Scientists say the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter that is circling the moon has snapped the sharpest photos ever of the tracks and trash left by Apollo astronauts in visits from 1969 to 1972, including Apollo 12. (Courtesy: NASA/CBS)
Most people can name the first two astronauts that landed on the moon: Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, but can you name the third and fourth men who landed there? Well, their mission launched on this day in history in 1969.
That mission was Apollo 12, which launched on November 14th, 1969 aboard a Saturn V rocket.
Astronauts Alan Bean and Pete Conrad would land on the moon in the Lunar Module, while Richard Gordon stayed onboard the command module in orbit around Earth’s only natural satellite.
They landed where an unmanned probe called Surveyor 3 had landed a couple of years before, and took samples from that probe, which they would later return to Earth for study and analysis.
The astronauts, who spent a total of nearly eight hours on the lunar surface, also took many pictures and videos along with scientific information.
They returned to earth with a successful splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on the 24th of November, 1969.
When Apollo 12 astronaut Pete Conrad first stepped on the moon, his first words were somewhat less poetic that Neil Armstrong’s words of "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind!" He said quote "Whoopie! Man, that may have been a small one for Neil, but that's a long one for me!"