50 years of Apollo 11 : 5 facts unusual on a mission of legend

Postcards of the Moon



No need to make a drawing, any trip on the Moon involves enormous risks. But the three heroes had not the means to pay for life insurance : we dare not even imagine the price charged by an insurer, knowing the nature of the trip…
Not to worry, Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins have found the parade to bring their families to the shelter, if by chance the accident so dreaded was to happen. They have autographed dozens of postcards, that their families would be able to sell extremely expensive after their death. Today, one still finds from time to time trace of some of these postcards in auctions, where they tear, of course, the price of gold.


A tribute that transgresses the Cold War


The three astronauts have left a certain amount of material on the Moon. A certain amount of trash, certainly, but also objects that are more symbolic. In addition to the famous american flag that was immortalized several times, the trio legendary has also released another tribute. All in humility, and in spite of the climate of hatred between Americans and Soviets, they have also left of the medallions as a tribute to Yuri Gagarin, the first man to be gone in space, and Vladimir Komarov, both died in tragic circumstances.


Apollo, it is also the story of a pen


The famous Space Pen – © NASA

The shipping came a whole slew of instruments specially designed to operate in space. Among them : a pen is pressurized, the “Space pen”, which is able to write in the absence of gravity and under pressure conditions and temperature extremes. But this is not for his ability to write in all the conditions that this pen has remained in the annals.
On return from their first walk on lunar, the crew realizes that the button of the switch that is used to the firing of the engine lift is broken…
Gold, impossible to relaunch and return to the fold without this piece. But it is without counting the resources of Aldrin, which will be able to replace the push button with the pen. Even if the crew would have probably ended up finding another solution, this pen has remained as the symbol of improvisations in which any traveler of space must be able to. Aldrin stated that he still held the switch is broken and the pen today !


Your papers !


A statement such as the customs did not see never. © NASA

On their return to Earth, the three heroes had to perform a few administrative steps rather unexpected with u.s. customs, as any traveler wishing to enter the united States !
They have, therefore, to put oneself in good standing and submit all the necessary documents, in proper and due form. Among the information requested : passport, number of the flight (Apollo 11), route (Moon / Honolulu, Hawaii), and even luggage ! In this case, it was 22 kilograms of dust collected on the Moon.
And when a request to clarify whether the passengers board the equipment presenting a Risk of possible infectious agents that can cause an epidemic, the team could not pass up the opportunity to respond “to be determined”. They earned three weeks of quarantine on their return, by precautionary principle.


The trash bag of Apollo


The first picture taken on the lunar soil : the garbage. © NASA

This day has given birth to a number of images that have become famous. We can quote the famous american flag, or especially the portrait of Buzz Aldrin by Neil Armstrong in the Sea of Tranquility. But none of these two photos was the first picture taken after you set foot on the Moon. This honour goes indeed to an object much less shiny,
to know… a trash bag, which contained, inter alia, the “toilet” of the Apollo 11 mission.


The constraints in terms of hygiene are pretty obvious, when three adults must stay confined in a cabin narrow, and of course no bathroom. The astronauts then use special bags to make their need, an activity that is rather complex in the absence of gravity… There is, therefore, very likely that after four days locked in the module, the three men had only one desire : to get rid of this trash bag ! This perhaps explains why he was the subject of the first photograph on the moon…


To note that today, NASA is considering sincerely to go get these bags of excrement… In fact, it is of biological material, therefore, the analysis could be useful in the context of studies aiming to limit the contamination of other planets. What has not failed to respond Buzz Aldrin with the humor for which he is known.


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