Only 9 humans who’ve seen the moon up close are still alive

A member of one of the most exclusive clubs on the planet has died.

Dick Gordon was one of only 10 living humans who have seen the moon up close.

Gordon was the pilot on Apollo 12, the second mission to the moon on which Charles Conrad and lunar module pilot, Alan Bean got to bounce around on the moon while Gordon, like Michael Collins before him, got to orbit the moon by himself for a few days.

Only six of the original 12 men to walk on the moon are still alive. Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean, Dave Scott, John Young, Charles Duke, and Harrison “Jack” Schmitt.

There are now only three Apollo moon mission pilots still living: Michael Collins, Al Worden, and Ken Mattingly.

Gordon was also an astronaut on the Gemini 11 flight, the first manned spacecraft to dock with another vehicle in space. In 1966, it linked up with the Agena Target Vehicle which had launched a couple of hours earlier.

Gordon was 88. The youngest member of the “moon club” — Mattingly — is 81.

  • jon
  • bjnord

    If you haven’t seen “In the Shadow of the Moon” you should! A very well-done documentary that presents the space program in the astronauts’ own words.

  • KariBemidji

    I’ve always been fascinated by space travel (even went to Space Camp in 8th grade). I was listening to the Nerdette podcast a couple weeks ago. They were interviewing Tom Hanks and he mentioned this picture.

    Every single human being alive in July 1969, except one (Michael Collins, the photographer and command module pilot) is in this photo.

    I am always in awe of us human beings and what we can do.

    • Can you imagine how lonely it must have been to be in a strange environment and then the only two humans nearest you in the universe, leave.

      • jon

        After days stuck with two other people in such a small space I think the two other people leaving might be a relief, at least at first.

    • Redmac

      Bob, this was a good article, because the lunar voyagers are leaving us now at an accelerated pace as we approach the 50th Anniversary of the 1st Moon Landing. But…What about the Apollo 8 crew of Borman, Lovell and Anders? What about the commander of the Apollo 10 crew, Tom Stafford (Young and Cernan flew with him)? Then the Apollo 13 crew which included Fred Haise? The Apollo 8 and 13 crew got within 100 miles of the lunar surface. Stafford and Apollo 10 flew within 10 miles of the lunar surface.

      • Very good point.

        • Redmac

          Thanks. God knows that I do try to make a good point from time to time. 🙂

  • Chris Moseley

    After Dick Gordon’s friend Pete Conrad was selected for Astronaut Group 2 (the “New Nine”), he gave Gordon a picture of both of them next to a Navy fighter with the words: “To Dick, until we serve together again.” And they did.