Did You Know?

Eugene Shoemaker is the only person whose ashes have been buried on any celestial body outside Earth.

Eugene Shoemaker is the only person whose ashes have been buried on any celestial body outside Earth.

He trained astronauts and founded a new science. Born on April 28, 1928, Eugene "Gene" Shoemaker was one of the 20th century's great minds. His work on impact craters affected everything from NASA's Apollo missions to the dinosaur extinction debate. For his contributions to human knowledge, he was awarded the National Medal of Science by then-president George H.W. Bush in 1992.

A different honor eluded him. Shoemaker studied the moon from afar, but he often dreamed of climbing into a spacesuit and walking on its surface. Sadly, he never got the chance; Addison's disease crushed his hopes of becoming an astronaut.

But in 1997, some of his ashes were laid to rest near the moon's southern pole. That made him the first — and to date, the only — person to ever receive a lunar burial.


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