Tuesday, 17 January 2017

The Last Man on the Moon.


Capt. Eugene Andrew "Gene" Cernan, veteran of the Gemini and Apollo programs, died today in Houston.

In December 1972, as commander of Apollo 17, he was the last man to return to the lunar module.


Ever since, generations of spacemen/women from other countries have joined the American and Soviet/Russian pioneers, without touching, however, other alien worlds. In our times of mediocrity, men like Capt. Cernan remind us that our species once did boldly go where no man had gone before.

It remains to be seen whether we can repeat that.


Image Credits:
[A] "Eugene Cernan, December 1971". Source: Wikimedia. File in the public domain.
[B] Capt. Cernan in December 1972. Author: Dr. Harrison Schmitt (Apollo 17 crew member). Source: Wikimedia. File in the public domain.


  1. I think we should firmly oppose manned space exploration until we overcome our socioeconomic disease here on earth. Given the motives of oligarchy, what possible future could the Moon or Mars have beyond a mining site for multinational corporations?

  2. Jim,

    That's a clear possibility. Research funded by the State ends up being used by corporations.

    Should the State stop funding research altogether?

  3. I'm all for research if it's likely to benefit the real interests of people. The manned space mission has always been tightly linked, though, to the military and commercial exploitation. I say we hold off from manned missions in our solar system until we develop the wisdom to do it for noble reasons.


  4. I'm all for research if it's likely to benefit the real interests of people.

    How can one know beforehand the implications of a given research?

    From the discovery of the means to light fire to the discovery of bacteria by Antony Van Leeuwenhoek, some people benefit and some people lose, some applications are peaceful, some are not. Newton's laws are behind ballistics and civil engineering.

    The discovery of bacteria opened the doors for both modern medicine and bacteriological warfare. Some people benefitted, other people suffered (and millions more may still suffer if weaponised bacteria are employed in a real war).

    Who speaks for the people and their interests and on whose authority?


    I think this reluctance to embrace change, evolution, because it involves risk, difficulty, pain may still lead our civilisation to collapse or our species to extinction.

    We cannot try socialism, because it's risky. We must stick to what's "doable".

    What if we try to minimise climate change and it turns out we can't?

    We better stick to what we have: at least it's safe. And we safely, predictably, go straight to catastrophic climate change, biodiversity loss, increasing inequality.

    There are always plenty of good reasons to do nothing, to avoid change. This may well be a case of terminal conservatism.

  5. I'm strongly in favor of radical change. Just think the radical change needs to take place before we expand beyond Mother Earth.