The three United States astronauts who took part in last December's Apollo 17 mission -- the sixth and last manned moon landing in the Apollo programme -- are on a four-week goodwill tour of Africa, Asia and the Far East.
GV PAN Official US aircraft taxis in
SV Welcoming party walks forward
SV Astronauts down aircraft steps and greeted and officials
SV Welcome sign
SV Dr. Schmitt (astronaut) embracing boy on tarmac
SV INTERIOR Gowon greets astronauts (2 shots)
CUI PAN from Gowon to Schmitt talking
SCU Astronaut Cernan
SV Gowon seated, chatting to astronauts
CU Nigerian official
SE Cernan presents Gowon with plaque
CU Nigerian official
SCU Schmitt presents Gowon with module model
SV & CU Newsmen at press conference (3 shots)
SCU Cernan & Evans SOF IN: "We most sincerely...."
CERNAN: "We most sincerely enjoyed our short but certainly very memorable trip to the parts of Nigeria we were able to see. Mainly because we got a chance to see the people. I, too, would like to thank the air force for their hospitality and generosity in flying us around in their airplane. In fact, I had the chance to see us landing form up front when we came home. The crew were very pleasant, the flights were great. I think one of the highlights of our trip here to Nigeria was the first day, or the second day we arrived, when we had a chance to meet a gentleman who we think is extremely sincere, extremely dedicated, very gregarious -- and that's General Gowon. And we most sincerely enjoyed our visit with him and to all those in Nigeria who are listening to this press conference we offer our sincere thanks for their hospitality."
EVANS: "I think, as in the United States, and as the world over, the young people of the world are the ones that are most stimulated at this point in time by the idea of space flight. You can teach just about anything -- any subject you wish -- in the context of space because their minds are so receptive to it. We' ve seen no difference between the young people of Nigeria and the young people of the United States, or the young people of Australia, or any place that our crew has been."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The three United States astronauts who took part in last December's Apollo 17 mission -- the sixth and last manned moon landing in the Apollo programme -- are on a four-week goodwill tour of Africa, Asia and the Far East.
On Sunday (10 June), the astronauts -- Captain Eugene Cernan, Dr. Harrison Schmitt and Captain Ronald Evans -- arrived in Lagos at the start of a four-day visit to Nigeria.
The aim of the tour is to foster research and co-operation in the peaceful uses of space and to share with other nations information already gained by the United States. The astronauts exchanged ideas with local scientists and lectured to science students at three Nigerian universities.
In one of the welcoming ceremonies, Dr. Schmitt, the first geologist to travel on a moon mission, called for the setting up of a university in space where scientists from all over the world would pool their resources.
On Monday (11 June), Cernan, Schmitt and Evans met Nigerian Head of Stats, General Yakabu Gowon. They presented him with samples of moon rock, a model of the Apollo 17 lunar landing module and a plaque bearing a miniature Nigeria flag which they had carried to the moon.
They were due to leave Lagos on Wednesday (13 June) for Cameroon. The astronauts have already visited Senegal, Niger and the Ivory Coast. The other territories on their itinerary are Kenya, Pakistan, India, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Micronesia.
Before they left Nigeria, the astronauts expressed their gratitude for the welcome they'd received. The transcript of the extract from their comments at a news conference included in this film follows.