This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, but NASA doesn't want you to forget about Apollo 12.
The second manned mission to the Moon launched on November 14, 1969, four months after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made history and went bouncing about on the lunar surface that, it turns out, didn't swallow them like quicksand as NASA thought it might after all.
So if you're popping down to the National Maritime Museum’s exhibition The Moon, you can peruse objects from the Apollo 12 mission that are on loan from Washington's National Air and Space Museum, including a camera that astronauts Charles ‘Pete’ Conrad Jr and Alan L. Bean snapped pics with as they wandered about on the Moon, rock samples, an Omega watch worn by Conrad, and more.
Conrad and Bean may not be household names, but they executed their landing a darn sight better than Armstrong and Aldrin, touching down in the ‘Ocean of Storms’ landing site which the former pair missed by 4km. This wasn't nearly as embarrassing as Conrad earning the title of the first person to go arse over elbow on the Moon, but someone had to do it.
“It’s hard to follow a first like Apollo 11, but for one thing Conrad and Bean tripled their predecessors time walking on the Moon and brought back almost double the Moon rock," said Royal Observatory Greenwich Astronomer and Apollo expert, Brendan Owens. "Also, the world received a new perspective on the Moon beyond samples, experiment data, photographs and video through astronaut Al Bean. He became an artist. I had the chance many moons ago to interview the late great astronaut who was humble and clearly still thrilled to have been lucky enough to walk on the Moon.
"He shared his fellow astronauts’ opinion on his artwork later in life: ‘At first they didn’t know I wasn’t having a midlife crisis or something. Now they all love it because it celebrates something they were willing to risk their lives for.’ Visitors to The Moon should definitely come see Bean’s fantastic artwork – it has actual moondust in it from his Apollo mission patches!”
The exhibition runs until January 5, 2020, so there's plenty of time to grab a ticket and take a peek at the artefacts yourself. If you care less about the Moon and more about Lego, aside from getting a job here, you can watch our editor Tom construct his own Lego Lunar Lander at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, as well as his jaunt into restricted areas, because unsupervised curtains aren't the greatest security measure.