So here's your Moon-walking trivia training. We'll get you winning prizes at pub quizzes even though you possibly weren't born when the last Apollo mission wrapped up humankind's expansionist dreams in 1972.
- Who was the last man on the Moon?
- Who was the last man off the Moon?
- Who blew up the colour TV camera by pointing it at the Sun? Ooops
- Who made the most precise landing (and retrieved parts from a previous unmanned probe)
- Who was the youngest Moon-walker?
- Who used a 6-iron?
- Who died first and youngest?
- Who believes in faith-healing and UFOs?
- Who was the first person to drive on the Moon?
- Who brought back the largest lump of Moon-rock?
- Who took communion and brought the chalice back ?
The Apollo Program had a number of scientific and sciencey "deliverables", but if the tax-payer dismisses these with a tetchy "but what have we got to show for it?", then NASA is probably going to have to point at the 382kg of Moon-rocks that were brought down from Up There. The final bill for the Program submitted to Congress in 1973 came to $25.6 billion, maybe $175 billion in today's money. Let's assign half the costs to the more nebulous deliverables and half to the show-me Moon-rocks, which are accordingly worth about $30,000/g. That's a lot more than Gold ($40/g) but less than Californium-252 ($60,000/g); about the same as radioactive tritium.
In exchange, Apollo left about 80 tons of space junk on the Moon's surface, including 4 Lunar Rovers (500kg, max speed 18km/h, sun-roof). The Russians, (and the Japanese, Chinese, Indians and Europeans - ESA) have also contributed to a total of 180 tons of crap, including three golf balls
- Jack Schmitt (Apollo 17; the only professional scientist (geology) and the only civilian Moon-walker)
- Eugene Cernan (Apollo 17; as mission captain he was first on, last off)
- Al Bean (Apollo 12; he was a painter)
- Pete Conrad (Apollo 12; check him out, more interesting than some of the others)
- Charles Duke (Apollo 16; he was 36 his mission commander was called Young)
- Alan Shepard (Apollo 14; Shepard whacked a tuthree golf balls into the middle distance. He was also the oldest Moon-walker (47 at the time), having been 38 when he became the first American in space - he went up and down in a parabola, John Glenn went into orbit. )
- James Irwin (Apollo 15; he was 61 when he had a heart-attack in 1991 becoming the first of the Moon-walkers to die. At this writing there are 8 left)
- Edgar Mitchell (Apollo 14; he was cured of renal cancer by remote and knows that aliens are talking to (some of) us)
- Dave Scott (Apollo 15; he could also drive a hard bargain: he hatched a cunning plan to take 398 commemorative stamped envelopes to the Moon and back to sell for profit. Current price for such a Sieger Cover is $15,000. They say that Alan Shepard did a similar deal with medals from the Franklin Mint on the Apollo 14 mission).
- John Young (Apollo 16; I can't find anything more interesting to say about this man)
- Buzz Aldrin (Apollo 11; the chalice is used by Aldrin's pastor back home on the Sunday nearest 20 July - today for example)