12 Fascinating Factoids You Didn’t Know About American Trips To The Moon 0 4

On every trip to the moon, each astronaut was equipped with a special, easy-to-use camera so he could take lots of pictures. All 11,000-plus images have now been uploaded to the Project Apollo Archive. We looked through the images and selected ones showing what each of the six trips to the lunar surface was like, and compiled things we didn’t know about the visits to the Moon.

Apollo 11—Kangaroo Hops

Project Apollo Archive/Flickr

Once Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were both on the surface of the Moon, the first thing they did was experiment with different ways of traveling on the surface, including doing two-footed kangaroo hops.

Apollo 11—Damaged Circuit Breaker

Project Apollo Archive/Flickr

After their moonwalk, Armstrong and Aldrin returned to the cabin of the lunar lander. Aldrin damaged the circuit breaker that armed the main engine to lift off from the Moon, increasing the possibility that the engine couldn’t fire and the astronauts would be stranded. They improvised, and rigged a felt-tip pen to activate the switch and fire the engine.

Apollo 12—Creative First Words

Project Apollo Archive/Flickr

When Neil Armstrong became the first human to step foot on the Moon, he said the famous line, “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Pete Conrad, the Apollo 12 mission commander, was shorter than Armstrong and his first words once stepping on the Moon were cheekier. “Whoopie! Man, that may have been a small one for Neil, but that’s a long one for me,” Conrad said.

Apollo 12—Don’t Try To Film The Sun

Project Apollo Archive/Flickr

Astronauts brought a color camera for their second voyage to the Moon, but it was destroyed almost immediately. While Alan Bean was carrying the camera to set it up, he accidentally pointed it directly at the Sun. A key component was destroyed, and television coverage ended immediately.

Apollo 14-Golfing In Space

Project Apollo Archive/Flickr

Commander Alan Shepard had a golf shop in Houston attach a six-iron club head to a piece of rock collecting equipment. He hit two golf balls on the Moon—the first one shanked, but the second one travelled more than 200 yards. Shepard had to swing one-handed, because his suit limited his flexibility and form.

Apollo 14—Getting Lost On The Moon

Project Apollo Archive/Flickr

For their second moonwalk, Shepard and Edgar Mitchell were hoping to reach the rim of Cone Crater. They weren’t able to navigate through the rolling terrain on the crater’s slopes however, and got progressively more tired. With their oxygen supplies running low, Shepard and Mitchell turned back. Later the astronauts realized they had gotten within 65 feet of the crater’s rim.

Apollo 15—Reclining In The Rover

Project Apollo Archive/Flickr

For the fourth trip to the Moon, the astronauts had a lunar rover so they could travel greater distances. Driving the rover took some adjustments. When the astronauts tested the rover on Earth, their weight pushed their space suits down. On the Moon, where they weighed only 1/6th as much, they couldn’t sit as well on the rover. Commander David Scott drove the rover first, and he ended up reclining in the seat.

Apollo 15—Leaving A Statue Behind

Project Apollo Archive/Flickr

At the end of the mission on the Moon, Scott placed a small 3-inch figurine on the lunar soil and left a small plaque commemorating the American and Soviet astronauts and cosmonauts who died as part of the space race. Scott snuck the aluminum figurine onboard, and NASA control didn’t know he was leaving it behind. When the artist, Paul Van Hoeydonck, attempted to sell signed copies NASA complained of commercialization of the space program. Van Hoeydonck relented and no copies were sold.

Apollo 16—Trash On The Moon

Project Apollo Archive/Flickr

In all the missions to the Moon, astronauts used “jettison bags” to collect their trash. Then they would toss their jett bags on the surface. The first thing Commander John Young and Charles Duke did before exiting the lander and starting their research was to toss a bag of trash overboard onto the surface.

Apollo 16—Biggest Rock Ever

Project Apollo Archive/Flickr

Apollo 16 astronauts brought back the largest rock sample—a 26 pound rock called Big Muley and named after Bill Muehlberger, the field geology team leader.

Apollo 17—More Rover Problems

Project Apollo Archive/Flickr

At the start of the first moonwalk for the final Apollo mission, the astronauts were getting the lunar rover ready for action. Commander Eugene Cernan walked by the rover and brushed against it and his hammer caught on the fender. The fender broke off, meaning for the rest of that moonwalk, the astronauts were getting covered in moondust.

Apollo 17—Breaking Records

Project Apollo Archive/Flickr

By the end of the Apollo 17 mission, a number of records had been broken. It was the longest manned lunar landing flight; astronauts travelled the farthest distance on the Moon; they brought back the biggest amount of Moon rocks (252 pounds); and it was the longest time spent in lunar orbit.

