Today in history... Apollo 14 lands on the Moon



2015-06-26 11:50:29

Today in history... Apollo 14 lands on the Moon

February 5, 1971: after a six-day journey from Earth, the fifth Moonwalker takes his first brave steps

On this day in 1971, Alan B Shepard Jr and Edgar D Mitchell became the fifth and sixth persons to set foot on the lunar surface.

Less than two years after Neil Armstrong's landmark giant leap for mankind, Apollo 14 - the eighth manned Moon mission - landed in the Moon's Fra Mauro formation.

This feat was all the more remarkable considering that it came less than a year after near disaster of Apollo 13, whose target was also Fra Mauro, still fresh in everyone's minds.

Armstrong and his fellow Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin had helped to open the door - but, with Shepard and Mitchell's mission, the science was stepped up a notch.

Over two EVAs - "Extra Vehicular Activities", or on-foot Moon explorations - lasting over nine hours and 20 minutes, Apollo 14 collected over 100 pounds of Moon rocks.

Shepard pitches the US flag on the lunar surface, in 1971 Shepard pitches the US flag on the lunar surface, in 1971

The pair also conducted several lunar surface experiments, including seismic studies.

Most memorable however, is Alan Shepard's legacy as the first man to play golf on another celestial body - an achievement not even Tiger Woods can boast.

Using a make-shift six iron golf club brought from Earth, Shepard can be seen in the above video hitting balls in the Moon's gravity.

Although he isn't a household name, Shepard also holds the singular status of being the very first American in space.

It was this provenance that resulted in a flown Command Module glass window from Apollo 14 - made from thick silica glass within a red outer seal - selling for five figures.

The glass would have been exposed to the vacuum of space for over 215 hours, and was the window through which Shepard had his first glimpse of the Moon.

Bearing Shepard's autograph on the frame, it realised $30,500 at Bonhams 2009 space sale.

Images: NASA and Bonhams

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