Would you believe they put a man on the moon? Well buried him actually.

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Eugene Merle Shoemaker (April 28, 1928 – July 18, 1997), also known as Gene Shoemaker, was an American geologist and one of the founders of the field of planetary science. He is best known for co-discovering the Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9 with his wife Carolyn S. Shoemaker and David H. Levy. This comet hit Jupiter in July 1994: the impact was televised around the world

Dr. Gene Shoemaker died Friday, July 18, 1997 (Australian Time) in Alice Springs, Australia in a car accident. He was in the field, pursuing his lifelong passion of geologic studies to help understand impact craters with his wife and science partner, Carolyn Shoemaker. Carolyn survived the accident sustaining various injuries.

Shoemaker’s friends and family knew that he would want to forever rest among the cosmos. And as luck would have it, a company called Celestis has been conducting “memorial spaceflights” for 23 years now.

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Celestis finds extra room on space launches and sends up the ashes along with the crafts. The equipment that the ashes are stored on ends up in Earth’s orbit, and upon re-entry, the equipment and the ashes burn up. For Shoemaker, however, Celestis agreed to do something different. A colleague of Shoemaker believed that the man who had dedicated his life to science, who wanted nothing more in life than to journey to the cosmos as an astronaut, would be ecstatic to make it to the moon in death. The folks at Celestis took on the special request and made it happen.

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On January 6, 1998, NASA’s Lunar Prospector took off for the south pole of the moon on a mission to look for ice. Also aboard the craft was an ounce of Eugene Shoemaker’s ashes. The man’s remains were wrapped in a piece of brass foil. His name was laser-etched into the brass, along with an image of the Hale-Bopp Comet, an image of Arizona’s Meteor Crater where Shoemaker trained astronauts, and a quote from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet:

“And, when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night,And pay no worship to the garish sun.”

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The mission lasted about a year and a half and ended on July 31, 1999, when NASA deliberately crashed the craft onto the surface of the moon. Shoemaker’s remains crashed into the moon along with the craft, making him the only human being to be buried there.

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The Great Moon Hoax

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On this day in 1835, the first in a series of six articles announcing the supposed discovery of life on the moon appears in the New York Sunnewspaper.

Known collectively as “The Great Moon Hoax,” the articles were supposedly reprinted from the Edinburgh Journal of Science. The byline was Dr. Andrew Grant, described as a colleague of Sir John Herschel, a famous astronomer of the day.

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Herschel had in fact traveled to Capetown, South Africa, in January 1834 to set up an observatory with a powerful new telescope. As Grant described it, Herschel had found evidence of life forms on the moon, including such fantastic animals as unicorns, two-legged beavers and furry, winged humanoids resembling bats. The articles also offered vivid description of the moon’s geography, complete with massive craters, enormous amethyst crystals, rushing rivers and lush vegetation.

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The New York Sun, founded in 1833, was one of the new “penny press” papers that appealed to a wider audience with a cheaper price and a more narrative style of journalism. From the day the first moon hoax article was released, sales of the paper shot up considerably. It was exciting stuff, and readers lapped it up. The only problem was that none of it was true. The Edinburgh Journal of Science had stopped publication years earlier, and Grant was a fictional character. The articles were most likely written by Richard Adams Locke, a Sun reporter educated at Cambridge University. Intended as satire, they were designed to poke fun at earlier, serious speculations about extraterrestrial life, particularly those of Reverend Thomas Dick, a popular science writer who claimed in his bestselling books that the moon alone had 4.2 billion inhabitants.

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Readers were completely taken in by the story, however, and failed to recognize it as satire. The craze over Herschel’s supposed discoveries even fooled a committee of Yale University scientists, who traveled to New York in search of the Edinburgh Journal articles. After Sun employees sent them back and forth between the printing and editorial offices, hoping to discourage them, the scientists returned to New Haven without realizing they had been tricked.

 

On September 16, 1835, the Sun admitted the articles had been a hoax. People were generally amused by the whole thing, and sales of the paper didn’t suffer. The Sun continued operation until 1950, when it merged with the New York World-Telegram. The merger folded in 1967.

Urban Myths you just wished were true.

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Sometime you hear these stories or tall tales that turn out to be completely untrue or just have a small element of truth, and often the stories are repeated for year. Urban Myths is what they turn out to be, but sometimes you wish these Urban Myths or Legends were just true because they really spark your imagination.

Good luck, Mr. Gorsky

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The story being that while a child, Neil Armstrong , playing baseball, through an open window he heard his Neigbor Mrs. Gorsky yell at her husband: “Oral sex, you want oral sex? When the kid next door walks on the Moon!”

During November 1995, a clever (and slightly risqué) story was widely circulated on the Internet concerning a statement Neil is supposed to have made during the Apollo 11 EVA. At the suggestion of several readers, let me state that Neil never said “Good luck, Mr. Gorsky” at any time during the mission. Indeed, on November 28, 1995, Neil wrote for the ALSJ, “I understand that the joke is a year old. I first heard it in California delivered by (comedian) Buddy Hacket.

Walt Disney was cryogenically frozen

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This one may sound farfetched to some but this legend has been going around for decades. It is often said that legendary cartoonist, Walt Disney had himself frozen while waiting for a lung cancer cure, in hopes of returning to life once the cure was found. Taking it a step further, it is also said his body was cryo-preserved somewhere in the theme park, many believing under the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. This one unfortunately isn’t true. He was cremated after death – however, the first-ever cryogenic freezings did take place soon after his death.

The kidney heist

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In this tale, a young man is either seduced by a beautiful woman or pays for an escort. The following morning, he awakens in a bathtub full of ice to find one of his kidneys has been removed for sale on the black market.

