Apollo 11: Aldrin, Collins and Armstrong’s provocative message to NASA: “We don’t care!” » | Science | New

On July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 was lifted into orbit by a Saturn V rocket from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, as it took about four days to reach the Moon. Besides the mission highlighting the literally astronomical potential of human ambition and ingenuity, the launch of Apollo 11 was also crucial for researchers to study the composition of the Moon, in order to make breakthroughs that could help humanity colonize the rest of the universe.

However, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins weren’t as keen on studying the lunar soil and made their feelings very clear in a defiant post before launch.

Speaking to Science Digest, Apollo 11 scientist Professor Farouk El-Baz, the program’s lead geologist, shared what it was like to work with the Apollo 11 crew.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Prof El-Baz said: “All the astronauts as a group have been tasked with listening to geological lectures.

“They put astronauts in classrooms and talked to them about what we might know about the Moon and the composition of lunar rocks and this and that.

“It’s a shame that the astronauts really hated it.

Because they said “we don’t need to know the composition of these moon rocks”.

“If you want fucking rocks, we’ll provide them, if you want dirt, we’ll provide them!” »

“’But we’re not going to have microscopes to look at them and find out what the composition is.

“’Never mind – it’s none of our business. We will fly to the Moon and land in the right place, and return to Earth.

WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW ON THE SCIENCE DIGEST YOUTUBE CHANNEL HERE.

Despite astronauts’ disinterest in studying moon rocks, researchers to this day use the same soil samples to make breakthroughs that bring humanity one step closer to colonizing space.

In a study published last May, researchers used lunar soil collected from previous Apollo missions, including Apollo 11, to grow watercress, marking the first stage of growing food on the moon and even producing watercress. oxygen in space.

The scientists also note that if vegetables like leeks and carrots were grown successfully on the Moon, they could potentially be even healthier than produce from Earth.

Indeed, for many vegetables, the stress of growing in foreign soils could increase levels of protective compounds commonly found in superfoods such as blueberries and kale.

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This is the first time such an experiment has been allowed, as space agencies generally consider old moon dirt as “precious national treasures”.

Professor Robert Ferl, from the University of Florida, said: “It’s really good news that plants can grow in lunar soil.

“Showing that plants will grow in lunar soil is actually a huge step in the direction of our ability to establish ourselves in lunar colonies.”

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