Apollo 11 may have made history as the first mission to land humans on the moon, but Apollo 12 (opens in new tab), which landed on the moon 50 years ago today, apparently had the funniest crew, according to NPR (opens in new tab).
In the audio interview above (opens in new tab) from NPR's Morning Edition, NPR correspondent Geof Brumfiel and Dr. Teasel Muir-Harmony, the curator of the Apollo collection at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, discuss the often overlooked charm of Apollo 12.
They begin by noting that it's common for Apollo 11 and Apollo 13 (because of its depiction in the film "Apollo 13" starring actor Tom Hanks) to overshadow Apollo 12 (opens in new tab). However, Apollo 12 was eventful from the get go.
Video: Stormy Launch to the Ocean of Storms
More: Apollo 12 Was Struck By Lightning Right After Launch ... Twice! (opens in new tab)
To start off, just seconds after launching, the rocket carrying Apollo 12 astronauts commander Charles "Pete" Conrad (opens in new tab), lunar module pilot Alan Bean (opens in new tab) and command module pilot Richard "Dick" Gordon (opens in new tab) was struck by lightning (opens in new tab) — twice! Luckily, with some quick thinking from NASA's team on the ground, the crew got safely to and from the moon.
But, while the mission may have gotten off to a stormy start, the crew managed to keep things lighthearted. Conrad took a mixtape to the moon, and in the audio recordings of the mission (some of which are included in the interview), you can hear Conrad singing to himself while bouncing around on the lunar surface and all of the crew members cracking jokes and laughing with one another.
So take a listen for yourself above, and delight in the surprisingly whimsical moments from Apollo 12.
- Apollo 11 at 50: A Complete Guide to the Historic Moon Landing (opens in new tab)
- SPACE.com Special Report - THE MOON: Then, Now, Next (opens in new tab)
- Apollo 12: The Pinpoint Mission (opens in new tab)