Carrots Help You See in the Dark

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Eating carrots and other vegetables rich in vitamin A helps you see better at night.

This is a myth created by British Ministry of Information,during WWII, as a way to boost morale and make war-weary citizens feel like they could help the war effort by growing carrots that could, in turn, be sent to fighter pilots fighting the Germans. They also wanted children to feel like eating vegetables was better than eating sweets, which were strictly rationed.

Somehow it became common knowledge that eating carrots helped your night vision, but there’s really no science behind the claim.

The CIA’s Whale Parade

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During the Cold War, a rumor arose that the CIA had the unlikeliest agent on its roster: a dead fin whale named Goliath. Caught by Norwegian whalers in the 1950s, Goliath was mounted on a truck and toured all over Europe well in the 1960s. While already bizarre in itself (parading a dead whale is kind of weird), conspiracy theorists argued that the whole thing was a cover-up for more a more nefarious purpose, especially after the whale arrived in Hungary.

Allegedly, the CIA wanted to test if the roads of Hungary could handle the load of nuclear missiles loaded on trucks. To avoid arousing suspicion, they opted to substitute the dead whale for the missiles. The truck carrying the whale eerily resembled one used to carry nuclear missiles, according to conspiracy theorists.

No concrete proof was ever presented, and the Hungarian crowd loved Goliath. Tickets were sold out everywhere he went.

Philadelphia Experiment

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The Philadelphia Experiment is an alleged military experiment supposed to have been carried out by the U.S. Navy at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, sometime around October 28, 1943. The U.S. Navy destroyer escort USS Eldridge (DE-173) was claimed to have been rendered invisible (or “cloaked”) to enemy devices.

The story first appeared in 1955, in letters of unknown origin sent to a writer and astronomer, Morris K. Jessup. It is widely understood to be a hoax;the U.S. Navy maintains that no such experiment was ever conducted, that the alleged details of the story contradict well-established facts about USS Eldridge, and that the claims do not conform to known physical laws.

The assassination of Glen Miller by the Gestapo.

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The famous American big band leader Glenn Miller, who died in a plane crash, was either killed by German agents, or accidentally blown up by British bombers dumping their bombs.

Miller, a Major in the US Army Air Force, was flying from England to Paris in late 1944 to give a concert for troops there when his plane crashed and all on board were killed. Hampered by bad weather and poor visibility, the small plane they were on was lost at sea, and vanished. Conspiracy theories abound that he was knocked off by German agents, or was the victim of friendly fire from British bomber aircraft, but they aren’t supported by evidence, only individual accounts that can’t be confirmed.

 

A small step for man

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July 1969. It’s a little over eight years since the flights of Gagarin and Shepard, followed quickly by President Kennedy’s challenge to put a man on the moon before the decade is out.

It is only seven months since NASA’s made a bold decision to send Apollo 8 all the way to the moon on the first manned flight of the massive Saturn V rocket

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Now, on the morning of July 16, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins sit atop another Saturn V at Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. The three-stage 363-foot rocket will use its 7.5 million pounds of thrust to propel them into space and into history.

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At 9:32 a.m. EDT, the engines fire and Apollo 11 clears the tower. About 12 minutes later, the crew is in Earth orbit.

After one and a half orbits, Apollo 11 gets a “go” for what mission controllers call “Translunar Injection” – in other words, it’s time to head for the moon. Three days later the crew is in lunar orbit. A day after that, Armstrong and Aldrin climb into the lunar module Eagle and begin the descent, while Collins orbits in the command module Columbia.

Collins later writes that Eagle is “the weirdest looking contraption I have ever seen in the sky,” but it will prove its worth.

When it comes time to set Eagle down in the Sea of Tranquility, Armstrong improvises, manually piloting the ship past an area littered with boulders. During the final seconds of descent, Eagle’scomputer is sounding alarms.

It turns out to be a simple case of the computer trying to do too many things at once, but as Aldrin will later point out, “unfortunately it came up when we did not want to be trying to solve these particular problems.”

When the lunar module lands at 4:18 p.m EDT, only 30 seconds of fuel remain. Armstrong radios “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.” Mission control erupts in celebration as the tension breaks, and a controller tells the crew “You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue, we’re breathing again.”

Armstrong will later confirm that landing was his biggest concern, saying “the unknowns were rampant,” and “there were just a thousand things to worry about.”

At 10:56 p.m. EDT Armstrong is ready to plant the first human foot on another world. With more than half a billion people watching on television, he climbs down the ladder and proclaims: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

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Aldrin joins him shortly, and offers a simple but powerful description of the lunar surface: “magnificent desolation.” They explore the surface for two and a half hours, collecting samples and taking photographs.

They leave behind an American flag, a patch honoring the fallen Apollo 1 crew, and a plaque on one of Eagle’s legs. It reads, “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon. July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.”

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Armstrong and Aldrin blast off and dock with Collins in Columbia. Collins later says that “for the first time,” he “really felt that we were going to carry this thing off.”

The crew splashes down off Hawaii on July 24. Kennedy’s challenge has been met. Men from Earth have walked on the moon and returned safely home.

In an interview years later, Armstrong praises the “hundreds of thousands” of people behind the project. “Every guy that’s setting up the tests, cranking the torque wrench, and so on, is saying, man or woman, ‘If anything goes wrong here, it’s not going to be my fault.'”

In a post-flight press conference, Armstrong calls the flight “a beginning of a new age,” while Collins talks about future journeys to Mars.

Over the next three and a half years, 10 astronauts will follow in their footsteps. Gene Cernan, commander of the last Apollo mission leaves the lunar surface with these words: “We leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace, and hope for all mankind.”

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