1971 – Alan Shepard plays golf on the Moon

The commander of the Apollo 14 mission, Alan Shepard holds several unique distinctions. He is the only member of the Mercury 7 astronauts to have walked on the Moon and also the oldest person to have walked there (in terms of age at the time he did it). His mission was the first to broadcast colour video from the surface of the Moon and made the most accurate landing of all the Apollo missions. And, of course, he is the first man to have hit golf balls (two of them) on the Moon.

Shepard came home to the hero’s welcome that astronauts traditionally received, and was promoted from Captain to Rear-Admiral after the successful completion of his mission. He retired from the US Navy and NASA, becoming a successful businessman, and eventually died from leukemia in 1998, 21 years to the day from Armstrong’s first moon walk.

His golf balls are presumably still somewhere on the lunar surface.

Referenced in:

Can’t Keep Johnny Down — They Might Be Giants

1969 – Armstrong and Aldrin walk on the Moon

Really, what needs to be said?

Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins took off from the Kennedy Space Center, near Cape Canaveral, Florida, on July 16. Four days later, the lunar landing module, carrying Armstrong and Aldrin, landed on the Moon. They were supposed to take a sleep break, but Armstrong was impatient to walk on the moon – and who could blame him?

It was July 21 (UTC) by the time they began the EVA. They stayed on the lunar surface for about 150 minutes (15 minutes longer than was originally a plan). During this time, the two spoke to President Nixon in the White House, planted an American flag on the Moon, performed a number of scientific experiments and took numerous photographs, all of them now iconic images.

Despite what you may have heard, it is highly unlikely that the landings were faked. I do not believe that they were, and neither does Buzz Aldrin.

Referenced in:

I Was Only 19 — Redgum
Man On The Moon — REM
Shrink — Dead Kennedys
Saturn 5 — Inspiral Carpets
We Didn’t Start The Fire — Billy Joel
Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins — The Byrds
For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and me — Jethro Tull