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Associated Press

Purdue's Cernan last to walk on moon 40 years ago

WEST LAFAYETTE — The last moonwalk occurred 40 years ago, performed by Purdue University grad and Apollo 17 commander Gene Cernan.

Purdue says Cernan holds the distinction of the most recent person to walk on the moon because he was the last person to re-enter the lunar lander 40 years ago today. That concluded the last of three moonwalks with crewmate Harrison Schmitt over three days spent on the lunar surface. The mission collected about 250 pounds of soil samples and moon rocks and took scientific measurements.

Cernan graduated from Purdue in 1956 with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. He was one of 14 astronauts selected by NASA in 1963 and he made three space flights.

Purdue says the Chicago native donated his personal papers to the university's flight archives in 2009.