Space Exploration: Fun Facts

The United States ’ goal to send men into space has led to discoveries, historical achievements ... and some strange moments. We explore some of the most interesting, weird and wacky moments!

Brotherhood between Worlds

Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean brought with him to the moon the flag of his fraternity, Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE). He carried it in the sleeve of his space suit.
Lucky Number 13

Apollo 13, the infamous moon mission that almost ended in disaster, launched at 13:13 CST and had an oxygen tank explosion on April 13th.

'World' Record Golf Drive

Alan Shepard of Apollo 14, famously hit 2 golf balls on the surface of the moon with a 6 iron head he had smuggled onboard the Lunar Module. After swinging and missing a couple of times, he eventually hit the balls and famously said, "Miles and miles and miles."
A 'Rockin' Discovery

The mineral Armalcolite was discovered on the surface of the moon during the Apollo 11 mission and is named after the astronauts who found it. Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

In 1974, a radio-signal developed by scientists, including Dr. Frank Drake and Carl Sagan, was encoded into a binary and transmitted from the Arecibo radio telescope. Aimed at the star cluster M13, the signal was intended to show off the radio telescopes capabilities and to be a communication to possible alien races. When translated from binary to an image, it contains numerical, genetic and astronomical data about the human race.
The Golden Record

The Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft carry with them golden phonograph record. The disc contains recordings of the sounds of Earth. In the unlikely event that aliens do discover the spacecraft, the record's cover displays instructions on how to play the record and a map showing the location of Earth.
The Backwards Flag

The American flag on the right side of the Space Shuttle appears to be painted on backwards; however, this is not a mistake. It is customary for U.S. aircraft to have the flag's stars forward on both sides, creating the appearance of it being blown by wind.
The 'Wright Flyer' of Space

A very momentous yet lesser known event in aviation occurred in Auburn, MA. on March 16, 1926. It was on this day that Dr. Robert Goddard launched the very first liquid-fueled rocket.
Snoopy and NASA

The personal safety mascot of NASA astronauts is the cartoon character Snoopy. Snoopy is also the name of the Apollo 10 Lunar Module.
Lost in Space

In late 2002, an astronomer discovered a strange object orbiting the Earth, code named J002E3. It was determined that the object was a S-IVB stage from an Apollo Saturn V. J002E3 left Earth's in orbit in 2003 and is predicted to return in 2032. For now, she's lost in space!
It's a Beautiful Day, Sixteen Times a Day

Over the course of 24 hours, Astronauts orbiting Earth in the Space Shuttle see 16 sunrises and 16 sunsets.

• For more Apollo 11 extras — Click here!