Which Is the First Game to Be Played in Space?

Emma | 05 - 27 - 2021
Golf on the Moon

Golf is one of the most popular sports globally, and it’s the only sport played on the moon. Read on and play our quiz to know more interesting facts about the first game to be played in space. 

First Game to Be Played in Space

50 years ago, Apollo 14 mission astronaut Alan Shepard was sent to the moon with two crew members. Apollo 14 was the eighth manned mission and third to land on the moon of the Apollo program. It was a nine-day mission to the moon. The mission involved an accurate landing with two days’ stays on the moon and two moonwalks on the lunar surface. This crew brought about 90 pounds of moon rock leaving back two golf balls. 

Astronaut Played Golf on the Moon

In 1971, Shepard performed a stunt on the moon which he had been planning for years, and Apollo 14 also became popular for this activity. Alan Shepard was the first American astronaut to land in space, he brought a Wilson six-iron golf club head and two golf balls with him to space. He attached the golf club head to the handle of one of the lunar excavation tools.

What Sport Has Been Played in Space?
  • A. Golf
  • B. Hockey
  • C. Cricket
  • D. Baseball

On the moon, one of the crew members, Edgar Mitchell threw a javelin and Shepard hit the balls with the modified golf six iron. Shepard missed the first ball but succeeded in the second. Shepard said that he saw that ball flying “miles and miles” and during that time no one calculated the precise distance the ball traveled. However, physicists have estimated that the ball might have traveled between two or two and a half miles from the hit point. 

Recently on the 50th anniversary of Apollo 14, the debate of how far the second ball traveled has come to an end. Imaging specialist Andy Saunders used digitally enhanced images and estimated the final resting spots of the golf balls. Saunder also has been working with the United States Golf Association (USGA) to find the accurate Shepard’s historic achievement. Saunders concluded that the first ball traveled about 24 yards, whereas the second ball traveled 40 yards. 

The story behind Alan Shepard Golf on the Moon

It is said that Shepard got the idea of performing a golf stunt on the moon from comedian Bob Hope. During his visit to NASA headquarters in Houston, Hope, an avid golfer, cracked a joke about hitting a golf ball on the moon. Shepard thought it an excellent idea to convey to people the difference in the strength of gravity. Shepard brought Wilson staff 6-iron head and NASA’s Technical Services division added some finishing touches. Shepard practiced golf at a course in Houston by wearing his 200-plus-pound spacesuit.

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