"I think it's time for another walk on the moon."
Harrison H. Schmitt doesn't think of himself as the "last" man to walk on the moon. Instead, he says he's simply "the most recent" person to do so.
Schmitt, who traveled to the moon aboard Apollo 17, is also the most recent adjunct faculty member to join the Department of Engineering Physics. This spring, he will help teach a course titled "Resources from Space."
On Nov. 7, the former astronaut made an early visit to campus to present a slide show and talk on his lunar excursion and the future of space exploration. Addressing a lecture hall packed with students, faculty and community members--many of whom weren't even alive during the December 1972 Apollo 17 mission--Schmitt predicted there will be another voyage to the moon within the next 15 years. "We know how to do it," he said. "We just need the funding base."
A graduate of California Institute of Technology and Harvard, Schmitt joined the astronaut corps in 1965. After returning from the moon, he directed NASA's Scientist Astronaut Office and Office of Energy Programs until 1975. From 1976 to 1982 he served as a U.S. Senator from New Mexico. In recent years, he has worked as a businessman, consultant and speaker.
His course at UW-Madison will focus on: resource limitations of the Earth and potential resources of the inner planets; the origin of the solar system; lunar and Mars base scenarios; applications of solar and fusion energy; economic, legal and international implications; and the Earth, moon and Mars as one environmental system.
Proud of the role he's played with the nation's space program, Schmitt wants to see a renewed interest in space exploration. The footprints he left on the moon's surface 23 year's ago should not be the last he said.