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Who said: “Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.”
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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index D > Charlie Duke Quotes

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Charlie Duke
(3 Oct 1935 - )

American astronaut who was the youngest person to walk on the Moon (age 36 years and 201 days) on 21 Apr 1972. He flew on the Apollo 16 moon mission as the lunar module pilot.


Science Quotes by Charlie Duke (9 quotes)

Hogwash! … On our way to the moon, and on the moon, I worked as hard as John Young and it took me another six years before I found out the truth about God. In the days of Apollo and long afterwards I still believed in the theory of evolution and rejected the Biblical creation story. [Commenting on an American reporter’s printed intimation that Lunar Module pilots “had less things to do and had time to look out the spaceship’s window, or to explore the surroundings. Afterwards they could not cope with what they had seen, felt and experienced.”]
— Charlie Duke
As quoted in Colin Burgess, Footprints in the Dust: The Epic Voyages of Apollo, 1969-1975 (2010), 422. Burgess introduced the quote with: “Charles Moss Duke Jr. has always been wrongly labeled as the astronaut who found God during his Apollo 16 mission, but even though he did eventually become a born-again Christian, this life-altering epiphany came some years after the event.” Burgess explained that Duke dislikes “misinformed characterizations of himself and his Apollo colleagues and of the religious impact of his own lunar mission.” [The ellipsis in the subject quote spans from one paragraph to the next in Burgess’ book. The ellipsis was added by Webmaster, on the assumption that the word “Hogwash!” belongs with the statement in the following paragraph.]
Science quotes on:  |  Apollo (9)  |  Belief (615)  |  Bible (105)  |  Cope (9)  |  Creation (350)  |  Experience (494)  |  Exploration (161)  |  God (776)  |  Long (778)  |  Look (584)  |  Moon (252)  |  Reject (67)  |  Science And Religion (337)  |  Spaceship (5)  |  Story (122)  |  Surroundings (6)  |  Theory Of Evolution (5)  |  Truth (1109)  |  Window (59)  |  Work (1402)  |  Young_Johnwatts (2)

I walked on the moon, but walking with God is a lot more exciting.
— Charlie Duke
Reflecting on becoming a born-again Christian (some years after his return from the Moon). As quoted in Colin Burgess, Footprints in the Dust: The Epic Voyages of Apollo, 1969-1975 (2010), 423.
Science quotes on:  |  Excitement (61)  |  God (776)  |  Moon (252)  |  Walk (138)

It was a texture. The blackness was so intense.
— Charlie Duke
Describing his first impression of the moon landscape and sky, as quoted in Colin Burgess, Footprints in the Dust: The Epic Voyages of Apollo, 1969-1975 (2010), 422.
Science quotes on:  |  Blackness (4)  |  Intense (22)  |  Texture (8)

It was not a spiritual experience for me; I didn’t feel close to God. … I didn’t think I needed God in my life at that stage. … I had about all of God that I thought I needed and that was one hour every Sunday morning…. I was a faithful attender at church.
— Charlie Duke
More of his answer at a public talk to a question whether he actually felt close to God on the Moon, following: “The answer is no, I did not.” As quoted in Colin Burgess, Footprints in the Dust: The Epic Voyages of Apollo, 1969-1975 (2010), 422.
Science quotes on:  |  Answer (389)  |  Attend (67)  |  Church (64)  |  Experience (494)  |  Faithful (13)  |  God (776)  |  Hour (192)  |  Morning (98)  |  Need (320)  |  Spiritual (94)  |  Sunday (8)  |  Thought (995)

On the way back [from the moon] we had an EVA [extra-vehicular activity, or spacewalk] I had a chance to look around while I was outside and Earth was off to the right, 180,000 miles away, a little thin sliver of blue and white like a new moon surrounded by this blackness of space. Back over my left shoulder was almost a full moon. I didn’t feel like I was a participant. It was like sitting in the last row of the balcony, looking down at all of that play going on down there. I had that insignificant feeling of the immensity of this, God’s creation.
— Charlie Duke
Reflecting on his participation on the Apollo 16 moon mission. Contributed to Kevin W. Kelley (ed.), The Home Planet (1988), unpaginated, with photo 55.
Science quotes on:  |  Activity (218)  |  Back (395)  |  Balcony (2)  |  Blackness (4)  |  Blue (63)  |  Chance (244)  |  Creation (350)  |  Down (455)  |  Earth (1076)  |  Feel (371)  |  Feeling (259)  |  Full (68)  |  God (776)  |  Immensity (30)  |  Insignificant (33)  |  Last (425)  |  Leave (138)  |  Little (717)  |  Look (584)  |  Looking (191)  |  Mile (43)  |  Moon (252)  |  New (1273)  |  Outside (141)  |  Participant (6)  |  Play (116)  |  Right (473)  |  Row (9)  |  Shoulder (33)  |  Sit (51)  |  Sitting (44)  |  Sliver (2)  |  Space (523)  |  Surround (33)  |  Thin (18)  |  Way (1214)  |  White (132)

