The Most Bizarre Things Astronauts Have Left Behind on the Moon
From the weird (page 4) to the disgusting (page 6), we share some of the most bizarre items astronauts have left behind on the moon, ahead.
A family photo
When astronaut Charles Duke visited the moon in April 1972, he left behind something very close to his heart: His family.
Don’t worry — he didn’t actually leave his family to fend for themselves in the galaxy. He left behind a photo of them (phew!). The back of the photo reads “this is the family of Astronaut Duke from Planet Earth. Landed on the Moon, April 1972” and is signed by Duke, his wife, and their two sons.
Next: America marks its territory.
While there’s nothing bizarre about placing an American flag on the moon, leaving behind six of them is a little much. Following the first American flag — left by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin — six more were left behind by Apollo missions.
That said, the first one is the only one that remains upright and all of the flags have most-likely experienced extreme bleaching due to the moon’s extreme weather conditions.
Next: World peace
Golden olive branch
Because the galaxy doesn’t belong to one planet — or one country — many of the objects left on the moon symbolize peace. Case in point: The golden olive branch left behind by the Apollo 11 crew.
According to NASA, astronaut Neil Armstrong was in charge of placing the replica on the moon and “the gesture represents a fresh wish for peace for all mankind.”
Next: This scientist was dying to see the moon.
Planetary geologist Eugene Shoemaker had always dreamed of visiting the moon. But, unfortunately, he never made it up there while he was alive. Instead, his fellow scientists did him a solid and took his ashes there.
Shoemaker’s urn is wrapped in a piece of brass foil with a passage from Romeo and Juliet that reads:
“And, when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night,
And pay no worship to the garish sun.”
Next: Tiger Woods has nothing on this shot.
Golf lovers will be happy to know what two golf balls reside on the moon. While that would be one hell of a swing, the golf balls aren’t there as an optical illusion.
When Alan Shepard visited the moon in 1971, he became the very first man to play golf in space. The golf balls are still there.
Next: The most disgusting thing left on the moon.
Bags of poop
Golf balls, ashes, and American flags weren’t the only strange things left behind by astronauts — bags of human waste and vomit were too. That said, there’s a perfectly good explanation for this one.
Because astronauts have to take back samples from their mission, there isn’t always enough room on the way back. So, instead of bringing their bags of excrement back with them, they left them behind.
Next: Galileo! Galileo!
When astronaut Dave Scott visited the moon, he had a special experiment in mind: To test Galileo’s idea that “gravity pulls all bodies equally regardless of weight.” Scott experimented by dropping a hammer and a falcon feather at the same time — and, as it turns out, Galileo was right.
The feather used in the experiment was plucked from the Air Force Academy’s falcon mascot and still remains on the moon.
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