Exactly how far astronaut Alan Shepard hit those golf balls on the Moon

Image analyst Andy Saunders used video and photographs to determine just how far "miles and miles and miles" is.

Not very far.


However, image specialist Andy Saunders recently analyzed archival stills taken by the astronauts with their Hasselblad cameras, as well as video from the lunar ascent module as it lifted off from the surface. Saunders managed to identify not only Shepard's golf balls, but also his footprints from his stance and his divots. By comparing these to more recent satellite images from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, Saunders was able to measure the distance on Shepard's second shot. The result? A rather tame 40 yards (120 feet).

Still, that's not bad for a one-handed bunker shot taken while wearing a bulky spacesuit in weak gravity. Plus, it served as one of the Apollo program's most memorable moments. When asked about the shot at a post-flight Congressional hearing, Shepard quipped, "I did this since I am patriotic and concerned about the security of the nation."