In 1972, Charles Duke spent nearly three days on the surface of the moon. Before he left, Duke placed a snapshot of his family on the ground and left it there. He also brought back the 26-pound rock known as Big Muley, the biggest moon rock ever brought to Earth.
The Apollo Image Archive showed a photo of an unusual family portrait on the moon He was left in lunar soil by astronaut Charles Duke, in April 1972.
At 36 years old, Duke became the tenth and youngest astronaut to walk on the moon by the Apollo 16 mission. The astronaut made the photo plasticized hoping that some form of extraterrestrial life might find the picture someday. He also left a medal made by the U.S. Air Force in his honor.
The picture shows astronaut with his wife Dorothy and two sons, Thomas and Charles. Behind the picture there is a message that says “This is the family of Astronaut Duke from Planet Earth, which was the Moon in April 1972.”
|Duke describes training for the missions as “arduous”
The Apollo 16 mission was the fifth manned mission to land on the moon, the first to land on the hill and the tenth of the Apollo Program. It was composed of three crew members: John Young, the commander, Thomas ‘Ken’ Mattingly, command module pilot, and Charles Duke, lunar module pilot.
The photograph has remained in lunar soil 40 years ago. The image shows that the portrait was unveiled by American design that works as a Google Street lunar surface. The picture is also in the Museum of Natural History in New York.
|Duke (L) spent hours training with John Young in an
Earthbound replica of the lunar rover
Inducted into Nasa’s astronaut class of 1966, Duke describes the training he went through as “arduous”.
He was the voice of mission control during the first Moon landing three years later, an unbearably tense affair in which astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin approached the ground in a spindly lunar module which some people doubted could land safely at all.
“In the final moments, we were running out of fuel,” Mr Duke explains.
“Due to the fact that our guidance had not been correct, we had targeted him (lunar module pilot Armstrong) into a big field of boulders. So he had to overfly that, which took an extensive amount of fuel.”
Rarely, he recalls, mission control was shrouded in silence until Buzz Aldrin’s voice came in over the comms: “Contact, engine stop.”
“We knew they were on the Moon. A few moments later, Neil Armstrong said: ‘Houston, Tranquility Base, here. The Eagle has Landed,” says Duke.