Roger, Tranquility. Be advised there are lots of smiling faces in this room and all over the world. Over.
— Charlie Duke
From the taped recording of Air-to-Ground Transmissions during Apollo 11 moon mission, after the Lunar Module had just landed on the moon surface. Charlie Duke was the designated Communicator at Mission Control. Also in Bob Blaisdell (ed.), Essential Documents of American History: From Reconstruction to the Twenty-First Century (2016), Vol. 2, 329
Science quotes on:  |  Advise (7)  |  Face (214)  |  Lot (151)  |  Roger (3)  |  Room (42)  |  Smile (34)  |  Tranquility (8)  |  World (1850)

Roger, Tranquility. We copy you on the ground. You’ve got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We’re breathing again. Thanks a lot.
— Charlie Duke
From the taped recordings of conversations during the Apollo 11 moon mission, as the Lunar Module touched down on the Moon surface. Charlie Duke was the designated Communicator at Mission Control, replying to: “The Eagle has landed.” Also in Bob Blaisdell (ed.), Essential Documents of American History: From Reconstruction to the Twenty-First Century (2016), Vol. 2, 329.
Science quotes on:  |  Blue (63)  |  Breathe (49)  |  Breathing (23)  |  Bunch (7)  |  Copy (34)  |  Ground (222)  |  Guy (5)  |  Lot (151)  |  Roger (3)  |  Thank (48)  |  Thanks (26)  |  Tranquility (8)  |  Turn (454)

Roger, we copy. It was beautiful from here, Tranquility. Over.
— Charlie Duke
From the taped recording of Air-to-Ground Transmissions during Apollo 11 moon mission, after the Lunar Module had just landed on the moon surface. Charlie Duke was the designated Communicator at Mission Control. Also in Bob Blaisdell (ed.), Essential Documents of American History: From Reconstruction to the Twenty-First Century (2016), Vol. 2, 329
Science quotes on:  |  Beautiful (271)  |  Copy (34)  |  Roger (3)  |  Tranquility (8)

You’ve watched the Star Trek and the Star Wars and all those movies, and everything is evil looking and all sharp and angular. But on the moon it’s not that way at all. It’s all smooth and…just sort of rounded, general rolling terrain except for the individual rocks and things. And they were angular, but the general impression was just the rounded mountains that came down and then rolled into the valley, and then the valley rolled away to the horizon… it was mostly gray in color, but some of the rocks were white and some were gray…. It was just tremendously exciting to stand on the moon. I can’t even put into words the excitement that I experienced as I stood there looking across this dramatic landscape, which was absolutely lifeless.
— Charlie Duke
Describing his first impression of the moon landscape and sky, as quoted in Colin Burgess, Footprints in the Dust: The Epic Voyages of Apollo, 1969-1975 (2010), 422-423.
Science quotes on:  |  Absolute (153)  |  Color (155)  |  Dramatic (19)  |  Evil (122)  |  Excitement (61)  |  Experience (494)  |  Gray (9)  |  Horizon (47)  |  Impression (118)  |  Individual (420)  |  Landscape (46)  |  Lifeless (15)  |  Look (584)  |  Moon (252)  |  Mountain (202)  |  Rock (176)  |  Rolling (4)  |  Rounded (2)  |  Sharp (17)  |  Smooth (34)  |  Stand (284)  |  Star Trek (2)  |  Star Wars (3)  |  Terrain (6)  |  Tremendous (29)  |  Valley (37)  |  White (132)  |  Word (650)


See also:
  • 3 Oct - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Duke's birth.
  • Moonwalker: The True Story of an Astronaut Who Found that the Moon Wasn’t High Enough to Satisfy His Desire for Success, by Charlie Duke and Dottie Duke. - book suggestion.

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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