The last astronaut to set foot on the moon, Eurgene Cernan, said this before leaving the surface:

“…I’m on the surface; and, as I take man’s last step from the surface, back home for some time to come – but we believe not too long into the future – I’d like to just [say] what I believe history will record. That America’s challenge of today has forged man’s destiny of tomorrow. And, as we leave the Moon at Taurus-Littrow, we leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind. “Godspeed the crew of Apollo 17.”

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11 People You Wouldn’t Believe Used To Be In The KKK 0 3

The KKK is one of few groups that is so associated with fear and hate-mongering, its own members don’t want to reveal their faces. Today, we lift that shroud of mystery to take a look at some surprising people who were members of the KKK.

Ashley Wilkes

Granted, Ashley Wilkes is a character from “Gone With the Wind” and not an actual person, but it’s still rather jarring to know that the formation of the KKK is portrayed in the famous movie. The KKK was born in the aftermath of the Civil War, in 1866. The earliest inception of the group was to protect women and other citizens from the shanty towns that sprang up all over the south once the war ended. From these lofty ideals, the group quickly devolved into an organization bent on oppression and terror. Ashley Wilkes is like a great many real white southerners who joined the organization with good intentions in mind. But that was way back in 1866.

Nathan Bedford Forrest

Denton’s Real Dad/Twitter

To be specific, the KKK began in Tennessee. The white hoods and sheets were meant to represent the ghosts of the Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. But soon, the group was more about terrorizing blacks than it was about protecting whites. The KKK rode at night, perpetrating raids on areas where blacks lived. Nathan Bedford Forrest, former Confederate general, was in command of the KKK until 1868. He formally disbanded the group at this point, appalled by the violence of it. The KKK lived on, however.

Hugo L. Black

Ira Gay Sealy/Denver Post/Getty Images

Congress created a committee in 1871 to investigate the Klan, and passed the civil rights act of 1871 to help curtail the group’s activities. But years later, the KKK would infiltrate the highest levels of government. We’re referring, of course, to Supreme Court Justice Hugo L. Black, a trial attorney from Alabama who joined the group in 1923. He was appointed to the Court in 1937, and there is no clear evidence that he ever left the KKK. Black is to the far left in this photo, standing with two other justices.

William McKinley

John Parrot/stocktrek Images/Stocktrek Images/Getty Images

President William McKinley, from Ohio, was a member of the KKK. He served in office from 1897 to 1901. McKinley is to the left here, next to his Vice President Theodore Roosevelt.

Woodrow Wilson


The KKK had fallen out of fashion, but it became extremely popular right after World War I. President Woodrow Wilson was in office from 1913 to 1921, for the whole of the war and its immediate aftermath. He was also a member of the KKK.

Warren G. Harding


In the 1920s, the group reached its highest numbers in history with close to 4 million members. The KKK was highly influential in politics at this time. Warren G. Harding was President from 1921 to 1923, and died in office. Harding was purportedly sworn into the KKK while in the White House.

Gutzon Borglum


The artist who created Mount Rushmore, Gutzon Borglum, was an active member of the KKK. He reportedly served on one of their councils. When his involvement with the group came to light later, he publicly denounced the KKK.

Calvin Coolidge


Calvin Coolidge, President of the United States, served in office from 1923 to 1929 and was an active KKK member. The KKK became much less popular in the late 1920s, as more about its violent actions became widely known. Membership went down to 40,000 by 1929, and states began passing anti-mask laws to curb KKK activity.

Harry S. Truman

Afp/AFP/Getty Images

The KKK continued to operate throughout the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, and times were volatile for many African-Americans. Harry S. Truman was President from 1945 to 1953. Truman was a KKK member for about two years, but fell out with the group because he believed Roman Catholics should be allowed to be in politics.

Robert Byrd

Manny Ceneta/Getty Images News/Getty Images

West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd joined the KKK in the 1940s at the age of 24. He served in the Senate for nearly six decades. The KKK experienced a brief resurgence in the 1960s, and violently opposed the Civil Rights movement. The KKK was directly responsible for the murder of several civil rights workers and attacks on activists at this time. But the glory days were over. The KKK would get weaker and weaker after this.



The KKK fractured into small splinter groups and had a membership of less than 10,000 by the 1990s. The KKK has weathered several lawsuits and arrests, not to mention laws and ordinances that prevent them from engaging in their various activities.

In a bizarre re-branding, one KKK chapter announced recently that it is accepting homosexuals, African-Americans, and Jewish people into the group. The Klan currently has between 5,000 and 8,000 members nationwide.

10 Times Explorers May Have Discovered America Before Columbus Did It 0 3

By the time Christopher Columbus mis-navigated his way to the West Indies, the New World was already old news to many others. These are all the people who discovered America before Columbus made his much more famous voyage.

