Each week Albany Herald researcher Mary Braswell looks for interesting events, places and people from the past. You can contact her at (229) 888-9371 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Moon Day is Saturday! Here is a look back at all things "moony."
THE MOON WALKERS
• Apollo 11 left Kennedy Space Center on July 16, 1969. On July 20, 1969 the Eagle, a lunar module, landed on the moon at 4:17 p.m. EDT. Neil Armstrong, first on the moon, spent the next 2 1/4 hours "walking" on the moon's surface with Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin Jr. The infamous walk was documented by only 11 pictures, most of which were taken by Armstrong.
• Neil Armstrong actually had a license to fly an aircraft before he was licensed to drive a car. Time in space: 8 days, 14 hours, 12 minutes, and 30 seconds.
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• Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr. got his nickname from the way his sister said "buzzer" instead of brother. Time in space: 12 days, 1 hour and 52 minutes.
• Charles "Pete" Conrad Jr. battled dyslexia and failed the 11th grade. After changing schools, he excelled to such a degree that after graduation in 1949, he not only was admitted to Princeton University, but he was awarded a full Navy ROTC scholarship. Time in space: 49 days, 3 hours, 38 minutes.
• After retiring from the U.S. Navy in 1975 and NASA in 1981, Alan Bean pursued his interest in painting, depicting various space-related scenes. Time in space: 69 days, 15 hours, 45 minutes.
• In 1959, Alan Shepard was one of 110 military test pilots invited by the newly formed National Aeronautics and Space Administration to volunteer for the first U.S. manned space flight program. While on the moon, he hit a golf ball and drove it 2,400 feet — nearly half a mile. Time in space: 9 days, 57 minutes.
• Edgar Mitchell was selected to be an astronaut in 1966. He was designated as backup lunar module pilot for Apollo 10 and flew as lunar module pilot on Apollo 14, where he spent nine hours working on the lunar surface. Time in space: 9 days, 1 minute.
• David Scott made his third and final flight into space as commander of the Apollo 15 mission, becoming the seventh person to walk on the Moon and the first person to drive on the Moon. Time in space: 22 days, 18 hours, 53 minutes.
• James Benson Irwin served as Lunar Module pilot for Apollo 15. He was the eighth person to walk on the Moon and the first — and youngest — of the moonwalkers to die. He was only 61. Time in space: 12 days, 7 hours, 12 minutes.
• John Watts Young graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1952. Young flew the Command Module solo as Apollo 10 set the record for the highest speed attained by any manned vehicle at 24,791 mph. Time in space: 34 days, 19 hours, 39 minutes.
• As lunar module pilot for Apollo 16 in 1972, Charles Duke became the 10th and youngest person to walk on the Moon at age 36 1/2. Duke is an Eagle Scout and recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America. Time in space: 11 days, 1 hour, 51 minutes.
• On Apollo 17, Eugene Cernan became the 11th person to walk on the Moon and "the last man on the Moon," since he was the last to re-enter the lunar module Challenger after the mission's third extra-vehicular activity. Time in space: 23 days, 14 hours, 15 minutes.
• Harrison Hagan "Jack" Schmitt was the 12th and last man to walk on the Moon, as Apollo 17 crewmate Eugene Cernan exited the Apollo Lunar Module first. Schmitt is only person to have walked on the Moon who was never a member of the U.S. armed forces. Time in space: 12 days, 13 hours, 52 minutes.
• Moon Pies were first introduced in Chattanooga, Tenn., about the time of the Great Depression. The graham cracker crusts were filled with the recently introduced marshmallow cream fluff. Chocolate was later added. A favorite in the South, moon pies are often enjoyed with an RC Cola, a soft drink developed in 1905 by Claud A. Hatcher, a pharmacist in Columbus.
• The moonwalk is a dance technique that presents the illusion of the dancer being pulled backwards while attempting to walk forward. A popping move, it became popular after Michael Jackson executed the dance move during a performance of "Billie Jean" on March 25, 1983.
• "Goodnight Moon" is a children's book written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd. It was first published in 1947. Annual sales grew from about 1,500 copies in 1953 to 20,000 in 1970. Most recent numbers show 10 million copies have sold . In 2005, publisher HarperCollins digitally altered the photograph of illustrator Hurd, which had been on the book for at least 20 years, to remove a cigarette.
• Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" is the band's bestselling album, having sold 40 million copies worldwide.
• Secret agent James Bond went to the moon in the 1979 film "Moonraker."
• Mooning is the act of displaying one's bare buttocks by lowering the backside of one's pants and underwear and bending over. Mooning is used mostly in the English-speaking world to express protest, scorn, disrespect or provocation, but can also simply be done for the shock value or fun.
• Audrey Hepburn sang "Moon River" in the movie "Breakfast at Tiffany's." It was composed by Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini to fit Hepburn's vocal style.
• Keith Moon was best known as the drummer of the rock group The Who. He was well known for his unique drumming style, and gained notoriety for his eccentric and often self-destructive behavior. Moon joined The Who in 1964 and remained a member until his early death in 1978 at the age of 32 after he overdosed on Heminevrin, a drug designed to help curb alcohol abuse.
JUST THE FACTS...
• From Earth, we always see the same side of the moon; the other side is always hidden.
• The moon has a diameter of 2,000 miles. In area, it is about the same as the continent of Africa.
• The moon does not have its own light source but reflects light from the sun.
• Footprints left on the moon by Apollo astronauts will remain indefinitely. There is no wind, weather or erosion to remove them.