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Published on Jan 19, 2017
An obituary to Eugen Cernan of Gemini 9A, Apollo 10 and Apollo 17.
While I do not believe he went to the Moon, never mind went there twice, I have always admired Cernan for his near death experience aboard Gemini 9. He was tasked with spacewalking to the rear of the spacecraft, assembling a rocket pack, and then taking it for the test drive. But the lack of gravity and hand rails made the simplest tasks extraordinarily difficult. He was sweaty profusely and was on the brink of passing out or dying.
That near death experience compelled NASA to rethink their EVA training and ultimately led to NASA training astronauts in underwater tanks and putting handrails on the outside of their spacecrafts. Cernan always believed that Gemini 9 was a failure. But ultimately, I think it was perhaps NASA's biggest learning experience. Cernan ultimately took a hit for all mankind so those following in his footsteps wouldn't have to.
I never met Cernan personally, but I did watch him from afar when he came to Australia last year for the premiere of the Last Man On The Moon documentary, based on his book of the same name. No video recording of the event was permitted. But I secretly recorded some audio on my Blackberry. During the Q&A session, where only a few pre-selected questions - mostly from children - were asked, Cernan twice made this odd statement (with pauses): "I didn't go to the Moon.... not to come home" http://moonfaker.com/audio/Cernan-I-d...