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All Spaced-out or… Kansans in Outer Space! - December 14, 2012

Q: Forty years ago this month, three Americans flew to the Moon as part of Apollo 17, the last manned mission to the Moon. One of the three astronauts was from Kansas. What’s his name? …and where was he born?

Apollo-17 Flickr_NASA-Goddard-Space-Flight-CenterView of the crescent Earth rising above the lunar horizon over the Ritz Crater. Image taken during the Apollo 17 mission on Revolution 66. (Flickr Photo Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)

A: Ron Evans of St. Francis

Ron-Evans KHS

Astronauts-in-Frankfort KHS

Of the three astronauts from Kansas, only one of them has flown to the Moon and back – Ron Evans. He was a member of Apollo 17, the last manned mission to the Moon. Evans piloted the Command Module and orbited the Moon while Commander Eugene Cernan and Lunar Module Pilot Harrison Schmitt conducted experiments and goofed around on the Moon’s surface. Apollo 17 was the 11th and final mission of the Apollo program. It was the sixth mission to land humans on the Moon. Launched on December 7, 1972, this was the first night-time launch for the Apollo program. Evans, Cernan and Schmitt returned to Earth on December 19 after an approximately 12-day mission.

KansasMemoryFun Factoid: Even though it has less than one percent of the nation’s population, Kansas has produced three astronauts so far: Ron Evans, Joe Engle and Steve Hawley. Yes, we’re just that awesome!

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