The earthlings were here: Did Neil Armstrong Leave His Daughter’s Bracelet on The Moon and what else did we leave there?

7th Feb 2023
The earthlings were here: Did Neil Armstrong Leave His Daughter’s Bracelet on The Moon and what else did we leave there?

Humanity has long dreamed of traveling to the Moon, tying this celestial body to many superstitions, beliefs and myths. Half a century has already passed since Neil Armstrong’s footprint appeared on its surface, but the events associated with the landings on the moon still spike interest.

Apollo astronauts became role models for millions of boys in the 1960s. Many of them are still considered to be legends. In this article, you will learn interesting details about Apollo and other lunar programs, along with what did Neil Armstrong leave on the Moon. 

Astronaut's footprint on the Moon
Neil Armstrong’s footprint on the Moon’s surface Source

Exploring the Moon: A Story to Go On

The era of studying the natural satellite of our planet from space began nine years before the first successful Moon landing with a manned crew. At first, these were the Soviet Union’s Luna explorers. The United States then launched five Lunar Orbiter and Explorer satellites into lunar orbit. Seven Surveyor vehicles were launched to practice landing on the surface.

The Apollo program was a turning point. It began with the tragedy of the deaths of the Apollo 1 crew. Despite the setback, on July 20, 1969, the manned module of the Apollo 11 spacecraft landed on the Moon with two NASA astronauts (the third, Michael Collins, remained in the orbital module). Neil Armstrong was the first to set foot on the Moon’s surface, followed by Buzz Aldrin. The astronauts photographed the surface and collected and delivered several hundred kg of lunar samples back to Earth. People on Earth could watch everything live, and the photo of Neil Armstrong’s footprint in the moon dust went around the world.

Ten more NASA astronauts went to the moon after that. But in December 1972, the Apollo program was closed and we stopped going to the Moon. Why? It turned out to be too expensive even for the American budget, although there is another version involving aliens who presumably prevented the program’s continuation. Could Armstrong have met them?

What Did Neil Armstrong See On The Moon?

What Did Neil Armstrong See On The Moon
Image source

The whole world followed the Apollo 11 mission. Many hoped that amazing discoveries were coming, such as meeting aliens or even God himself. Thoughts in this direction rose after the connection with Houston was suddenly interrupted for a couple of minutes. One can only guess what was happening on the Moon at that time.

But, alas, NASA said that nothing supernatural happened. The astronauts never talked about anything other than their impressions of observing lunar landscapes. And there wasn’t really anything to see. A lifeless desert with nothing but stones, moon dust and … the first terrestrial junk.

What did we leave on the Moon?

In the entire history of moon exploration, the mass of all artificial objects that have reached its surface has amounted to more than 400,000 pounds. There were about 80 unmanned craft alone. And let’s be honest, the landing was unsuccessful for many of them.

First, in 1959, in the Sea of Rains region, the Soviet Union’s Luna-2 crashed into the moon’s surface at a speed of over 3.3 km/s. Its fragments still are there, in a funnel about a hundred meters in diameter, along with a metal pennant with the USSR’s coat of arms, which today looks like a torn football.

In addition to the probes’ wreckage, the Moon has quite an impressive collection of human-made objects to offer:

  • de-orbited artificial satellites,
  • landing stages of manned ships,
  • de-orbited take-off stages of manned Apollo spacecraft,
  • a variety of equipment and items left behind by Apollo crews,
  • used stages of launch vehicles.

The most massive man-made object on the Moon is the third stage of the Saturn 5 rocket, which was used to launch the Apollo spacecraft into the lunar trajectory.

From the Moon itself, humans have brought back about 900 pounds of lunar soil. 

What did Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin leave on the Moon?

Since the astronauts were supposed to bring samples of lunar soil back to Earth, they had to get rid of everything in order to decrease the weight of the lunar module for take-off. As a result, the following objects were left on the Moon:

  1. A tube containing the US flag.
  2. TV camera.
  3. Tools for collecting moonstones and dust.
  4. Hygiene items, various containers, canisters and packages.

Armstrong and Aldrin also left an Apollo 1 mission patch in memory of the astronauts who died during the command module tests. Unfortunately, there is no way to discover, did Neil Armstrong leave anything else on the Moon or not. The legendary astronaut passed away in 2012 at the age of 82. We guess we will find out as soon as the next astronauts will get there.

Did Neil Armstrong leave his daughter’s bracelet on the moon?

Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong
A sot from the space film First Man

The first humans spent about 2.5 hours on the Moon. Their actions were clearly timed, but there was a moment when Armstrong deviated from the plan to inspect the Little West crater. What he did there is unknown.

This moment was used by the creators of First Man, released in 2018. They suggested that Neil Armstrong threw a bracelet with the name of his daughter Karen, who tragically passed away at the age of two due to brain cancer. According to screenwriter Josh Singer, the scene’s appearance is based on a hypothesis put forward by James Hansen in his book on Armstrong.

Given the circumstances of Armstrong’s life and character, the bracelet story could be real.

What have other Apollo astronauts left on the Moon?

Alan Bean (Apollo 12) left a golden olive branch in memory of astronaut Clifton Williams, who died in a plane crash shortly before the mission. A member of the Apollo 14 mission, Alan Shepard, a big fan of golf, made a couple of strokes with a club on the lunar surface. Two balls are still lying somewhere there.

Apollo 15 commander David Scott conducted an experiment on the Moon. He dropped a feather belonging to Baggin, the Air Force Academy’s falcon mascot, and a hammer, both of which hit the lunar surface at the same time and are still lying there.

Fallen Astronaut sculpture
Fallen Astronaut sculpture

Also, the Apollo 15 astronauts left behind the Fallen Astronaut aluminium sculpture. Scott specifically ordered it from the Belgian artist Paul Van Hooydonk to perpetuate the memory of the 14 space explorers who died at that time. And Apollo 16 astronaut Charles Duke left a photo of his family on the Moon.

Is the flag still on the Moon?

Yes, and not just one. There are six of them. All missions planted star-striped flags on the Moon. Each installation kit included a 3-by-5-foot nylon banner (the sixth was slightly larger) that was suspended from telescoping poles and horizontal bars of one-inch anodized aluminium tubing.

The reliability of the design allows us to assume that they are still in working order. Although, the colours of the American flag most likely burned out under the influence of the solar wind.

Whose ashes are buried on the Moon?

Eugene Shoemaker
Eugene Shoemaker, image source

This honour was awarded to Eugene Shoemaker (a geologist by profession), who specialized in the study of lunar craters. He trained astronauts and dreamed of going to the moon. Unfortunately, the scientist died tragically on July 18, 1997, at the age of 70, in a car accident while researching a meteorite crater in Australia.

After his death, one ounce of his ashes was taken in a capsule by the Lunar Prospector probe to the Lunar South Pole. The crater where the spacecraft ended its mission on July 31, 1999, was named Shoemaker Crater. It was a worthy epilogue to the career of a man who devoted most of his life to the lunar program.

Final thoughts

Various objects and debris left on the Moon’s surface are an inevitable side effect of space exploration. However, if we want to continue exploring other planets and satellites, humanity will have to learn how to clean up after itself not only on Earth but also in space. NASA’s new Artemis lunar mission plans to establish a permanent base on the Moon over the next ten years. And the first astronauts will land there even earlier. Well, they will definitely have something to do, and maybe we will find out did Neil Armstrong really leave his daughter’s bracelet on the Moon or didn’t.

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