Youngest Astronaut to Walk on Moon Left Family Photo on Lunar Surface During Apollo 16 Mission

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By IBTimes Staff Reporter | February 14, 2013 12:25 AM EST

Former NASA astronaut Charles Duke, identified as the youngest person to walk on the Moon, left a family photograph which reportedly lies in the lunar surface 40 years after the expedition.

The Apollo 16 mission which was launched on April 16, 1972 from Kennedy space center in Florida was set to explore the Moon's Descartes Highlands in a Lunar Roving Vehicle during which Lunar Module pilot Charlie Duke and Command Module pilot John Young stepped on the moon's surface.

According to Daily Mail, Duke left a family photograph of his two sons - Thomas and Charles - sitting on a bench with him and his wife. His family signed the photograph before he set out for the expedition with the message: "This is the family of Astronaut Duke from Planet Earth. Landed on the Moon, April 1972." 

The report said that before setting up the solar Wind Collector, Duke with the help of a Hasselblad camera took the image of his family photograph and placed it beside his footprint on the lunar surface. Along with the photograph, he also left a commemorative medal issued by the US Air Force which was celebrating its 25th anniversary the same year.  

Apollo 16, which was the tenth manned mission in the US Apollo space programme, the fifth to land on the Moon and the first to land in the lunar highlands, was commanded by Young and Ken Mattingly. 

After the mission Duke, who was then 36 years old, was known as the 'tenth and youngest human to walk on the Moon'. 

Narrating his experience on stepping over the moon surface Duke said, 'Fantastic! Oh, that first foot on the lunar surface is super! 

Duke and Young spent almost three days on the Moon's surface which included 20 hours and 14 minutes of three extra vehicular activities. During their mission they collected approximately 95.8 kg of lunar sample and brought it to earth.

The image was unearthed in the Project Apollo Image Archive, which serves as an online reference source and repository of digital images pertaining to the historic manned lunar landing programme, reported ANI.

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