The Truth About the Apollo Missions to the Moon Facts

Conspiracy theorists claim that Apollo missions were faked as an effort to undermine USSR dominance in space exploration, increase Nasa funding or simply divert attention away from Vietnam War issues. Their arguments typically rely on discrepancies within photographs or videos from these missions as evidence for this assertion.

Apollo 11

On July 21st 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made history when they set foot for the first time on the moon. People worldwide witnessed Armstrong take his initial step onto its surface televised across TV networks while hearing his famous words of wisdom “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind!”

Armstrong and Aldrin arrived safely aboard Eagle after disembarking from Columbia and began setting up scientific equipment, taking photos of both themselves and of the lunar surface, speaking with mission control in Houston and planting a flag while collecting 47 pounds of lunar samples.

As soon as they returned to Earth, the crew were quarantined for 21 days at Ellington Air Force Base in Houston. Here they are seen exiting a C-141 aircraft as they undergo inspection for any diseases they might have picked up while exploring the moon.

Apollo 12

Pete Conrad and Al Bean made up Apollo 12’s crew, which launched from Kennedy Space Center during a rainy day. Lightning struck during its initial minute of flight, crippling most of Saturn V’s power but allowing its operation to resume thanks to an alternative source.

After an initial docking between the Command and Service Module Yankee Clipper and Lunar Module Intrepid, Apollo 12 astronauts executed an precision lunar landing within walking distance of where NASA’s Surveyor 3 probe had touched down two years earlier. Apollo 12 also met numerous scientific objectives.

Celestia notes that this moonrise sequence echoes Apollo 14 (AS14-66-9224). Both missions landed in Oceanus Procellarum – or “Ocean of Storms”. Furthermore, their orbital planes were identical.

Apollo 14

NASA made significant modifications to their command and service modules during the 10 month gap between Apollo 13’s abortive attempt and Apollo 14, including redesigning oxygen tanks to reduce the chance of accidental fires, as well as providing isolated backup systems for power, water, and oxygen supplies.

Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell of Apollo 14 conducted two extravehicular activities (EVA), collecting rock samples, deploying surface instruments, and returning with priceless data about our nearest space neighbor. They also hit golf balls using makeshift clubs while making use of Buddy Life Support System which would enable an astronaut to transfer life support capability between crewmembers in case of emergencies.

Apollo 14 astronauts successfully landed the Lunar Module less than 200 feet from their target, and Shepard described its surface as so soft it came up close to their footpads on landing. They attempted to reach Cone Crater during their second moonwalk but the undulating terrain prevented this goal.

Apollo 15

Apollo 15 mission, launched July 26, 1971, featured many impressive highlights that will remain iconic today, such as the collection of Genesis Rock believed to be part of the Moon’s early crust and an experiment in which crew member David Scott dropped feather and hammer to demonstrate Galileo’s theory that objects fall at equal rates when there is no air resistance.

Commander Dave Scott, Command Module Pilot Alfred Worden and Lunar Module Pilot Jim Irwin conducted three Extravehicular Activities (EVAs). These expeditions allowed them to explore Hadley-Apennine region – including Hadley Rille which was formed by lava flows – as well as Hadley Rille.

The astronauts used a new suite of lunar science instruments to collect data both on the surface and from orbit, including panoramic cameras, gamma-ray spectrometer, mapping camera, laser altimeter and lunar subsatellite. On their return voyage Worden made a 39-minute spacewalk to retrieve film from one of these cameras.

Apollo 16

Harrison Schmitt was overjoyed when, on the final Apollo mission, he discovered orange soil at Shorty Crater and was overjoyed that astronauts had only seen dark-haloed dirt prior to this discovery. This discovery provided evidence that the Moon once had volcanic activity.

John Young and Charles Duke began their first EVA by depressurizing the Lunar Module and donning their spacesuits, then lowering an equipment transfer bag onto the surface and beginning collecting samples. Later they drove to North Ray Crater where they climbed House Rock for further sampling before finding permanent shadowed soil samples at North Ray Crater.

After visiting Buster Crater, John Young provided a demonstration drive of the lunar rover while also conducting magnetic field experiments. They made several additional stops and completed other tasks before returning to their LM where they fired their SPS engine for two seconds to celebrate their accomplishment.

Apollo 17

The Apollo 17 mission marked the final lunar landing and ended the Apollo program. NASA felt obliged to send along one of their scientist pilots on this final landing and geologist Harrison Schmitt flew as commander for this mission.

On their inaugural Extravehicular Activity (EVA), the astronauts collected a house-size rock sample at Shorty Crater and measured the strength of gravity. In addition, they deployed Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP), with heat flow experiments and seismic profiling capabilities.

Cernan and Schmitt conducted the second EVA in Steno crater and deployed more experiments. Houston instructed them to leave behind the hammer; however, Schmitt begged to throw it and managed to successfully launch it into space! Finally they closed out their lunar module before returning back to Earth – it was one of Apollo’s longest moonwalks!

Apollo 18

After the tragedy on Apollo 13, Apollo 18 was postponed until 1978. Had it flown, its crew would have explored Copernicus Crater and returned with some of its most stunning imagery ever captured by NASA.

One of the key missions objectives would have been exploring Schroter’s Valley on the Moon’s sinuous rilles (lava tubes). Planetary geologists were particularly drawn to Schroter’s Valley because its rock had survived billions of micrometeorite impacts over billions of years compared with other lunar samples that had been dispersed into dust by micrometeorites.

Apollo 18’s crew would also attempt to solve the puzzle of Transient Lunar Phenomena (TLP), reddish glows observed at multiple lunar sites that may indicate volcanic outgassing – something which would challenge popular perception that the Moon was geologically dead.

Apollo 19

Apollo 19 was the fourth and final successful crewed lunar mission, led by Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell respectively. Their astronauts spent more time, explored further, and conducted more scientific research than any previous Apollo crew to date.

Armstrong and Aldrin returned to Earth after 21 hours on the Moon and used the service module’s engines to leave lunar orbit and land safely in the Pacific Ocean.

Surveyor 6 made its landing in Sinus Medii and conducted numerous tests with its engine to see if it would blow up its landing site and create a crater – to no avail; and sent its final transmission on December 17, 1967.

Apollo 20

The fourth and final Apollo mission successfully landed on the Moon’s highlands. Astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt spent over seventy-one hours working and taking samples on its surface, driving their lunar rover around as well as drilling into it with drills.

NASA had high hopes that they would find an exotic rock called pink spinel anorthosite which could reveal information about the Moon’s molten core and examine Copernicus Crater to study its central peak and sample its ring of boulders, much like an old-fashioned volcano. Unfortunately, as the Cold War ended and Strategic Arms Limitations Talks reduced missile production significantly, NASA gradually scaled back their plans.

Apollo 21

Armstrong and Aldrin made a daring lunar landing aboard LM Eagle in the Sea of Tranquility. From here they explored, deployed science experiments and collected samples.

Armstrong and Aldrin spent two hours walking outside their lunar module for their single moonwalk, during which time they displayed the American flag, read an inscription plaque, read aloud an excerpt from an inscription plaque, took photos and deployed science experiments before collecting rock samples and soil samples from around Earth.

Astronauts on Gemini and Apollo missions typically enjoyed listening to adult contemporary and country music during their spacecraft’s cabin, with Neil Armstrong adding something more exotic: theremin music. Astronauts used it to understand the complex physics of space. Furthermore, paper star charts were carried to take star sightings using sextant or crosscheck computer navigation systems; their mission marked an important step toward human exploration beyond Earth’s orbit – marking their success on race to moon missions that followed.

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