Today is National Moon Day, when we celebrate the day humans first set their boots down on Earth’s only permanent satellite!
It was 1969. It had taken the crew of Apollo 11 four days to travel the quarter of a million miles to reach their destination. While Michael Collins orbited the Moon alone, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin squeezed into the Lunar Module “Eagle”, ready to land at Tranquility Base!
Did you know that ten more men would go on to walk on the Moon?
Let’s have a look at some lunar facts you may not know!
- The Moon has a sixth of the gravity we enjoy here on Earth. This made life easier for the astronauts to move around whilst wearing their heavy space suits.
- Before heading out to the Moon’s surface after Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin took a few moments to take communion. The wine gently curled into the little cup due to the difference in gravity!
- The Lunar Module that took the astronauts to the surface of the Moon had no seats. This was to save space and weight.
- Who can forget Neil Armstrong’s legendary words as he stepped off the ladder onto the Moon? “That’s one small step for man. One giant leap for mankind.” Apollo 12’s commander Pete Conrad put it more simply . . . he said, “Whoopee!”
- 14 men should have walked on the Moon, but as we know Apollo 13 didn’t make it. But that mission turned out to be an incredible feat of science, engineering and bravery all of its own.
- Alan Shepard has so far been the only person to play golf on the Moon. The Apollo 14 commander had a specially made club made and hit a blinder that went for “miles and miles and miles”.
- The next mission to the Moon, Apollo 15, was the first one to take along the Moon buggy! This allowed the astronauts to travel much further. This mission was also famous for the Galileo experiment. At the end of the last Apollo 15 moon walk, Commander David Scott performed a live demonstration for the television cameras. He held out a geologic hammer and a feather and dropped them at the same time. Because they were essentially in a vacuum, there was no air resistance and the feather fell at the same rate as the hammer, as Galileo had concluded hundreds of years before — all objects released together fall at the same rate regardless of mass. Scott said, “Mr Galileo was correct!”
- The last mission to the Moon was Apollo 17. At this moment in time only four astronauts who walked there are alive: Buzz Aldrin, Dave Scott, Charlie Duke and Harrison Schmitt.
Apollo 12 astronaut, Alan Bean, above, returned from the Moon and became a renowned artist.
After his lunar adventure he said, “Since then I have not complained about the weather one single time,
“I’m glad there is weather. I’ve not complained about traffic — I’m glad there are people around.”
On his return, he used to visit shopping malls just to “watch the people go by”.
“I’d think, ‘boy, why do people complain about the Earth? We are living in the Garden of Eden.’”
For more of Tracey’s facts about space, click here.
For more of Tracey’s Apollo 13 facts, click here.