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ONELIFE #38 – English

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  • Evoque
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Land Rover’s Onelife magazine showcases stories from around the world that celebrate inner strength and the drive to go Above and Beyond. New perspectives meet old traditions - these contrasts unite in the latest issue of ONELIFE. Together with Landrover we travelled around the globe. From the high-tech city of Shenzhen in China to the carnival subculture in Brazil to Wuppertal. We got to know one of the oldest space travelers, technology visionaries and watch lovers, just as the new Range Rover Evoque. An exciting journey through the world of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Left and above: Duke

Left and above: Duke sports his mission patch with pride. Below left: Duke (left) with his Apollo 16 crewmates, Thomas Mattingly and John Young. Below: The tenth human to walk on another world

EXPLORATION PHOTOGRAPHY: GETTY IMAGES/SCIENCE & SOCIETY PICTURE LIBRARY/CONTRIBUTOR, GETTY IMAGES/ROLLS PRESS/POPPERFOTO/CONTRIBUTOR Charlie Duke has always been an adventurer, with an irrepressible desire to go exploring be it when he was a boy of 12, scoping out the big rock formations and caves on Coronado Island, California, or out rambling through the wilderness on family property in South Carolina earlier last year, at the age of 83. Or, most famously, as he did in 1972, when walking on the Moon, leaving footprints in the lunar surface that remain to this very day. Our paths cross at a quiet cafe in Zurich, where Duke shares a tale of adventure only three other living men can match. His eyes brighten, and there’s a sense of awe in his voice as he recounts that epic journey nearly five decades ago, on the Apollo 16 mission. “The lingering memory of the experience that I had was the wonder of it all,” he says. “It’s never been like a dream, but you can hardly believe that you’ve had this experience. One of only 12 people that have been able to step onto the Moon.” Following mission commander John Young out of the Orion lunar module he piloted, Duke became the tenth and (at 36 years) the youngest person to walk on the Moon. It was to be the most significant walk that he ever took, and one that he had long wished for. He recollects a NASA geology training programme at the Grand Canyon, where he found himself staring up at the Moon from his sleeping bag, wondering whether someday he’d be up there too. Which is why, when he finally was, he felt joyous and triumphant all at once. The thought that ran through his head as his foot touched the surface was “I’m on the Moon finally! I’m on the Moon!”, he laughs. As they went from location to location in the lunar rover driving around boulders, stopping at the edge of craters, carefully peering into their depths, chipping away at rocks, collecting samples to carry back for NASA to study there was a constant feeling of curiosity and marvel at all that they saw around them: “‘What’s in this crater? What are we going to find over here?’ That kind of wonder, adventure, excitement!” The memories make his face light up. As fascinating as the surface of the Moon was, it was the “breathtakingly beautiful” sight of the Earth as seen from outer space, that truly captivated him, and also led him to the epiphany that, irrespective of our country of origin, “we’re all here on “WE ALL HAVE A STRONG URGE WITHIN US, A SPIRIT, THAT IS INQUISITIVE. SPACE TRAVEL HELPS US FULFIL OUR DESIRE TO UNDERSTAND THE UNIVERSE” Spaceship Earth and we need to learn to love one another.” Duke recollects the sight as though it were yesterday: “There were three colours the brown of the land, the crystal blue of the oceans, and the white of the snow and the clouds. The jewel of Earth, suspended in the blackness of space.” A blackness so rich and velvety, he was convinced he could almost reach out and touch it. Perhaps the contrast between the brightness of the sunlit Earth and the blackness of space was a metaphor for Duke’s own life, and his own journey; an especially dark phase followed his return to Earth. “The thought occurred to me, ‘What are you going to do for the rest of your life? What’s the challenge?’” Instead of a sense of peace at having accomplished his goals, he was filled with dissatisfaction; the drive that took him to the Moon was still burning within him, and he knew not how to channel it. The turmoil nearly cost him his family. But Duke eventually found peace in religion, repaired his personal life, and then began travelling the world sharing stories both of his journey to the Moon, and his subsequent journey with God. “It’s a responsibility I take seriously, to share my enthusiasm, especially with young people,” he says. “To challenge them that you never know where your life is going to take you.” Duke’s interest in space travel remains keen, heightened by the new space race, between private companies like SpaceX, Orbital, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic. “I can visualise something in the future, where we’ll have big habitation modules orbiting Earth. I’m an advocate of building a science station with permanent habitation on the Moon. I think we’re eventually going to get to Mars,” he says with conviction. Given that he has experienced the wonders space has to offer, Duke is a vocal advocate of manned space flights, and not just for the technological growth they bring about. Instead, he believes they tap into a fundamental human characteristic the endless desire for discovery. “I think we all have a strong urge within us, a spirit, that is inquisitive. Space travel helps to fulfil that desire to understand the Universe and the beauty of its creation.” In this octogenarian former astronaut, it’s certainly strong enough to make him conclude with a smile, “Every once in a while, I think that maybe I would love to go back to the Moon.” 47