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Shepard described his one-handed swing as "an old sand trap".NASA

On February 6, 1971, astronaut and golfer Alan Shepard transformed the landing site of Apollo 14 into a driving range.

The commander of Apollo 14, Shepard, was the first American astronaut in space, but today, he is almost as well known as the first – and to this day, the only one to have hit a golf ball on the moon. Just before leaving the lunar surface in 1971, he secured an iron golf club head of 6 to the collapsible rod of a lunar soil sampler and threw two golf balls into the lunar gray distance. Like many space flight equipment, the 6 iron (a club typically used to hit the ball over longer distances, in the range of 130 to 210 yards) has been specially modified to fit at the soil sampler; Shepard paid for the modified 6-iron himself, although there is no record of how much it cost him.

Like all golfers, Shepard could not resist the glory. "Miles and miles," he said as he watched the second shot move away on his long arc across the lunar surface. On the Moon, with no air resistance and with only one sixth of the gravity of the Earth, it is technically possible to hit a golf ball for miles. Ethan Siegel, a Forbes contributor, calculated that an expert lunar golfer who was hitting the ball at the appropriate speed and angle could perform a 3.948-meter (2.5-mile) shot while keeping the ball in flying for a little over a minute. But Shepard, swaying with one hand in a rigid and voluminous space suit of the 1970s, had no chance of benefiting from this precision.

In fact, he took two shots on the first ball, because the first shot connected with "more dirt than ball" on the first try, as he says in the NASA video; this first bullet was stopped in nearby Javelin crater, named after the ultimate shot of astronaut Ed Mitchell, a javelin shot of the solar mission 's sensor staff. Shepard then stated that the second balloon had flown about 200 meters before landing near scientific instruments that astronauts left behind. That would have been an impressive shot on Earth, where the current record is 515 yards (set by Mike Austin in 1974, three years after Apollo 14), the professionals still strive to get 300-yard shots . Golf Digest reported in 2017 that the median driving distance of golfers was 219.44 yards. On the moon, it's a record that has not been challenged for 48 years.

An urban legend of the space age claims that Shepard smuggled golf balls and the iron head 6 aboard the Apollo 14 spacecraft, hidden under a sock of his personal gear. It would not be the first time that an astronaut would sneak past NASA – John Young sowed destruction during the Gemini 3 mission in 1965 with crumbs from his salty beef sandwich, but he had at least offered to share with his teammate Gus Grissom. But Shepard's golf equipment was shipped with the permission of Bob Gilruth, director of the Manned Spaceflight Center, although it was very convincing.

"As a golfer, I was intrigued before the flight by the fact that the ball, with the same speed of the club, will go six times further," Shepard told a C-SPAN interviewer in 1998, shortly before his death. "I thought, what a nice place to hit a golf ball." (The lunar golf adventure discussion begins around 1:02:25.)

He presented the project in Gilruth as a good time to raise public awareness of scientific issues, and he paid the modified head in six iron plates and two golf balls, "at no cost to the taxpayer". The Apollo astronauts were allowed to carry each 5 kilos of personal equipment into the command service module. They could each carry half a pound to the lunar surface aboard the lunar module, but these items had to be approved by NASA. Gilruth skeptical about the idea of ​​Shepard golf. He feared that would seem flippant and embarrassed the agency.

"What finally convinced Bob is that I said," Boss, I'm going to make a deal with you. If we ruined everything, if we had equipment breakdowns, anything that went wrong on the surface where you are embarrassed is embarrassed, I will not do it. I will not be so frivolous, "Shepard told C-SPAN in 1998." But I want to wait for the end of the mission, stand in front of the television camera, touch golf balls with this makeshift club, fold it, put it in my pocket, go up the ladder, close the door, and we left. So he finally said okay. Shepard donated Iron 6 to the US Golf Association Museum in 1974.

These two golf balls are not even the weirdest thing we have left on the moon, but they would be a valuable prize for future lunar looters and, for the moment, they are not legally protected. But even with Mitchell's photo as a guide, it would be as hard to find them as to … find a golf ball on the moon. It would have been a little easier in 1971, when the bright white of the golf balls would be detached from the dark gray of the lunar surface; Astronomer Arlin Cotts of Columbia University told the Washington Post in 2013, a sharp-eyed observer would probably have been able to spot them at about thirty meters. After 48 years, however, Shepard's record-breaking golf balls probably acquired a lunar camouflage because the radiation and micrometeorite impacts cracked, stung and darkened. This so-called alteration of space is one of the reasons why future scientists will likely want to look at the elements we have left on other worlds, but it also facilitates the loss of space. a golf ball on the moon.

And in the long run, it may be for the better. In his interview with C-SPAN, Shepard says he is proud of how his lunar golf stunt has avoided marketing. He and NASA even declined to name the manufacturer of the golf balls and they subsequently cracked down on a company's efforts to claim credit.

