There’s been a lot in the news about the Moon Landing this week. In honour of the 50th anniversary of this momentous occasion, we’ve gathered together some fascinating facts about Apollo 11.
- Buzz Aldrin’s mother’s maiden name was Moon.
- Michael Collins designed the famous mission patch with the eagle holding an olive branch.
- When the Apollo 11 team arrived safely on Earth, they were asked to fill out a customs and declarations form at security in Hawaii.
- Armstrong and Aldrin left an Apollo 1 mission patch on the Moon, in memory of astronauts Roger Chaffee, Gus Grissom and Edward White, who died when their Apollo 1 command module caught fire during a test in January 1967.
- Before walking on the Moon, Buzz Aldrin took communion. He brought along a tiny amount of wine and bread. As he poured the wine, it curled up the side of the cup due to the Moon’s one-sixth gravity.
- You needed jet aircraft flight experience to be an astronaut — preferably as a test pilot — and a relevant degree in engineering. Plus you couldn’t be any taller than 5 feet 11 inches!
- The flag famously planted during the moon landing by Buzz Aldrin cost $5.50. The tubing that stored it on the outside of the Lunar Module during the journey was $75.
- The Lunar Module that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon didn’t have seats! They had Velcro on their boots, which attached to the floor to prevent them from floating off in zero gravity.
- The Apollo’s Saturn rockets were packed with enough fuel to throw 100-pound shrapnel for three miles. NASA couldn’t rule out the possibility that they might explode on take-off.
- When Buzz Aldrin joined Armstrong on the surface, he had to make sure not to close the Eagle’s door, because there was no outside handle.
- After coming into contact with oxygen for the first time inside the Lunar Module, the four-billion-year-old Moon dust produced a pungent smell comparable to gun powder.
- Apollo 11 brought 22 kg of geological samples back from the Moon.
And a few memorable quotes
“One small step for man . . .” may be the most famous words uttered by an Apollo 11 astronaut, but there are a few more worth hearing:
When asked what he was thinking while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were walking on the moon, Michael Collins replied:
I just kept reminding myself that every single component in this spacecraft was provided by the guy who submitted the cheapest tender.
Sharing his thoughts about walking on the surface of the Moon, Neil Armstrong said:
It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
When considering the trials and tribulations of the space programme, Buzz Aldrin said:
Failure is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign that you are alive and growing.
Want to know more about the Moon Landing? Tracey has written a much longer article for our July 20 issue, in shops now!
She also recently reviewed “A Man On The Moon” by Andrew Chaikin. Read her thoughts here.