Men on the Moon

Given that just 12 men have walked on the Moon, how many can you name. More than two is good. I can do most, but get the mission numbers a bit confused (mind, I don’t remember what I had for breakfast).

So here they are:

11 Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin

12 Pete Conrad, Alan Bean

14 Alan Shepherd, Edgar Mitchell

15 Dave Scott, Jim Irwin

16 John Young, Charlie Duke

17 Gene Cernan, Harrison Schmitt

As I write, four are still alive: Aldrin, Duke, Schmitt and Scott.

Apollo 13, of course, was due to land on the Moon but an explosion aborted the mission.

Did it really happen?

Apparently, one American in 20 does not believe we went to the Moon. One in 10 does not believe we have ever been in Space. A similar number believe that the Earth is flat (and that the Eater Bunny is real too, I guess).

All the interest in space has brought all the nut cases out of the woodwork.

Some really are just nutty. I guess they actually believe it was all a conspiracy and a fake, filmed by Kubrick just like the film Capricorn One.

I don’t know why people listen to these folk. They talk nonsense. Just because you can say it, doesn’t mean it’s true. Here are some arguments the Discovery Channel is using to suggest it’s a fake:

  • the flag blows in the wind on the “Moon”
  • man would die when pasing through the van Allen belts
  • America couldn’t trust the astronauts to complete the task so they faked it
  • Wernher von Braun was a Nazi so we didn’t go to the Moon
  • there is no real evidence of going to the Moon
  • if they had gone into space, where are all the pictures of the Earth?
  • you can’t see anything on the Moon that proves we went

and so on.

I don’t know why the media give these stupid people the time of day. It’s a failing of our educational system that folk believe in nonsensical things.

Mythbusters categorically disproved every popular fake theory a few years ago. I am sure you can find it and others on YouTube.

And ask yourelf this question. Why would they fake it? It would need hundreds of thousands of people to be in on the conspiracy and for all of them never to admit such a fake existed.


It was great to see so much space stuff on tv, in the press and at the cinema. You would imagine there isn’t much left to be said about it all, but there were new things, and certainly things forgotten.

The BBC has the regular long running The Sky at Night and it was great to see James Burke talking about his work on tv at that time.

Sadly many like Patrick Moore, Walter Cronkite, Arthur C Clarke and many others are long gone. And one of the prime movers of the USA space programme, Chris Kraft, died just the other day, as the celebrations were proceeding.

It was, of course, a space war. A war with Russia. Facts come out about what the Russians intended to do. It is always said that they intended to land a man on the Moon before the USA, but the evidence that this is a real threat is very sketchy. Certainly, theLuna 15 unmanned craft was intended to get to the Moon, retrieve samples and return before Apollo 11 succeeded, but it crashed on the Moon’s surface.

Remember, no person of any nationality other than American has walked on the Moon, and no woman has. Had the Apollo series continued, that might have happened.

What was the point?

You can ask the question, what was the point of space exploration and Apollo 11, what did it achieve?

In some ways, superficial things. In many ways, it was a deeply profound, great achievement in history.

It fulfilled Kennedy’s challenge.

It was great PR.

It beat the Russians in the cold war space race.

Geological samples started to give us new insight into the Earth, our origin, the universe.

New manufacturing techniques, new things that were invented for space exploration, have impacted our lives ever since. No, not just non-stick frying pans, but eart pacemakers, computers, cell phones, the Internet, communications satellites, velcro, artificial limbs, the list is almost endless.

But, it proved it could be done. Man has finally taken a step off our home world.