Apollo 14 – Shepard Goes Golfing On The Moon!
Return To The Moon
The Apollo 14 mission was the third to land on the Moon and the eight manned mission of the Apollo program. The Lunar Module (LM) Antares made a precise landing in the Fra Mauro Highlands which was the original target of the aborted Apollo 13 mission. Alan Shepard, the only astronaut from the original ‘Mercury Seven’ to make it to the Moon, would Command the mission and would also become the first and only man to hit a golf ball on the Moon!
Fast Summary Facts About Apollo 14!
- Mission Crew: Alan Shepard Jr., Edgar Mitchell, Stuart Roosa
- Mission Objective: Land & Explore the Fra Mauro Region
- Launch Date: 31st January, 1971
- Return Date: 9th February, 1971
- Mission Duration: Nine days, Two minutes
- Distance Travelled: 1,851,262.2 kms (1,150,321 miles)
More Interesting Facts About The Apollo 14 Mission
- The Apollo 14 mission would be the first spaceflight after Apollo 13, so included several redesign features to prevent another mishap in space. It was also the last ‘short duration’ flight before the longer missions of Apollo 15, 16 and 17.
- Apollo 14 would focus on science and geologic surveys with the primary mission objectives being;
- Explore and conduct geological investigations of the Fra Mauro region
- Set up and activate a series of surface experiments (ALSEP)
- The Command Module (CM) pilot in orbit would conduct experiments, test engineering hardware and image the lunar surface
- The LM ‘Antares’ made the most precise landing of the Apollo program, successfully landing in the Fra Mauro Highlands only 87 feet from the targeted point.
- The Fra Mauro region was the original destination of the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission.
- On February 5th 1971, astronauts Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell became the 5th and 6th men to walk on the Moon!
- A first for space exploration, Shepard's ‘moonsuit’ had a red stripe on the arms, legs and helmet so mission control could easily distinguish between the commander and LM pilot on the TV images. This is still a practice used today!
- The Apollo 14 crew were the first, and only, crew to use the Modular Equipment Transporter (MET), nicknamed the "lunar rickshaw". This was a pull-cart for carrying equipment and samples some distance from the LM Antares.
- Shepard, an avid golfer, brought along two golf balls which he hit with a makeshift 6-iron club and jokingly claimed that they flew for “miles and miles and miles” due to the 1/6th gravity of the Moon.
- Shepard and Mitchell completed a total of 9 hours, 24 minutes of exploration during two separate ‘moonwalks’ (EVAs) which set a new record, until Apollo 15 that is.
- The two astronauts spent a day and a half (33 ½ hours) exploring, investigating, working and sleeping on the Moon.
- Amazingly the CM Kitty Hawk splashed down in the South Pacific Ocean only 1.9 kilometres from its targeted point.
You can visit ‘Kitty Hawk’ the actual Command Module from the Apollo 14 mission, as it is on display at the Apollo/Saturn V Center building at the Kennedy Space Center!