3 Lessons From the Last Man to Visit the Moon Remembering the thrilling life of NASA astronaut Eugene Cernan.

By Nina Zipkin

SSPL | Getty Images

NASA astronaut Eugene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, died this week in his Houston home. He was 82.

At 32 years old, Cernan, a Navy captain and pilot before he joined NASA, became the second American astronaut -- and the youngest -- to walk in space.

He was also the member of a small, select club as one of three people who have traveled to the moon twice. Cernan was the lunar module pilot for the Apollo 10 mission, the "dress rehearsal" that made it possible for the historic moon landing a few months later.

Related: 8 Inspirational Quotes From Space Pioneer John Glenn

His second trip, which established him as the last human to set foot on the moon, was NASA's final lunar mission. Cernan also broke several NASA records on that 1972 mission, including the longest time spent in lunar orbit and the largest collection of lunar samples ever brought back to earth.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said of Cernan's passing, "truly, America has lost a patriot and pioneer who helped shape our country's bold ambitions to do things that humankind had never before achieved."

Read on for three lessons from Cernan's thrilling life.

Related: Buzz Aldrin Wants You to Know -- the Sky Is Not the Limit

1. Don't let fear stand in your way.
The first two times Cernan went to space, things didn't exactly go as planned. That historic spacewalk ended with him literally flying blind. As he made his way back to the spacecraft, a glitch caused his spacesuit to overheat and flood his helmet with fog. And during Apollo 10, at one point the module began to dangerously spin off course.

Scary as these experiences might have been, Cernan did not let them prevent him from commanding that final mission.

2. Be a mentor.
In his remembrance of Cernan, Bolden recalled, "In my last conversation with him, he spoke of his lingering desire to inspire the youth of our nation to undertake the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) studies, and to dare to dream and explore."

The astronaut understood the importance of passing on his wisdom to the next generation.

3. Great achievements come from collaboration.
Cernan famously said as Apollo 17 arrived on the moon: "The Challenger has landed. I'd like to dedicate the first step of Apollo 17 to all those who made it possible." The astronaut knew from hard-won experience that the only way to accomplish big goals was to work together.

Wavy Line
Nina Zipkin

Entrepreneur Staff

Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.

Nina Zipkin is a staff writer at Entrepreneur.com. She frequently covers leadership, media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.

Editor's Pick

A Father Decided to Change When He Was in Prison on His Son's Birthday. Now His Nonprofit Helps Formerly Incarcerated Applicants Land 6-Figure Jobs.
A Teen Turned His Roblox Side Hustle Into a Multimillion-Dollar Company — Now He's Working With Karlie Kloss and Elton John
3 Mundane Tasks You Should Automate to Save Your Brain for the Big Stuff
The Next Time Someone Intimidates You, Here's What You Should Do
5 Ways to Manage Your Mental Health and Regulate Your Nervous System for Sustainable Success

Related Topics

Business News

After Being Told They Could Work From Home Forever, Employees Made Major Life Changes. Then, a New CEO Ordered Them Back to the Office.

Farmers Group CEO Raul Vargas is facing backlash for the change, but he says being in the office brings more "collaboration" and "innovation."

Business Ideas

The 13 Best Jobs for People With ADHD

Want to find the perfect profession as a person with ADHD? Check out this review of the best jobs for people with ADHD if you need ideas.

Growing a Business

The Best Way to Run a Business Meeting

All too often, meetings run longer than they should and fail to keep attendees engaged. Here's how to run a meeting the right way.


Working Remote? These Are the Biggest Dos and Don'ts of Video Conferencing

As more and more businesses go remote, these are ways to be more effective and efficient on conference calls.

Business News

Hedge Fund Pays NYC Interns $20,000 a Month on Average, Sent to Lavish Palm Beach Kickoff

Citadel is known for its over-the-top parties and company retreats.