"It's a totally fun thing," he told the interviewer. "

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Shepard described his one-handed swing as "an old sand trap". The NASA

On February 6, 1971, astronaut and golfer Alan Shepard transformed the landing site of Apollo 14 into a driving range.

The commander of Apollo 14, Shepard, was the first American astronaut in space, but today, he is almost as well known as the first – and to this day, the only one to have hit a golf ball on the moon. Just before leaving the lunar surface in 1971, he secured an iron golf club head of 6 to the collapsible rod of a lunar soil sampler and threw two golf balls into the lunar gray distance. Like many space flight equipment, the 6 iron (a club typically used to hit the ball over longer distances, in the range of 130 to 210 yards) has been specially modified to fit at the soil sampler; Shepard paid for the modified 6-iron himself, although there is no record of how much it cost him.

Like all golfers, Shepard could not resist the glory. "Miles and miles," he said as he watched the second shot move away on his long arc across the lunar surface. On the Moon, with no air resistance and with only one sixth of the gravity of the Earth, it is technically possible to hit a golf ball for miles. Ethan Siegel, a Forbes contributor, calculated that an expert lunar golfer who was hitting the ball at the appropriate speed and angle could perform a 3.948-meter (2.5-mile) shot while keeping the ball in flying for a little over a minute. But Shepard, swaying with one hand in a rigid and voluminous space suit of the 1970s, had no chance of benefiting from this precision.

In fact, he took two shots on the first ball, because the first shot connected with "more dirt than ball" on the first try, as he says in the NASA video; this first bullet was stopped in nearby Javelin crater, named after the ultimate shot of astronaut Ed Mitchell, a javelin shot of the solar mission 's sensor staff. Shepard then stated that the second balloon had flown about 200 meters before landing near scientific instruments that astronauts left behind. That would have been an impressive shot on Earth, where the current record is 515 yards (set by Mike Austin in 1974, three years after Apollo 14), the professionals still strive to get 300-yard shots . Golf Digest reported in 2017 that the median driving distance of golfers was 219.44 yards. On the moon, it's a record that has not been challenged for 48 years.

An urban legend of the space age claims that Shepard smuggled golf balls and the iron head 6 aboard the Apollo 14 spacecraft, hidden under a sock of his personal gear. It would not be the first time that an astronaut would sneak past NASA – John Young sowed destruction during the Gemini 3 mission in 1965 with crumbs from his salty beef sandwich, but he had at least offered to share with his teammate Gus Grissom. But Shepard's golf equipment was shipped with the permission of Bob Gilruth, director of the Manned Spaceflight Center, although it was very convincing.

"As a golfer, I was intrigued before the flight by the fact that the ball, with the same speed of the club, will go six times further," Shepard told a C-SPAN interviewer in 1998, shortly before his death. "I thought, what a nice place to hit a golf ball." (The lunar golf adventure discussion begins around 1:02:25.)

He presented the project in Gilruth as a good time to raise public awareness of scientific issues, and he paid the modified head in six iron plates and two golf balls, "at no cost to the taxpayer". The Apollo astronauts were allowed to carry each 5 kilos of personal equipment into the command service module. They could each carry half a pound to the lunar surface aboard the lunar module, but these items had to be approved by NASA. Gilruth skeptical about the idea of ​​Shepard golf. He feared that would seem flippant and embarrassed the agency.

"What finally convinced Bob is that I said," Boss, I'm going to make a deal with you. If we ruined everything, if we had equipment breakdowns, anything that went wrong on the surface where you are embarrassed is embarrassed, I will not do it. I will not be so frivolous, "Shepard told C-SPAN in 1998." But I want to wait for the end of the mission, stand in front of the television camera, touch golf balls with this makeshift club, fold it, put it in my pocket, go up the ladder, close the door, and we left. So he finally said okay. Shepard donated Iron 6 to the US Golf Association Museum in 1974.

These two golf balls are not even the weirdest thing we have left on the moon, but they would be a valuable prize for future lunar looters and, for the moment, they are not legally protected. But even with Mitchell's photo as a guide, it would be as hard to find them as to … find a golf ball on the moon. It would have been a little easier in 1971, when the bright white of the golf balls would be detached from the dark gray of the lunar surface; Astronomer Arlin Cotts of Columbia University told the Washington Post in 2013, a sharp-eyed observer would probably have been able to spot them at about thirty meters. After 48 years, however, Shepard's record-breaking golf balls probably acquired a lunar camouflage because the radiation and micrometeorite impacts cracked, stung and darkened. This so-called alteration of space is one of the reasons why future scientists will likely want to look at the elements we have left on other worlds, but it also facilitates the loss of space. a golf ball on the moon.

And in the long run, it may be for the better. In his interview with C-SPAN, Shepard says he is proud of how his lunar golf stunt has avoided marketing. He and NASA even declined to name the manufacturer of the golf balls and they subsequently cracked down on a company's efforts to claim credit.

"It's a totally fun thing," he told the interviewer. "