Fallen Astronaut

On this day in history, August 2nd, 1971; the crew of Apollo 15, Commander David Scott and Lunar Module Pilot James Irwin were finished their three days on the Moon, and 18½ hours outside the spacecraft on lunar extra-vehicular activity (EVA) near Mare Imbrium called Palus Putredinus. Meanwhile Alfred M. Worden continued his lunar orbits high above in the Command Service Module Endeavour.

Unknown to NASA and Mission Control, a small aluminum sculpture called "Fallen Astronaut" was placed on the Moon next to the lunar rover at the end of EVA 3, along with a small plaque bearing the names of 14 American astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts. 


Unknown at the time, two of the original selection of 20 cosmonauts had also died before Apollo 15: Valentin Bondarenko in a fire during training in March 1961 and Grigori Nelyubov in a train accident - February 1966. 

Unfortunately, their names were not included on the plaque. The memorial was left while the television camera was turned off. Only 
Lunar Module Pilot James Irwin knew what Scott was doing at the time. Scott told mission control he was doing some cleanup activities around the rover so they wouldn't have a clue as to what he was up to…
 
The names on the plaque are:
 
Charles A. Bassett II 
Pavel I. Belyayev 
Roger B. Chaffee
Georgiy T. Dobrovolsky
Theodore C. Freeman
Yuri A. Gagarin 
Edward G. Givens Jr.
Virgil I. Grissom 
Vladimir M. Komarov 
 Viktor I. Patsayev
Clifton C. Williams Jr. 
Georgiy T. Dobrovolsky 
Viktor I. Patsayev
Elliot M. See Jr.
Vladislav N. Volkov
Edward H. White II
Clifton C. Williams Jr.
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Perhaps the saddest thing about those who insist the moon landings were faked, is not the denial of mankind greatest scientific achievement, but more in denying the respect and honour deserved by those who gave everything, so that we could lay our footprints in the heavens...Goodspeed to all the crews lost in our planet's space programs.
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