On This Day In Space: Feb. 5, 1971: Apollo 14 lands on the moon

On Feb. 5, 1971, two Apollo 14 astronauts landed on the moon! 

Apollo 14 commander Alan Shepard and the lunar module pilot Edgar Mitchell left their crewmate Stuart Roosa in the command module and descended down to the moon in the lunar module Antares. 

On Feb. 6, 1971, NASA astronaut Al Shepard became the first person to play golf on the moon during the Apollo 14 mission. Shepard had smuggled a six-iron head to the moon and attached it to a lunar excavation tool to create a makeshift golf club. He then used it to whack two golf balls. One ball went into a crater, and he claimed the second one kept going for miles and miles. (Image credit: NASA/Kevin Gill/Flickr (opens in new tab))

Their descent was a little chaotic. A faulty switch was sending "abort" signals to the landing module's computer, and NASA had to reprogram the computer before they could land. Then the landing radar failed to measure the module's altitude and descent speed. 

The problem fixed itself just in time, and Shepard manually landed the spacecraft right on target.

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Hanneke Weitering
Editor

Hanneke Weitering is an editor at Space.com with 10 years of experience in science journalism. She has previously written for Scholastic Classroom Magazines, MedPage Today and The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her hometown of Knoxville, she earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. Hanneke joined the Space.com team in 2016 as a staff writer and producer, covering topics including spaceflight and astronomy. She currently lives in Seattle, home of the Space Needle, with her cat and two snakes. In her spare time, Hanneke enjoys exploring the Rocky Mountains, basking in nature and looking for dark skies to gaze at the cosmos. 

  • The Exoplanets Channel
    Very interesting
    Reply
  • Arc Light
    Just so you know, the X-15 took off from Edwards AFB under the wing of a B-52 & was airdropped over Delamar Dry Lake, Nevada. The flight to the altitude record wasn't planned, but the rocket engine burned for two seconds longer than expected. The test flight was scheduled to peak at 280,000', but actually reached 314, 750' due to the extra rocket burn time.
    Reply
  • Fourth Root
    Misleading wording. Bob White did not set the world altitude record on July 17th, 1962. Four Astronauts and two cosmonauts had flown higher prior to his flight. One could say it was the highest manned flight of a winged craft. But that's not the wording that was used.
    Reply
  • DrRaviSharma
    On this date in 1969, I was part of NASA Apollo Team

    Contributed to Experiments in orbit and on Surface of Moon (ALSEP) etc.also trained astronauts

    Studied containation on and ouside Spacecraft.

    The Moon gave me employment to work for 5 Years on exciting Human Space flight Programs Skylab, Planning of Space Station and Space Shuttle

    See My picture taken with Buzz Aldrin in 2009
    https://www.space.com/india-moon-landing-not-a-failure.html
    I received Apollo Achievement Award from NASA dated July 20, 1969.

    Thanks Hanneke Weitering for today's Historic post

    Ravi
    Dr. Ravi Sharma
    Reply
  • Mergatroid
    "Allegedly, the moon turns green because of its close proximity to Uranus"

    I'm sorry about that. I hear they have been investigating x-rays from the same source. I had no idea. I'll get a doctor to check into it.

    Sorry everyone.

    Sorry...
    Reply