The Native Americans


There are still many questions about where the Native Americans travelled from. Many believe that immigrants from Asia came to the Americas 40,000 to 13,000 years ago, though they may have come from two separate places. Either way, they are technically the first people to discover America. Upon finding it, they began to build communities and populate the land. But many, many others would come after them.

Egyptian Traders


Ancient Egyptians may have traded with South American tribes around 1,000 B.C. Scientists can’t figure out any other explanation for the amount of tobacco and coca, found only in the Americas, discovered in Egyptian mummies. It is a proven fact that ancient Egyptians traded extensively with other civilizations.

Lehi The Prophet


According to the Book of Mormon, an ancient prophet and his followers sailed to the Americas around 600 B.C. Lehi, the prophet, lived in Jerusalem when he was told by the Lord to leave and find the promised land. Lehi built a ship and set out on a voyage across the ocean. He landed in the Americas. The story was later recorded for the Book. DNA evidence proves that Native Americans do not originate from the Middle East, however, and there are no artifacts to verify this legend.

The Irish Navigator


Saint Brendan the Navigator did a great deal of missionary work throughout Ireland, sailing all around the British Isles to spread Christianity. According to legend, he even sailed off across the ocean. He built a boat and took 18 to 150 men, depending on which account you read, in search of the Garden of Eden. He found a Paradise at the end of his journey and sailed all the way back to Ireland to tell tales of it. He was absent for seven years. The legend was passed down orally for many centuries before it was finally recorded on paper, and no evidence of Irish artifacts has been discovered in the Americas. Some say the story is merely allegory, and does not refer to an actual voyage at all, but many historians wonder if Brendan’s tall tales were really truth.

Leif Erikson


Leif Erikson, Viking explorer, legitimately did discover the New World around 1000 AD. He discovered Novia Scotia, though he named it Vinland. Later, a settlement was built there. Newfoundland is home to the oldest European settlement in the Americas. More than 2,000 Viking artifacts have been discovered there that date to the days of Leif Erikson.

Prince Madoc

The Athenaeum

Welsh lore tells of the voyage of Prince Madoc. One of the illegitimate sons of the king of Gwynedd, he sailed from the north Welsh coast in two ships. They were headed west, and legend says that they landed near present-day Alabama. He returned to Wales telling fantastic tales of the western land he found, and convinced others to join him on a second voyage. After he left in 1171, he was never seen in Wales again. There is some sketchy historic evidence to suggest that Madoc’s legend may be based on truth. Early American explorers told of the Mandans, a tribe of Indians with white skin who spoke a Welsh-like dialect. That tribe of Indians was decimated by smallpox in 1837, so there is no current evidence to support the Welsh legend.

Abu Bakr II

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In 1311, the emperor of Mali was Abu Bakr II. His kingdom encompassed most of West Africa and he had great wealth. But he gave it all up, and abdicated his throne, to take a great voyage to the west. He sailed away with upwards of 2,000 boats, according to legend, and never did return to Mali. Most of the legend was passed down orally, and so far no concrete evidence has been found to prove he landed in the Americas.

Polynesian Explorers

Atom Voyages

All Polynesians are descended from the same seafaring people who sailed all over the Pacific. They built colonies on Easter Island, New Zealand, and Hawaii. They may have made it all the way to the western shores of America. DNA evidence shows that they made have found the Americas sometime between 500 and 700. Historians have doubted this possibility because the Polynesians used raft-like boats that are not prudent for long ocean voyages. </p

Henry Sinclair


Henry Sinclair was Scotland’s Admiral of the Seas, and tasked with pacifying Shetland around 1390. He had 13 warships at his disposal when a fisherman showed up telling a story of an amazing land to the west. He’d been driven way off course by storms to discover it. Legend holds that Sinclair took his ships out past Greenland and discovered a “fertile land.” He came back to Scotland in 1399 and told stories of his journey. He planned to return, in fact, but was killed in battle in 1400. The documents supporting this legend are in question by historians, who say they may be forged. However, there was a tribe in Nova Scotia who told tales of a King who came from an island far away, only to stay for a year and sail away again. Sinclair’s grandson built the Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland, pictured, which has carvings that resemble corn and cactus plants. You can only find those in America.

Zheng He


Zheng He was a famed Chinese explorer, leading voyages all over the Indian Ocean. He set out with 20,000 men and dozens of ships to the Atlantic, and definitely made it as far as Africa. He made at least seven voyages from 1405 to 1433. Zheng He was believed to be lost at sea in 1433. Some have theorized that Zheng He went all the way to America. There is a map, said to be Chinese in origin, that supports this theory. No other evidence of Zheng He in the Americas has ever been found.

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