As of yet, only 12 earthlings have made it to the one and only natural satellite of our home planet -- Moon. July 20 marks the 49th anniversary of the day when it all started. On this very day in 1969, the revolutionary Apollo 11 moon landing mission had taken place and Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin had taken that historical "giant leap for mankind."
Since then, only 12 US citizens have walked on the surface of the Earth's constant companion but where are these legends now? Well, among all the 12 astronauts who have taken a walk on the moon, only four are alive, currently.
Neil Armstrong was the first man to set foot on the moon during the first ever lunar mission, Apollo 11. He was an astronaut as well as an aeronautical engineer and following all his groundbreaking achievements, in 1971, the man retired from NASA. After his life at NASA, Armstrong worked as a corporate spokesperson for different businesses. He was known to be solitary, however, it's also true that he had made several public appearances and gave speeches at those events. Neil Armstrong had also hosted a science series and even taught college. The legendary astronaut breathed his last in 2012. At the time of death, he was 82-years-old.
Next in the line is, of course, Buzz Aldrin, the astronaut who was a companion of Armstrong in the Apollo 11 lunar mission and stepped on the moon just next to him. He was also the pilot of the Apollo 11 mission. The second man on the Moon has always been a vocal advocate for space exploration; he is also all for a manned Mars mission. Unlike Armstrong, Aldrin has always been quite outspoken. He has even made appearances on a host of TV talk shows and even on "Dancing with the Stars" in 2010.
However, being the second man on the moon is not the only legendary mark that Aldrin has crossed. In 2016, he also became the oldest ever person to reach the South Pole. He was 86 when he reached there. Currently, the 88-years-old legend lives in Florida.
Pete Conrad, the third man to reach the moon, walked on the lunar surface in 1969. He was one of the astronauts of the Apollo 12 mission. In 1973, Conrad retired from NASA and made money in business. In 1999, the astronaut died following a motorcycle crash in California at the age of 69.
Alan Bean is the fourth one in the line, who was also the mission companion of Pete Conrad. According to his logs, he had spent a sum total of 1,600 hours in space. Other than the Apollo 12 mission, he has also been a part of the missions to Skylab and the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. After his time in NASA, Bean became a painter and his creations were quite unique. He integrated the pieces from his spacesuit patches into his paintings. The remarkable painter-astronaut breathed his last in Texas in May this year only.
In 1971 the fifth man to walk on the moon was Alan Shepard. He was a crew member of the Apollo 14 mission. After retiring from NASA in 1974, Shepard went on to a completely different line of business. He worked in the banking and real estate sector. However, his love for space never faded. He had founded the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. The astronaut died at the age of 74 after suffering from leukemia.
As usual, Shepard was not the only astronaut to walk on the moon under the Apollo 14 mission. His crewmate Edgar Mitchell had also walked on the lunar surface. Mitchell retired from NASA in 1972 and aided in the foundation of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, which is one of California's non-profit organization that conducts research on ESP and other psychic phenomena. In 2016, Mitchell died at an age of 85.
Next in the line is Apollo 15 astronaut, David Scott walked on moon's surface in July and August of 1971. Also, he became the first man to not only walk but drive on our natural satellite during the Apollo 15 mission. He left NASA in 1977 and later, became a writer and consultant for books and documentaries regarding space program. Currently, he lives in California.
James Irwin, who was Scott's crewmate in the Apollo 15 mission also walked on the moon and retired from NASA in 1972. Later, he went on to found the High Flight Foundation, a Christian religious outreach organization. Irwin died in 1991 due to a heart attack. He was the first, of all the astronauts that walked on the moon, to die.
Apollo 16 reached the moon in April 1972 and John Young, a part of the mission, became the ninth person to walk on the lunar surface. After Apollo 16, he again flew to space aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia. After working with NASA for over 40 years, Young retired n 2004 and died this January at the age of 87.
Number 10 on the list is Charles Duke, who went to the moon along with John Young in during the Apollo 16 mission. He left NASA in 1975. After that, he changed the course of business and became active in prison ministry. Currently, Duke, 82, lives in Texas and he now chairs the board of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.
The same year as Apollo 16 mission, Apollo 17 took place in December 1972. Eugene Cernan walked on the moon as a part of this mission. Along with being the 11th man to take a moonwalk, literally, Cernan's footprints also became the last of the humans to be left on the lunar surface. After retiring from NASA in 1976, he joined the private industry and sometimes, worked as Good Morning America's commentator. He died in January last year at the age of 82.
The last, but definitely not the least, man to walk to the moon was Harrison Schmitt, who served as a geologist during the Apollo 17 mission. Following his journey to the moon and back, Schmitt retired from NASA in 1975. Later, he represented New Mexico as a Republican in the U.S. Senate for one term. He had also taught at the university level. Schmitt, now 83, resides in New Mexico.