Has Apollo 14 commander Alan Shepard exaggerated the distance?

The first sport mankind played in space is golf.Sports

It was revealed that Captain Alan Shepard of Apollo 14, who played golf on the moon as the first sport in space in human history, exaggerated his testimony about the distance of the ball.

The first sport mankind played in space

Remastered image of the 50th anniversary reveals

Golf, Apollo 14 commander Alan Shepard played on the moon, was recorded with only one fixed 16 mm camera. We had no choice but to rely on his words, as the direction in which the ball flew was not visible.

Commander Alan Shepard happily shouted, “Miles and miles and miles,” in the moment he struck.

Later he said, “It actually flew about 200 yards (about 183 meters),” and “1 of the balls I hit landed near the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP).” However, it turned out that he was flying only shorter distances.

In February 2021 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 14, image specialist Andy Saunders used the latest technologies to scan the original film of photographs taken from the moon orbit in high resolution, digitally enhance them and apply stacking technology in order to create a high-definition digital image.

The estimated figures came out according to the image analysis, that commander Alan Shepard’s first ball flew approximately 24 yards (approximately 22 meters) from the tee, and the ball hit after that flew approximately 40 yards (approximately 37 meters).

USGA “Traveling a few miles with more than 1 minute in air is possible in theory.”

Following this latest analysis, the United States Golf Association (USGA) concluded that commander Alan Shepard had exaggerated the leap distance.

Everyone would have guessed that “Miles and miles” was just a joke.

The USGA believe that it didn’t fly much because commander Alan Shepard was wearing the spacesuit unfortunately and could only hit with one hand while you generally use power from legs and hips also for shots.

However, the reason why the one-handed bunker shot gave such a long distance is that the gravity of the moon is less than one sixth of that of the earth.

If a champion-class golfer takes a shot with the gravity and the thin air of the moon, it’s said to be theoretically possible that the flight time would be more than 1 minute, and a flying distance of several miles equivalent to 18 holes with 1 shot. For example, if Jimmy Walker, a 2016 PGA champion and space enthusiast, shoots a ball at 185 miles/h (300 km/h) on the moon at a 45 degree angle toward the earth, it will fly 2.62 miles (approximately 4.2 km) with more than 1 minute in air.

The moon is like a huge unmaintained bunker, and it’s not easy even to see your feet from the helmet with limited range of motion due to the spacesuit. There is almost no gravity for the clubhead to fall. In such conditions, you wear thicker gloves than for winter and make a small swing with one hand, so it can be said that just hitting the ball is a big deal.

Lunar golf replay “Real moon shot”

At the end of the lunar mission, commander Alan Shepard spoke cheerfully to Houston and made 4 swings while running commentary by himself.

The first 2 swings got caught in the sand. Those may be the real moon shots because he hit the moon instead of the ball. In the third attempt, he regained his control and hit the ball straight. In addition, the fourth shot was a cleaner hit.

What is the first sport mankind played in space?

Author: Takuya Nagata Amazon Profile

A novel writer and creator. Traveled to Brazil and trained football at CFZ do Rio (Centro de Futebol Zico Sociedade Esportiva) in Rio de Janeiro. Played soccer for the Urawa Reds (Urawa Red Diamonds), one of the biggest football clubs in Japan, and toured Europe. Retired at a young age and voyaged alone to England and graduated from UCA, the UK’s university. Established careers as a journalist, football coach, consultant, etc. across Europe such as Spain. Knowledgeable in creative and technology fields as well. The founder of “Propulsive Football” (PROBALL), the world’s first-ever competitive mixed football facilitating diversity and spirits for equal participation in society.



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