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AROUND SLOVAKIA

Astronaut honoured

EUGENE Cernan, a US astronaut who made three space voyages and is the last person to have set foot on the moon, has family roots in the Kysuce region of Slovakia.

EUGENE Cernan, a US astronaut who made three space voyages and is the last person to have set foot on the moon, has family roots in the Kysuce region of Slovakia.

His grandparents left the region before the end of the 19th century. Now, a permanent exhibition dedicated to the astronaut is housed in the Kysuce Museum in the town of Čadca.

“The exhibition Človek na Mesiaci (Man on the Moon) shows Cernan's life story through large-screen reproductions and informational panels. Visitors can literally touch the surface of the moon or inspect a spacesuit in detail,” Pavol Markech of the Kysuce Museum told the SITA newswire.

An artwork by sculptor Milan Greguš entitled “Tribute to Eugene A. Cernan” – a polychrome volcanic rock from 2003 – is also part of the display.

Cernan, who celebrated his 77th birthday on March 14, served as pilot of the Gemini 9 spacecraft in 1966, as pilot of the Apollo 10 lunar module in 1969, and as commander of the Apollo 17 mission three years later.

Cernan has visited Slovakia several times and even though he has US citizenship, he has proudly talked about the homeland of his ancestors and their native region of Kysuce.

The Žilina Region's government declared 2011 the “Year of Eugene Andrew Cernan”.


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