Is That A Fact

Second, And That Ain’t Bad

Is That A Fact!?

Aubrey Beardsley’s “On This Day” Fun Facts and Trivia

On this day, in 1930, the third man to walk on the moon was born!

Charles “Pete” Conrad Jr was the Commander of the Apollo 12 mission and became the third man to walk on the moon. He was almost the Commander of Apollo 11, the first mission to land on the Moon. But because of some delays and swapping of missions, he missed out and took the second flight instead. And he probably wondered about his sense of timing forever after that. As well as coming second, Conrad’s flight was also a bit of a nightmare one, with some ill-timed lightning strikes, and it took 5 days to get there, a whole day longer than Apollo 11. It must have been a bit like catching a Thames Link train and finding out there are leaves on the track.

The Moon has also been very important for music, especially the dark side of the Moon. On this very day, in 1972, Pink Floyd released Obscured by Clouds, but they were already working on The Dark Side of the Moon (which is, especially in London, often obscured by clouds). The Dark Side of the Moon, released in 1973, went on to be one of their most commercially successful albums. And the “The” is important. Because in 1972, the British Blues band, Medicine Head, released Dark Side of the Moon. and in 1974, American singer, Nichelle Nichols (Lieutenant Uhura of Star Trek), also released Dark Side of the Moon. But on this occasion, going second turned out well.

In the role of Lieutenant Uhura, Nichelle Nichols played what was actually one of the  very first African American characters on American television that was not a servant. And when she wanted to leave to go on Broadway, Dr Martin Luther King Jr himself persuaded her to change her mind. The role was such an inspiration, that after Star Trek Nichols went on to volunteer with NASA to help recruit minority women to the sciences and careers in space. She even has an asteroid named after her, Asteroid 68410 Nichols.

The dark side of the Moon can never be seen from Earth. But it can probably be seen from Mars. And on this day, in 2003, the European Space Agency launched the Mars Express Probe, Beagle 2.

Which is fascinating, because the most famous Beagle of all, Snoopy, claims to be the first Beagle on the Moon.

And that’s a fact!

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