5 Things You Didn't Know About The Apollo Missions

On December 11, 1972, man landed on the moon for the last time during the Apollo 17 mission. Here are 5 shocking facts that you probably didn't know about the Apollo missions...

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You Can Thank NASA’s Apollo Program for Many New Convenience Items A number of household items were invented because they were needed on the space missions for the Apollo program. Probably the most commonly used invention is the portable vacuum cleaner (a.k.a. the Dustbuster) because NASA required a lightweight, cordless vacuum. Cordless tools such as cordless drills, grass shears and shrub trimmers also have a background with the Apollo missions. Both the mini cordless vacuum and motors for the cordless drill and other tools were developed using a computer program designed by Black & Decker.

NASA Was Sued Because of Apollo XII Astronauts Jim Lovell, Bill Anders, and Frank Borman were circling around the moon on Christmas Eve 1968 and decided to recite a passage from Genesis in celebration of the holiday. Madalyn Murray O’Hair, an atheist who was more than a little vocal about her views, sued NASA, saying that the astronauts’ Bible passage violated her constitutional rights. Although the lawsuit was dismissed, it created a legal hassle for NASA, so the astronauts never referred again to anything having to do with religion.

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An Emmy Was Awarded to Apollo VII’s Crew Apollo 7 introduced superstars when astronauts Walter Cunningham, Wally Schirra and Donn Eisele broadcast for the first time on live television from their spacecraft. Nicknamed the “Wally, Walt and Donn Show,” they gave tours of Apollo 7 and showed how they prepared meals without gravity, as well as cracked jokes throughout. The broadcasts were so well received by the television audience that when the astronauts returned to Earth, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences gave them a special Emmy for their efforts.

There Was no Apollo II or III A horrific accident that killed astronauts Edward White, Roger Chaffee, and Virgil Grissom in 1967 led to it being renamed Apollo I after the three men died in a fire that broke out onboard their command module. However, there were three unmanned flights that had taken place earlier called AS-201, AS-202, and AS-203. It was decided that the 1967 flight that was never launched would be called Apollo 1 in honor of the deceased astronauts, and the following mission would then be Apollo IV.

There’s a Man-Made Memorial Installed on The Moon The crew of Apollo 15 left a tiny, human-shaped statuette—commissioned by commander David Scott from a Belgian artist—on the top of Mons Hadley (one of the moon’s highest known peaks) as a memorial to fallen astronauts from the American and Soviet space programs. Other items still sitting on the moon? About 500 crashed modules, two golf balls, TV cameras, used wet wipes, hammers/tongs/rakes, and, without fail, 96 bags of urine, feces, and vomit.