The dark side of the moon landings


2015-06-26 11:36:46


The dark side of the moon landings

What you didn't know about that small step for man

Buzz Aldrin's first names are Edwin and Eugene. His nickname 'Buzz' came from his younger sister, who referred to him as 'Buzzer' as a child, finding the word 'brother' difficult. Aldrin made it his legal name in 1988.

Aldrin took communion from a wafer-and-wine-for-one kit prepared for the purpose before Neil Armstrong and he walked on the moon. There is a widespread story that Armstrong converted to Islam after hearing a Muslim call to prayer whilst on the moon, but this is untrue.

President Nixon had a speech prepared in case the moon module containing the two moonwalkers failed to re-connect with the command module, leaving pilot Michael Collins with a miserable journey home alone:

""These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice."

This must have seemed quite likely when Aldrin disturbed a crucial circuit breaker. It could have prevented the module re-launching, but he realised that it could be pushed back into place with a felt-tip pen.

When the module did successfully re-launch, it knocked over the American flag which had just been planted there.

Along with the American flag, and dispensable equipment, items left on the moon included:

  1. A patch from the never-launched Apollo 1 mission which lost three astronauts to an explosive fire during training.

  2. Medals honouring Russians Vladimir Komarov and Yuri Gagarin, two of the first men to go into space, who had died in 1967 and 1968

  3. A gold pin shaped like an olive branch

  4. Messages of support from world leaders

More impromptu repairs were needed back on Earth, when the bearing on an antenna crucial for communicating with the astronauts before splashdown failed.

Dismantling it would have taken too long so Charles Force, director of the tracking station, sent home for his ten-year-old son Greg, in the hope his small hands could reach in and fix the bearing with grease. This worked, and Neil Armstrong sent the boy a rare personalised thank you note.

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