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Astronaut Brig. General Charles Duke, Jr. - Apollo 16 astronaut / 10th man on the moon
January 31, 2006 - Los Gatos Christian Church - Los Gatos, CA

Charles Duke has experienced something that most have only wished to do throughout history. He is one of NASA’s legends, being the 10th of only twelve men to ever walk on the moon, while serving on the Apollo 16 mission in April 1972. Before that, Duke had served as capcom for the Apollo 11 crew, and had his famous words, “Roger Tranguility. We copy you on the ground.” Duke had set the record for lunar surface stay, at 71 hours, 14 minutes during one excursion to the Cayley Plains. He then logged an additional total of 20 hours, 15 minutes during three more excursions. Following his NASA adventures, Duke joined the Air Force Reserves, finally making Brigadier General in 1979, then retiring in 1986. Currently Duke is the president of Charles Duke Enterprises, and owner of Duke Investments.

Some time after his lunar walk experience, to avoid further damage to his brewing domestic troubles, Duke became a Christian, becoming a lay witness, and now heads Duke Ministry for Christ. He has become a speaker and lectures about being an astronaut, business excecutive, military officer, and entrepreneur.

I met up with Charles Duke at the Los Gatos Christian Church during a men’s meeting and ministry. Amongst the thrill of meeting an astronaut who had actually “been there” to the moon, I had some questions about his beliefs in science vs. sprituality. The answers I got were a bit surprising, but defined.

During his speech, Duke described the trip to the moon and how it was breathtaking once they arrived. To any naysayers who don’t believe that any moonwalks actually happened, Duke gave a convincing array of answers to all the rumors. He got into descriptions of lens flares and how the sun hits through a low atmosphere moon, causing shadows that had been disputed by some. Amongst previously mentioned skeptics’ concepts are that there were no stars appearing. The reason for that is that the sun was shining, and brightly so through the thin atmosphere. As well, Duke explained out the idea of not being able to withstand travel through the Van Allen radiation belts. As Duke put it himself, “When you’re going through the Belts between 25,000 to 40,000 miles per hour, you really limit the amount of exposure time.”

Duke had explained that his observations of the Earth upon the return trip caused him to really consider what he had learned in the Bible. It was about a line speaking of the Earth as an orb suspended in space. This is what helped to get him to a higher spiritual faith. Following the speech, I met with Charles Duke myself to ask him at least one or two questions that I just had to hear answered from an astronaut. The main idea being, how does one actual traverse past the trappings of the Earth, to go out into space, and then maintain a standard religious belief in God, as opposed to a much grander scale, that is also possibly more logical and explainable.

K2K: Since you’ve actually been to the moon, and traveled through space, do you believe that there is any possibility of life “somewhere out there” in the universe?
No! Absolutely not.

K2K: Are you saying that after doing the almost impossible and being in space yourself, you are not open to the idea of any life form at all - including bacterial or viral - being out there in the vast universe?
Not at all. It hasn’t been proven to me yet. There hasn’t been any evidence provided that would prove any life outside of the Earth.

K2K: What about the new findings of possible bacteria in the Arctic samples that may be life derived from Mars?
[Although that is only a theory. - Ed.]
CD: That has not been proven. Besides, there cannot be any life out there because it is not talked about in the Scriptures.

K2K: Neither have the Scriptures ever mentioned man walking on the moon. And yet, there you were.

And with that, we shook hands and Charles Duke had to continue with his meet ‘n’ greet, shaking hands and signing autographs. It became obvious that in his personal beliefs, science had been cut short of possibilities and he didn’t really wish to discuss them. The idea of life in other parts of the universe are based on the idea of the vastness of everything, along with similarities in other solar systems, would lend the idea of at least a possibility. This brings along the concept of faith and belief, something that Christians profess to having greatly (along with other religions). Yet, in the mind and heart of this individual, faith and belief only extends to only the religious concept of God. Both claim their proofs, based on accounts, and yet both rely heavily on faith alone for future discoveries. It’s interesting to cut one off but leave the other intact.
Written by Philip Anderson

Philip Anderson is a musician, in addition to being a writer/photographer. He has performed as a guitarist/vocalist, as well as songwriter, in several bands over the past 20 years. As a writer and photographer, he has been published by several magazines and in several books, and had his works appear on television.

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