The Top 5 Things You Don’t Know About the Moon Landings

The fact that Americans have stood on the surface of the moon is still a source of pride and awe, nearly 45 years after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took their first lunar steps. That said, most people know very little about the success story that is the Apollo program. And it’s beyond strange how many people still think the whole thing was one elaborate fake.

5 Apollo 1 Never Took Place

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The very first Apollo mission, Apollo 1, never took place, as the command module caught fire during a training exercise and killed all three astronauts within it. These men were named Edward White, Virgil (Gus) Grissom and Roger Chaffee. As a tribute to those men, the astronauts of Apollo 11 left a patch commemorating the Apollo 1 mission on the surface of the moon. Just a little bit of tear-jerking moon nostalgia for you.

4 The American Flag the First Astronauts Planted on the Moon Stood Proudly … Until the Second the Astronauts Took off from the Moon

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The blast force of the lunar module’s rockets and the flying debris they kicked up managed to knock over the flag just hours after it had been planted. Subsequent astronauts learned from this mistake and planted their flags farther away from their takeoff sites, thus to leave our country’s mark on the moon – and to avoid the cosmic irony Buzz, Neil and Michael suffered.

3 Alan Shepard is the Only Human Being to Play Golf in Space

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In 1971, Alan Shepard (the first American in space during the Freedom 7 Mercury mission 10 year earlier) became the one and only human being to play golf in space. Using an eight-iron (in case you cared about that kind of thing), Mr. Shepard drove three balls across the lunar landscape—er, moonscape—and, let’s just assume, shot well under moon par.

2 Astronauts Discovered Armalcolite

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During the Apollo 11 mission, the astronauts discovered a mineral previously unknown to science. It was named armalcolite, which was an amalgam of the surnames of the Apollo 11 crew: Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins. Samples of the “semi-metallic” mineral have since been found on earth, mainly in Russia, but it was first discovered out of this world.

1 Apollo Missions 11, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17

The first thing that many people don’t realize about the moon landings is that they were, indeed, plural! Many Americans think there was but one mission to the moon, the famous first visit by the astronauts of Apollo 11. In fact, America has landed men on the moon no fewer than six separate times! Apollo missions 11, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17 all placed boots on the lunar ground.

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