Gene Cernan's Penthouse centerfold carried to the Moon aboard the command module America during the Apollo 17 mission, measures 10.25 x 14 unfolded, signed and flight-certified in black felt tip, "Flown to the moon on Apollo XVII, CDR Gene Cernan." Removed from the October 1971 issue of Penthouse Magazine, the spread depicts 'Pet of the Month' Helen Caunt with two conveniently taped stickers of the cartoon characters Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner. Another nude image of Caunt on the reverse is also playfully modified with an affixed cartoon sticker. In very good condition, with expected light overall creasing. Accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from Cernan, signed in later age, in part: "I have kept this Penthouse centerfold as a memento of my Apollo 17 [mission] to the Moon after NASA returned it to me in 1973…This Penthouse centerfold represents one [of] the rarest and more 'interesting' Apollo artifacts of the Apollo 17 mission and was an example of the culture and camaraderie exhibited by [the] astronaut corp of the 1960's."
As a member of the back-up crew of Apollo 14 and the prime crew of Apollo 17, Cernan was involved with two of the greater pranks of the Apollo program. When the crew of Apollo 14 launched on January 31, 1971, they were surprised to discover a horde of mission patches hidden throughout their spacecraft. Designed by the Apollo 14 backup crew, the stowaway patches featured the popular Warner Bros. characters Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, and were embroidered along the top with the words 'Beep Beep.' The sheer number of patches floating in the service module prompted Commander Alan Shepard to contact mission control with the following: 'Cernan, if I find another one of those patches, it will be BEEP BEEP your ass!' Nearly two years later, Shepard and the crew of Apollo 14 found their revenge when Stu Roosa, then serving as part of the Apollo 17 backup crew, surreptitiously affixed inside the crew's mission flight plan this Penthouse Pet centerfold with its humorous "BEEP BEEP Yuras" stickers. Undoubtedly the most risqué and unusual of all flown items.
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