On December 11, 1972, Apollo 17 safely landed on the moon after launching from Earth four days prior. It was the 11th and final mission of the Apollo program, and the sixth NASA mission to put men on the moon. Here are 5 things you probably didn't know about the moon...
We Only See One Side Of The Moon All Of The Time
Because the moon rotates at the same speed as it goes around the Earth, we only see only 59 percent of it, and it’s always on the same side. On October 7, 1959, a Soviet spacecraft named Luna 3 flew by the Moon and took photos of the backside of the moon. The USSR Academy of Sciences used these photos in 1960 to publish an atlas of the Moon’s far side.
The Moon Has Had More Visitors Than You Might Think
More than 100 robotic spacecraft have been launched to explore the Moon from more than half a dozen countries. Nine crewed missions with 24 humans have flown to the Moon and back. So far, only 12 humans have stepped foot on the Moon and it is the only place in our solar system visited by humans other than Earth. The last time that happened was on this day in 1972.
Six American Flags Have Been Planted On The Moon Over the years, six different American flags were planted on the moon. But it doesn’t mean the United States has claimed it. There’s actually an international law that was written in 1967 that prevents any nation from owning any natural celestial objects. But flags aren’t the only items American astronauts have left behind Other items include scientific instruments. three golf balls left by Astronaut Alan Shepard, a signed photo of Charlie Duke’s family, a gold olive branch, and various bags of poop.
The Moon Was likely Formed During An Impact Scientists believe it’s likely a Mars-sized body collided with Earth about 4.5 billion years ago. The Moon as we know it resulted from the debris and was likely in a molten state initially, and then within about 100 million years, much of the magma eventually formed the lunar crust. NASA says if you put a single pea next to a nickel, you’d get a pretty good idea of the relative size difference between the Earth and Moon.
There Were Plans To Abandon The Astronauts On The Moon
For the Apollo 11 mission, a speech had been prepared for President Nixon titled "In the Event of Moon Disaster" to be read on television in case the astronauts were stranded on the moon. According to the plan, NASA was to cut off communications to the stranded astronauts. The president would have telephoned each of the widows-to-be, and then make the following speech:
"Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace."These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice."These two men are laying down their lives in mankind's most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding."They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown."In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man."In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood."Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man's search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts."For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind."