The Man on the Moon Had a Face
The Leftovers Listing & The Apollo Top 10 List & Leftovers The Crews Didn't Enjoy
See the Lunar Golf Shot as an Animated gif (440 KB)
Rear Admiral (then Captain) Alan B. Shepard, USN (1923-1998), Apollo 14 Commander, and the fifth man to set foot on the Moon, placed a modified six iron head on the contingency sample return handle, and tried a few one-handed shots. The Extravehicular Mobility Unit, the lunar pressure suit, was too restrictive for a proper two-handed swing. The first ball took three swings to get a good shot; Shepard topped, dribbled, and finally connected. He then got the hang of it: one good swing sent the second ball arching at least a few tens of meters. Shepard's exclamation that the ball travelled "miles and miles and miles" was just lunar golfer's bragging rights.
Above are a couple of photos of one of the two balls. Some reports suggest the brand was Titelist, and Spaulding even issued a "Moon Ball" series, but Shepard never told which company made these rather famous lunar relics. While this event may have appeared spontaneous on TV, NASA management approved the action ahead of time - provided the Lunar surface activities had gone well up to that time. The object next to the ball is the mast for the Solar Wind Collection experiment, thrown like a javelin by CDR Edgar D. Mitchell, USN, the Lunar Module Pilot. So ended the first Lunar Games, February 1971. ("From the Earth to the Moon" Copyright 1998 HBO Productions)
Of course, some might suggest it was easy to ace a hole that is several meters in diameter. But, Al still celebrated this unique event for many years, beginning on the way back from the Moon...
"Hmm, hey, that could be them... no, it's just a really big grey rock... Wait, that's gotta be the LM... heck, it's another big grey rock."
Each CMP had varying degrees of success with the available optics in the CM (a 28 power sextant), but on Apollos 15, 16, and 17 the Scientific Instrument Module (SIM) sensor suite aboard the Service Module had the best shot at finding the landing site. Lt Col Alfred Worden, USAF, and his SIM did a pretty good job, based on this image (right) from Apollo 15 Command Module Endeavor in August 1971 (Credit: Markus Mehring on lunar orbital imaging).
Here are the individual 15, 16 & 17 landing sites, respectively. The shadow of the LM made a pretty good target for the search:
The first wheeled vehicle used by men was this little equipment cart (image: far left) called the Modularized Equipment Transport (MET). Apollo 14 was the only flight to carry one. Leftovers that didn't make it to the surface: (image: center-left and center) the first motorized wheels might have been one of these two sporty little motorcycles if the Lunar Roving Vehicle hadn't been ready in time. However, results of initial tests suggested four wheels were much more stable than two, particularly with a fully pressure-suited rider in 1/6 g. The actual vehicle was pretty nifty - and was of course Boeing's only automobile. And, who could forget the rocket-powered "Pogo Stick," (image: far right) which probably gets the honors for looniest lunar transportation attempt.
Space enthusiast & Troubadour Jimmy Buffett kind of mentions them in his 1999 album:
"There are relics from Apollo trips,
When the Earthmen came to play,
And a hammock from a distant star,
Out in the Milky Way."
(Copyright 1999 Margaritaville Records)