The last man to walk on the moon has revealed how he left his camera behind on the lunar surface 40 years ago, only to find that no one went back to collect it for him.
Speaking ahead of the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 17 launch today he said: “I left my Hasselblad camera there with the lens pointing up at the zenith, the idea being someday someone would come back and find out how much deterioration solar cosmic radiation had on the glass.
“So, going up the ladder, I never took a photo of my last footstep. How dumb! Wouldn’t it have been better to take the camera with me, get the shot, take the film pack off and then (for weight restrictions) throw the camera away?”
Back in 1972, Cernan, 78, thought his voyage “wasn’t the end but the beginning” for manned exploration of the Moon, and believed an astronaut would have set foot on Mars by the end of the century.
Instead, NASA’s budget began to decline and three further missions planned to follow Cernan’s crew were scrapped, bringing an end to the “golden age” of space flight.
Credit: Nick Collins, Science Correspondent for The Telegraph