Science

Apollo 16 Moonwalker is still “excited” in space 50 years later

Retired NASA astronaut Charles Duke speaks with a group of junior high school students at the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia, South Carolina, on Friday, April 29, 2022. Apollo program. Credits: AP Photo / Meg Kinnard

Fifty years after Apollo 16’s mission to the Moon, NASA’s former astronaut Charles Duke states that the United States is ready to return to lunar exploration.


Part of that effort said Friday would come in the form of the Artemis program, which would include NASA’s next flight to the Moon using the new Space Launch System rocket. The first of the giant rockets is to explode without a crew later this year, after which the crew is planned to fly.

“With Artemis, NASA will focus Deep spaceThe moon and beyond, and I’m excited about it, “Duke told The Associated Press in an interview in Colombia.

86-year-old Duke is one of the four moonwalkers who survived the Apollo program and named Apollo 16. Moon surface He is touring to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his voyage, recently visiting the United States Space Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and the penultimate US spacecraft. Mission to land on the moon.

The late John Young first left the lander and walked on the moon with Duke. Ken Mattingly orbited the moon with a command module called “Casper.”

Duke said he wasn’t resenting NASA for ending the Apollo program to focus on the Space Shuttle. International Space Station Other missions in more remote areas of space. But he looks forward to future missions built from what he and others have learned from their time on the Moon. It was called “a great platform for science”.

Apollo 16 Moonwalker still

Retired NASA astronaut Charles Duke arrived at the South Carolina State Museum on Friday, April 29, 2022, and spoke with a group of junior high school students in Columbia, South Carolina. Apollo is planned. Credits: AP Photo / Meg Kinnard

Duke also said he was encouraged by the commercial partnerships that developed around him. Space exploration, Like SpaceX and Blue Origin. Those options “make space available for more people and more science, engineering and unmanned things,” he said.

“That compliment will be really important in the future,” Duke continued. “As more people enter the universe, we can see the beauty of the earth … it will affect many.”

On Friday, Duke visited the South Carolina State Museum in Colombia. The museum has exhibits full of his memorabilia from the moon, including spacesuits, checklists, and moon rocks. The series of placards describes the voyage and also includes a flight map that Duke drew in his childhood math work.

Talk to Middle school students Duke’s eyes shined and narrated a 16-minute planetarium video from his hometown of South Carolina, Lancaster. MoonThe surface of the laughter was drawn, explaining how easy it is to roll and drop things in a low gravity environment.

Apollo 16 Moonwalker is still

Retired NASA astronaut Charles Duke reclines when telling a video of a trip to the Moon for a group of junior high school students at the South Carolina State Museum on Friday, April 29, 2022 at the South Carolina State Museum. A still-living American astronaut walking on the moon during the Apollo program. Credits: AP Photo / Meg Kinnard

“I recommend using all the best of your career as you stick to it at school, stay there, and you continue to grow and mature in your life,” Duke said. I told you. “In my life, I have discovered that there are endless possibilities if you keep raising these antennas, focus on your life, do what you love, and take care of yourself.”

Asked about his continued contribution to the United States space In a program that includes talks with a company trying to win a new lunar rover contract, Duke said he would continue as long as he could.

“I failed to retire,” Duke said with a laugh. “As long as the Lord is willing to give me the ability to do that, I would like to challenge America and challenge my children to reach high goals …. everyone will listen. No, but maybe one or two will. ”


Apollo 16 Moonwalker looks back on the 50th anniversary of the mission


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