Golf ball on the moon

A little more than 50 years ago, Commander Alan Shepard accomplished the unprecedented — he hit a golf ball on the moon, just outside the Lunar Lander.

When Apollo 14 landed on the moon on February 6, 1971, humankind had already been there several times. Shepard fashioned a club out of a sample-collector used on the mission and launched into space the first golf ball, which was originally thought to have travelled up to 200 yards before landing.

Shepard believed his second ball went flying for “miles and miles and miles,” but now, a Nasa digital image restorer thinks he’s relocated one of those balls, and as it turns out, it didn’t go for miles.


Finally spotted

According to The Denver Post, English imaging specialist Andy Saunders spotted the missing golf ball while digitally enhancing the original Apollo 14 video footage for his book Apollo Remastered.

“We can now fairly accurately determine that ball number one travelled 24 yards,” he wrote for the US Golfer’s Association, “and ball number two travelled 40 yards.”

“The fact that Shepard even made contact and got the ball airborne is extremely impressive,” said Saunders. “Then imagine being fully suited, helmeted, and wearing thick gloves.”

But while the ball may not have gone as far as was once believed, the fact that Shepard could even make contact with it when the Moon’s gravity is one-sixth of the Earth’s is a feat all its own.


The records

Prior to his status as the only human being to ever play golf on the moon, Shepard broke another record as the first American in space. He was one of the seven astronauts aboard NASA’s 1961 Mercury Mission before an inner ear issue saw him benched for several years. Apollo 14 made him the fifth man on the moon.

Shepard donated the club to the USGA Museum in New Jersey in 1974 during the U.S. Open ceremony — which resulted in a stern phone call from NASA reminding him “that’s government property.” Nonetheless, the deed was done — and the club remains on display in New Jersey to this day.


Dinosaur footprint on the beach

Adinosaur footprint found by a four-year-old girl walking with her family at a Welsh beach is now headed to a museum, where it will be displayed alongside a plaque identifying its discoverer.

Richard Wilder’s family was walking on Bendricks Bay beach in South Wales when his daughter, Lily, called his attention to a fossilised rock. The rock contained a dinosaur footprint and the family’s Facebook post with photos of the rock came to the attention of the National Museum Wales, which retrieved the fossil from the beach.

“This fossilised dinosaur footprint from 220 million years ago is one of the best-preserved examples from anywhere in the UK,” Cindy Howells, curator at the Amgueddfa Cymru National Museum of Wales Palaeontology, said in a statement.

Experts have not identified the species of dinosaur, but it is believed to have been about 2 1/2 feet tall.

Published in Dawn, Young World, February 20th, 2021

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