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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Eugene Cernan, the most recent person to walk on the moon, was recognized Thursday evening (April 10) during an invitation-only reception at Purdue’s Mackey Arena for donating an Apollo 17 Lunar Roving Vehicle mapbook to the university.

The event was part of a reunion of some of Purdue’s 23 astronaut alumni that will culminate Saturday (April 12) with a free, public forum.

Cernan, a 1956 Purdue graduate, donated his personal papers to the Barron Hilton Flight and Space Exploration Archives in January 2009. He followed up with the donation of the Apollo 17 mapbook this past December, and Thursday’s event will serve as the public announcement.

The maps are mounted in a custom-made book and are accompanied by several contextual documents and photographs. The maps provided the crew with bearings and ranges to each investigation site on the lunar surface during more than 22 hours of exploration.

The Barron Hilton Flight and Space Exploration Archives was established with gifts from Barron Hilton and the Conrad Hilton Foundation. It is part of the Purdue Libraries’ Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections Research Center. In addition to being home to the largest collection of Amelia Earhart papers in the world, the archives include the papers of engineers, aviators, aviation professionals, scholars and alumni astronauts including Neil A. Armstrong and Cernan – the first and last persons to walk on the moon – Jerry Ross, the late Janice Voss and Roy Bridges Jr.

The public forum, titled “A Conversation with Our Astronauts,” featuring seven returning astronauts, will be at 7 p.m. Saturday in Elliott Hall of Music. While free and open to the public, attendees must have tickets, which are available at the box offices in Elliott Hall of Music and Stewart Center or by calling 765-494-3933. Those expected to attend include astronauts Cernan, Mark Brown, Andrew Feustel, Gary Payton, Loren Shriver, Scott Tingle and Charles Walker.

Writer: Jim Bush, 765-494-2077, jsbush@purdue.edu

Source: Tracy Grimm, Barron Hilton Flight and Space Exploration archivist, 765-496-2941, grimm3@purdue.edu