The Astronomer Widow of the Late Geologist Eugene Shoemaker Shares How His Ashes Made It to the Moon

In a really poignant animation by Great Big Story, astronomer Carolyn Shoemaker pays beautiful tribute to her late husband Eugene Merle Shoemaker, a geologist, the director of the then-nascent US Geological Survey and a founder of planetary science. When President Kennedy announced that he wanted to put a man on the moon, Eugene was one of the first to volunteer. Unfortunately, Eugene was rejected from the space program due to medical reasons but even so, he never gave up. Rather than going to the moon, Eugene trained the astronauts who went in his place. After Eugene died in a car accident, an offer was made to Carolyn that she couldn’t refuse.

I had a call while I was in the hospital. He said ‘They’re about to send a mission up to the moon. I wonder if you would like to put Gene’s ashes on the moon?’ and so I said I think that would be wonderful…After the mission was completed it ran out of fuel and it crashed into the moon and that’s where Gene’s ashes are now. Suddenly the man who spent his whole life studying craters had made his own impact.