48th Anniversary of Apollo 17: The Cosmosphere’s Cernan Statue
December 7, 2020
Pieces of this blog were originally published in the summer of 1998 in SPACE.COM, a quarterly publication for members and friends of the Cosmosphere.
This bronze statue, which was commissioned by Chris and Jack Harris originally of Hutchinson, features astronaut Gene Ceman, the last human to touch lunar soil, beginning to climb the ladder to the Lunar Module. His left arm is raised and pointing upward, indicating that we should continue to explore the far reaches of space.
SpaceWorks, a division of the Cosmosphere, made the spacesuit and Garland Weeks, an artist from Texas, made the mold from that spacesuit. The statue, which is slightly larger than life-size, was cast at House Bronze in Lubbock, Texas. The bronze footprints were created from the actual molds used to make the boots for the Apollo spacesuits.
The statue even contains actual pieces of Apollo 17. Several gold wires from the Apollo 17 command module were put in the molten bronze. The one-of-a-kind statue is installed near the front entrance of the Cosmosphere, where it is on permanent public display.
"As I take Man's last step from the surface...I'd like to say what I believe history will record. That American's challenge of today has forged Man's destiny of tomorrow. And, as we leave the Moon...we leave as we came, and God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all Mankind. Godspeed the crew of Apollo 17." – Apollo 17 astronaut Eugene A. Cernan, last human to touch the Moon
Cernan was a NASA astronaut from 1963-1976 and flew on Gemini 9, Apollo 10 and Apollo 17, the last manned flight to the Moon.
Don't miss these other Apollo 17 artifacts on display in our Apollo Gallery:
- Ear Mold, flown
- Urine Transfer System, flown
- Life Vest Kit, flown
- Evans Spacesuit, helmet, gloves, umbilical, flown
- Autographed Camera Magazine, flown
- Cameras, flown
- Lunar Rover Fenders, flown
- "Fender Lovin' Care" painting by astronaut Alan Bean
Pictured below: The Cernan statue being moved into place July 1998.