at least keep the shuttle, to save face, his adviser said along the lines of: “what would the world think of us if we stopped doing these things?” Just because some big TV stations decided not to broadcast some missions live all the time, didn’t mean that people lost interest, the missions were becoming routine. People just looked forward for the next big thing to come.

      There was a lot of excitement during the time, certainly there were a lot of people having high hopes of affordable access to space. The space shuttle was seen as the key. Hark, during one lunar mission, an astronaut said on the moon, “yeah, the nation needs the shuttle, bad.” With the projected flight costs of the shuttle at the time, it could have, in theory, accomplished much grander things than the Saturn V had done. Indeed, the shuttle did accomplish a lot, it built a space station, which what it was built for after all, but it could’t bring down launch costs. It was simply too complex and needed extensive refurbishment and maintenance after every flight. Some disappointed spaceflight enthusiasts wondered if keeping the Saturn V would have been a wiser decision.

      Hindsight is 20/20.

      The Constellation program promised a return to the moon, but was badly bogged down with a poor choice of launch vehicles, and also costed more than anticipated. And committing to “Apollo on steroids” with essentially Apollo technology on a fraction of the Apollo program budget, simply couldn’t happen.

      What would be required is a modular, partially reusable landing system, perhaps making some use of ion propulsion to deliver the lander from low earth orbit to lunar orbit, and even a momentum exchange tethers to toss the lander out of lunar orbit to begin decent. A momentum exchange tether could theoretically pick up a lunar lander from the surface and place it back into lunar orbit, without using propellant. Anything to minimize launch mass would be essential.

      To peak interest, any new system will need to be less costly than anything proposed and enacted before, affordable enough for even well healed to partake in a geologic expedition.We’d need a lunar landing system that would enable the agency to carry missions that would have little to no impact on its Mars pursuits. Whenever that happens, it’ll be awesome to see.

  • PrometheusOnTheLoose May 21, 2014, 2:03 AM

    They should be showing it in theaters in the USA, to show people what they are missing. Why we do not have a rover like curiosity on the moon is above and beyond me. Also, the Moon would make a far better space station than anything we could build on Mars, it has low escape velocity, and raw materials.
    Granted, the station would have to be underground to limit radiation exposure, but lava tubes exist on the moon. NASA has been thinking short term instead of long term. Hopefully they will come to their senses after the first euphoria of having landed a man on Mars.

    • Windfall May 21, 2014, 10:54 AM

      I doubt they could muster enough interest in the general public unfortunately. Can’t really blame anyone but ourselves (our culture/society) for that one though.

      As for the moon station, would it have to be underground? Isn’t the station itself pretty much fully exposed? I’m not suggesting the protection wouldn’t be greater if it were underground, but doesn’t seem necessary at the same time. The cost of building the facility – at least, a preliminary one – would likely be cheaper keeping it on the surface using existing technology than having to learn some more serious space construction. I’m spit-balling this so I could absolutely be wrong in my own assumptions. Just seems more likely that any base that was even partially underground would come after the base that helped us learn those techniques.

  • SteveZodiac May 21, 2014, 4:55 AM

    Looks good , look forward to seeing it soon.

  • tiny_soyuztma May 21, 2014, 5:38 AM

    I fascinated how US people still nurture the myth that somebody was on the Moon…

    • PiperKev May 21, 2014, 7:09 AM

      You’re joking, right?

      • Windfall May 21, 2014, 10:47 AM

        Me thinks not. Perhaps tiny_ can give us an articulate reason why he thinks we faked the moon landing in light of so much evidence to suggest we most certainly did land there?

        • AsdefGhjk May 22, 2014, 5:55 PM

          Judging by his nickname, I guess he’s a Russian, and therefore jealous of the US manned moon landings, which leads his defensive systems to deny those landings. Very easy for haters of US to give in to all sorts of conspiracy crap.

  • UFOsMOTHER May 21, 2014, 6:45 AM

    When I was 19 years old Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the Moon, At that time I was thinking that we would be on Mars in about 10 years and have permanent bases on the Moon, what a letdown, I am now 65 and am still waiting for a man or woman to put another footprint there, All the money spent on wars on Earth could have made my dreams come true and the knowledge gained by being there would be well worth the costs,why aren’t we there? and when are we going back? if ever……

    • Windfall May 21, 2014, 10:38 AM

      Your (and most of ours on the site) dreams could have come true with a fraction of what our military wastes on an annual basis. Add in all that war money and we could have far exceeded those dreams and so many others. Alas, space science doesn’t exactly make many people money, wars do.

  • Nirizujafo May 25, 2014, 7:59 PM

    Cernan’s book is motivational. He is a great role model for anyone with the drive to succeed in life.

    I heard him say in a radio interview many years ago that he was a test pilot when he first heard about the astronaut program. Knowing that the competition to get into the program would be stiff from other test pilots, he devised a plan that would make him a standout.

    He got an engineering degree. His plan worked. He had made himself so attractive that NASA could not reject him based on his qualifications.

    I hope this inspiring story comes out in the film.

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