On 14 December 1972, astronaut Eugene Cernan stepped up onto the lunar module, shook the moon dust off these boots, and ended an era of human exploration of the Moon.
13 December 1972: Eugene Cernan stands near a rock overhang. The equipment is a gnomon and photometric chart, a tool to provide photographic reference to local vertical sun angle, scale, and lunar colour Image credit: NASA/Harrison Schmitt
This week marks 43 years since the end of Harrison Schmitt and Eugene Cernan's three days exploring Taurus-Littrow for Apollo 17. These extravehicular activity boots were specifically designed for Cernan. They fit over the boots integrated into the base spacesuit, adding an extra layer of protection against thermal extremes and sharp moon rocks. Manufactured by International Latex Corporation, the boots have a silicone sole with woven stainless steel uppers, and are equipped with additional layers of beta cloth and beta felt. They seal with velcro.
6 September 1972: Schmitt (left) and Cernan (right) practising techniques during a geological field trip to Lunar Crater, a volcanic crater near Pancake Range in Nevada. Image credit: NASA
The scientifically-intense Apollo 17 mission sampled lunar highland materials, and was the only mission to make field geophysics investigations into the Moon's gravity field and electrical properties. Cernan and Schmitt are also infamous for repairing the broken fender on their lunar rover with a map and duct tape.
The boots have been a part of the human spaceflight collection at the National Air and Space Museum since 1974.