Gene Cernan's lunar surface-used EVA-1 cuff checklist, including 99-page report verifying the lunar dust still present—beautifully displayed in a custom museum-quality case
Commander Gene Cernan's Apollo 17 EVA-1 cuff checklist, carried and used extensively on the lunar surface during the first extravehicular activity of the last Apollo moon mission. Just before taking his first step onto the moon, with this checklist strapped to his left wrist, Cernan remarked: 'I'm on the footpad. And, Houston, as I step off at the surface at Taurus-Littrow, we'd like to dedicate the first step of Apollo 17 to all those who made it possible.'
Cernan wore this cuff checklist on his wrist for the duration of the first EVA of Apollo 17, exposing it to the lunar environment for 7 hours and 12 minutes—as such, its pages are still streaked with lunar dust. This checklist can be seen on his wrist in both film footage and photographic stills taken during the EVA, most evidently in images of him saluting the American flag after its deployment.
The cuff checklist is a comprehensive guide for the entire extravehicular activity, offering preparation procedures, simplified maps, and task lists: the principal goals of EVA-1 were offloading the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV), deploying the American flag, setting up experiment packages, and collecting samples of moon rocks and lunar soil. Interspersed are cartoons of astronaut-dogs exploring the lunar surface, playfully inserted by the backup crew—an Apollo tradition. The first shows Snoopy bounding over the lunar terrain. Captioned "The Beginning Not The End," the cartoon acknowledges Apollo 17's place as the ultimate Apollo mission and looks toward the future.
The checklist consists of 25 spiral-bound double-sided pages, each measuring 3.5″ x 2.5″, attached to an aluminum wrist brace marked with part numbers, “P/N SEB 33100302-302, S/N 1028.” The original black Velcro wristband remains attached. The checklist’s pages are smudged with gray lunar dust, making its extensive use on the moon’s surface self-evident. These moon dust deposits were extensively analyzed by Prof. Dr. Stephen J. Mojzsis, Research Professor and Senior Advisor Director, Origins Research Institute Research Centre for Astronomy & Earth Sciences. His 99-page report, which includes many electron microscope photos and spectrographic displays of the individual elements present in the samples, is included. Mojzsis concluded that the material "is indeed consistent with descriptions of dusts and other samples reported in the Apollo 17 Lunar Sample Information Catalogue, as well as in other published reports of lunar material. The items together are a national treasure, and whomever acquires this collection would be truly blessed with a piece of history unique to humanity."
Accompanied by a detailed letter of provenance signed by Gene Cernan, as well as two pages signed by Cernan featuring images of him with the checklist (one on the moon in 1971, and one circa 2013). Cernan's letter, in small part: "EVA1 was a high level work period. The cuff checklist reflects that by being completely smothered with lunar dust. The dust, more correctly named 'Lunar Regolith,' is the top soil of the Moon. The dust was very abrasive and clung to everything it came in contact with during our time on the Moon's surface. I have kept this cuff checklist as a memento of my time on the Moon at the Valley of Taurus-Littrow after NASA returned it to me in 1973. On September 25, 2012, Congress passed bill HR 4158 that officially gave us possession of the mementos from our flights that had been in our collections for the past 40 years. This cuff checklist represents one of the rarest of Apollo artifacts as a piece of vital equipment that I used during my excursions on the lunar surface in the Valley of Taurus-Littrow."
Further enhancing the flown checklist is its remarkable, museum-quality display. This includes: a highly accurate replica of Cernan's left-handed Apollo A7-LB EVA glove fabricated by renowned artist Ryan Nagata, whose work has appeared in Hollywood movies including the Neil Armstrong biopic First Man; a display case consisting of a custom-machined aluminum platform, engraved on the front, "Apollo 17 EVA1 Checklist, Worn by Commander Gene Cernan, 7 Hrs 12 Mins on the Lunar Surface, December 11, 1972," with clear acrylic cover to protect the glove and checklist from contaminants; a laser-engraved aluminum presentation box displaying the Apollo 17 mission insignia, containing Cernan's signed provenance documents and Dr. Mojzsis's report on the lunar dust, which slides into a felt-lined slot in the rear of the base. Also included in the presentation box are photos of the checklist and copies of selected photos from EVA-1.