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Space Junk

You may have heard that earlier this week NASA crash landed two lunar probes into the moon at the conclusion of their mission. As the Atlantic explains, this is actually quite common…

Crash-landings like this are a typical method of bringing unmanned lunar missions – and unmanned planetary missions in general – to a close. This means, however, that NASA’s typical method of mission conclusion involves, inevitably, leaving debris strewn on planets across our solar system. And it means that the moon, in particular, currently hosts nearly 400,000 pounds of man-made material. In epic terms, the lunar surface bears human footprints that are as figurative as they are literal, objects of earthly origin that have found their final resting place in the most otherworldly mausoleum imaginable. In less epic terms: We regularly leave trash on the moon.

The list of items left on the moon are fascinating, and I would encourage you visit the Atlantic’s article for the full list.

One piece of “lunar junk” I found particularly fascinating was a feather from Baggin, the Air Force Academy’s mascot falcon. Apollo 15 replicated Galileo’s experiments on gravity and the rate at which differently weighted objects fall, using a hammer and the feather. Here’s the experiment in action…

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Have any questions or comments about this post? Email me at or contact me on Twitter at @ChrisFerdinandi.

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