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RIP Eugene Cernan: Last man on the Moon dies aged 82

Eugene Cernan, the last man to leave footprints on the Moon, has died aged 82.

One of 14 astronauts chosen by NASA in 1963, Cernan's space career included two trips to the Moon (the second as commander of Apollo 17), and the second spacewalk by a United States astronaut. His two-hour spacewalk took place during the three-day Gemini 9 mission in 1966.

Cernan's first flight to the moon was as a pathfinder for the first Moon landing: he was the lunar module pilot on the Apollo 10 mission. As NASA notes, that mission was “the first comprehensive lunar-orbital qualification and verification test of the lunar lander”.

Cernan and Thomas Stafford ran a dress rehearsal for Apollo 11, flying the lander to within eight nautical miles of the Moon's surface. John Young was Apollo 10's command module pilot, remaining in the main vehicle during the lander test.

His trip to the Moon's surface was the last rather than the first, but along the way Cernan and co-crew Harrison Schmitt (who also visited the surface) and Ronald Evans (command module pilot) set a bunch of records: “the longest lunar landing flight (301 hours, 51 minutes); longest lunar surface extravehicular activities (22 hours, 6 minutes); largest lunar sample return (nearly 249 pounds); and longest time in lunar orbit (147 hours, 48 minutes).”

Before retiring from NASA in 1976, Cernan also served on the planning crew for the Apollo-Soyuz module rendezvous, later working in the energy industry; as an aerospace consultant; and finally as an ABC news correspondent covering early Space Shuttle flights.

NASA has not disclosed a cause of death, saying only that Cernan was surrounded by his family when he passed.

RSPCA on the hunt for Dog killers in Northern NSW

RSPCA NSW is urgently seeking any information regarding a 6 – 12 month old Kelpie or Cattle Dog cross dog found killed and mutilated in suspicious circumstances in Casino on the NSW Far North Coast.

The juvenile dog was found by local rangers dumped in grassland on Queensland Road in the early hours of this morning, who then alerted the RSPCA. Veterinarians have confirmed the young dog had been deceased for up to 48 hours when he was found.

The dog is medium sized, standing approximately 50 cms tall, between 15 and 20 kgs. He is a sandy colour, with some white on his belly and black fur under his jaw.

He is not microchipped, with no neck fur patterns suggesting he wore a collar or chain regularly.

RSPCA NSW is urgently appealing to the public for any information that may relate to this case to call 1800 CRUELTY (1800 278 358) and make a confidential report.


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Gene Wilder has passed away aged 83

Gene Wilder, who brought a wild-eyed desperation to a series of memorable and iconic comedy roles in the 1970s and 1980s, has died, his lawyer, Eric Weissmann, said.
He was 83.

Wilder is best known for his collaborations with director Mel Brooks, starring as the stressed-out Leo Bloom in Brooks' breakout 1967 film "The Producers," and later in the monster movie spoof "Young Frankenstein." He also portrayed a boozing gunslinger in "Blazing Saddles."

For many people, Wilder might be best remembered for "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," playing the mysterious candy tycoon in the 1971 adaptation of Roald Dahl's book.
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