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Charles Duke, the youngest spaceologist to walk on the Moon at the age of 36, believes that landing humans on Mars in the next big step, and any Indian can do this. Duke is now 83 and recently visited Gyan Vihar University in Jaipur to address the students and share his experiences in space.
The American astronaut said that he along with his two companions landed on the Moon in 1972 via Apollo 16, the 10th manned mission in the US Apollo space programme. It was also the fifth and last to land on the moon, and the first to set foot in the lunar highlands. Duke and his team stayed on the moon for about 20 hours and 15 minutes.
"I completed my education from MIT and then started working in NASA. I got involved with the Apollo programme from the very beginning. During Apollo 11, I was given the responsibility of the control room and was later selected for Apollo 16," he said.
Duke also shared the emotional moment when he first walked on the face of the Moon. He traveled in rocket dubbed "Saturn," and was the youngest scientist to go to Earth's natural satellite. "Whenever I recall those thrilling moments, I become emotional," he said.
Duke shared that the difference of gravity wasn't easy for him and what troubles he faced while on the Moon. Duke only weighed 27 kg and traveled around 5 km at 17 kmph. He also left a picture of his family on the moon for remembrance.
"Maintaining body temperature on the moon was a big challenge and I had to make many efforts to save myself," he said.