Things Left on the Moon:

Scientists estimate that mankind has left over 413,000-lbs of material on the moon. It’s not all just Moon junk though, some are still functioning, and some is there for sentimentality’s sake.

But what’s exactly is all that stuff we left on the moon?

60 Unmanned Space Vehicles

Before Neil Armstrong took that giant leap for mankind, American and Soviet Space administrations were landing probes on the Moon.

The first probe to touch down on the Moon was the Luna 2 (the Luna 1 missed its mark, but did become the first spacecraft to leave Earth’s orbit).

luna 1

Replica Luna probe.

These probes have done everything from taking pictures, to returning lunar soil samples back to Earth—838-lbs of rocks have been taken!

16 Ascent/Descent Stages

lunar lander

Apollo 16 lander (both stages).

Though only 12 men have walked on the moon, there are ten descent stages and six ascent stages sitting on the surface of the Moon.

Descent stages are the portion of Lunar landing modules that supported the landing of Astronauts and excavation probes.

The ascent stages were what astronauts used to return to the orbiting command spacecraft. The ascent stages were then deliberately crashed into the Moon.

Three Moon Buggies

The three lunar roving vehicles from Apollo 15, 16, and 17 also sit on the surface of the moon. After striking plans for a 10,000-lb mobile lunar lab, NASA went with the 463-lb (77-lbs on the Moon) buggy.

Only one flight-ready rover remains on Earth; the other three were abandoned, awaiting future extra-terrestrial joyrides.

apollo 15 rover

Apollo 15 rover.

Two Golf Balls

During the Apollo 14 mission, Alan Shepard took a break from excavating to become the first person to play golf on the moon.

Using a six-iron, he had smuggled in his personal items pocket, Shepard hit two golf balls across the moon. They are still there today.

lunar golf club

The Lunar excavator Alan Shepard attached his 6-iron to. (Courtesy USGA Museum)

Fallen Astronaut

Smuggled aboard by astronaut, David Scott, this aluminum sculpture was left as a memorial to fallen astronauts and cosmonauts.

fallen astronaut

Fallen astronaut memorial.

Controversy has surrounded the sculpture as the artist, Paul Van Hoeydonck, maintains the statue was meant to represent all mankind and was to stand, not be laid down.

The Family on the Moon

Charles Duke of the Apollo 16 mission left a photo of himself, his wife, and two kids in 1972, and it sits on the moon to this day.

Some speculate however that the print has now been rendered blank by exposure to the intense conditions of space.

moon family photo

Charles Duke family photo on the moon.

What Else?

A host of less exciting space garbage litter the Moon, everything from rocket stages to urine bags dot the surface.

The recent discovery of flowing water on Mars promises a lot of man-made object swill end up there as well (the return journey is a lot harder).

Ripley’s has also interviewed martian in training Alyssa Carson you can read about her in our recently released Fun Facts & Silly Stories: ONE ZANY DAY!

alyssa carson