One of the coolest things we’ve ever done at Lofty Ambitions is to interview Apollo astronaut Charlie Duke. He’s smart and charming, the kind of person with whom you could happily while away an afternoon talking. Here, we share an excerpt of our conversation from November 2010 that conveys Duke’s enthusiasm for flying, space exploration, and education (he chairs the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation).
Charlie Duke was chosen as an astronaut by NASA in 1966. With his calm Southern voice, he served as CAPCOM for Apollo 11, the mission that put the first human footprint on the Moon’s surface in 1969. Just a few years later, Duke flew on Apollo 16 and planted his own two booted feet on the Moon and traipsed around on its surface with John Young for more than 20 hours (of the more than 71-hour stay), taking rock and soil samples (Apollo 16 picked up more than 200 pounds of such material) and surveying the landscape.