They Put A Man On The Moon

Neil Armstrong On The Moon

Neil Armstrong, who died on Saturday, reminds us how little we remember about space exploration in the early 1970s.

It's almost like we forgot how significant it was. "Of course we've been on the moon!" But let's not forget that no one has walked on the moon since 1972.

Here are a few key points to keep you up to speed.

  • Twelve people in total have been on the moon. All have been Americans. That's right - no Russians. (We thought they'd been there, too.)
  • The moon is 384,400 km from earth, and it takes three days, three hours and 49 minutes to get there.
  • Neil Armstrong spent 21:31:20 on the moon (2.5 hours of that outside of the spacecraft).
  • The expression "The Eagle has landed" was coined by Armstrong, who said that when the lunar module (called the Eagle) landed on the moon.
  • The most famous picture of the astronauts on the moon is of Buzz Aldrin, taken by Neil Armstrong, where you can see Armstrong and Apollo 11 in the reflection. There's another famous shot of Armstrong climbing into the Lunar Module.
  • Most of the flags planted by the astronauts over the years are still standing on the moon, with the exception of the one planted by Apollo 11, which, as Buzz Aldrin reported, was knocked over by the exhaust when they took off.
  • Gene Cernan was the last man on the moon (1972). Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon was released the following year.
  • Apollo 13 did make it to the moon (see the Tom Hanks film), though 11-17 did.
  • Through Apollo 14, astronauts were quarantined for 21 days after landing until it was determined that nothing 'living' was to b found on the moon.