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Astronauts Return to Earth From International Space Station – EcoWatch

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Though it’s essential to your gut and overall health, most people don’t reach the recommended daily amounts (RDA) of 25 and 38 grams for women and men, respectively.

Both soluble and insoluble fiber help bulk up your stools and can be used as a food source for good bacteria in your large intestine.

Soluble fiber draws water into your gut, which softens your stools and supports regular bowel movements.

It not only helps you feel fuller and reduces constipation but may also lower your cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Here are 20 healthy foods that are high in soluble fiber.

1. Black Beans

Black beans are not only a great way to give your dishes a meaty texture but also an amazing source of fiber.

One cup (172 grams) packs 15 grams, which is about what an average person consumes per day, or 40–60% of the RDA for adults.

Black beans contain pectin, a form of soluble fiber that becomes gummy-like in water. This can delay stomach emptying and make you feel fuller longer, giving your body more time to absorb nutrients.

Black beans are also rich in protein and iron, low in calories, and almost fat-free.

Soluble fiber content: 5.4 grams per three-quarter cup (129 grams) of cooked black beans.

2. Lima Beans

Lima beans, also known as butter beans, are large, flat, greenish-white beans.

They mainly contain carbs and protein, as well as a little fat.

They’re lower in total dietary fiber than black beans, but their soluble fiber content is almost identical. Lima beans also contain the soluble fiber pectin, which is associated with reduced blood sugar spikes after meals.

Raw lima beans are toxic when raw and should be soaked and boiled before you eat them.

Soluble fiber content: 5.3 grams per three-quarter cup (128 grams) of lima beans.

3. Brussels Sprouts

The world may be divided into Brussels sprout lovers and haters, but whatever side you’re on, it’s undeniable that this vegetable is packed with vitamins and minerals, along with various cancer-fighting agents.

What’s more, Brussels sprouts are a great source of fiber, with 4 grams per cup (156 grams).

The soluble fiber in Brussels sprouts can be used to feed beneficial gut bacteria. These produce vitamin K and B vitamins, along with short-chain fatty acids that support your gut lining.

Soluble fiber content: 2 grams per one-half cup (78 grams) of Brussels sprouts.

4. Avocados

Avocados originate from Mexico but have gained popularity worldwide.

Haas avocados are the most common type. They’re an excellent source of monounsaturated fats, potassium, vitamin E, and dietary fiber.

One avocado packs 13.5 grams of dietary fiber. However, one serving — or one-third of the fruit — provides about 4.5 grams, 1.4 of which are soluble.

Rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber, avocados really stand out in this regard.

Compared with other popular fiber sources, they contain lower amounts of the antinutrients phytate and oxalate, which can reduce mineral absorption.

Soluble fiber content: 2.1 grams per one-half avocado.

5. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are high in potassium, beta carotene, B vitamins, and fiber. Just one medium-sized sweet potato packs over 400% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) of vitamin A.

What’s more, the average potato contains about 4 grams of fiber, almost half of which is soluble.

Therefore, sweet potatoes can contribute significantly to your total soluble fiber intake.

Soluble fiber may be important for weight management. The more of it you eat, the greater the release of gut-satiety hormones, which may help reduce your overall appetite.

Soluble fiber content: 1.8 grams per one-half cup (150 grams) of cooked sweet potato.

6. Broccoli

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that grows well in cool seasons. It’s usually dark green, but you can also find purple varieties.

It’s high in vitamin K, which helps your blood clot, and is a good source of folate, potassium, and vitamin C. It also has antioxidant and anticancer properties.

Broccoli is a good source of dietary fiber, with 2.6 grams per 3.5 ounces (100 grams), more than half of which is soluble.

The high amount of soluble fiber in broccoli can support your gut health by feeding the good bacteria in your large intestine. These bacteria produce beneficial short-chain fatty acids, such as butyrate and acetate.

Soluble fiber content: 1.5 grams per one-half cup (92 grams) of cooked broccoli.

7. Turnips

Turnips are root vegetables. Larger varieties are usually fed to livestock, but the smaller types are a great addition to your diet.

The most abundant nutrient in turnips is potassium, followed by calcium and vitamins C and K.

They’re also great for upping your fiber intake — 1 cup packs 5 grams of fiber, 3.4 of which are soluble.

Soluble fiber content: 1.7 grams per one-half cup (82 grams) of cooked turnips.

8. Pears

Pears are crisp and refreshing and serve as a decent source of vitamin C, potassium, and various antioxidants.

What’s more, they’re an excellent source of fiber, with 5.5 grams in one medium-sized fruit. Soluble fiber contributes 29% of the total dietary fiber content of pears, the main form being pectin.

Due to their high fructose and sorbitol contents, pears can sometimes have a laxative effect. If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you may need to moderate your intake.

Soluble fiber content: 1.5 grams per medium-sized pear.

9. Kidney Beans

Their characteristic shape gave kidney beans their name.

They’re a key ingredient in chili con carne and great source of dietary fiber, complex carbs, and protein. They’re also almost fat-free and contain some calcium and iron.

Kidney beans are a good source of soluble fiber, particularly pectin.

However, some people find beans hard to digest. If that’s the case for you, start increasing your kidney bean intake slowly to avoid bloating.

Soluble fiber content: 3 grams per three-quarter cup (133 grams) of cooked beans.

10. Figs

Figs were one of the first cultivated plants in human history.

They’re highly nutritious, containing calcium, magnesium, potassium, B vitamins, and other nutrients.

Both dried and fresh figs are great sources of soluble fiber, which slows the movement of food through your intestines, allowing more time for nutrient absorption.

Based on anecdotal evidence, dried figs have been used as a home remedy to relieve constipation for years. While one study found that fig paste improved bowel movements in constipated dogs, human-based research is lacking.

Soluble fiber content: 1.9 grams per one-fourth cup (37 grams) of dried figs.

11. Nectarines

Nectarines are stone fruits that grow in warm, temperate regions. They’re similar to peaches, but don’t have the same characteristic fuzzy skin.

They’re a good source of B vitamins, potassium, and vitamin E. What’s more, they contain various substances with antioxidant properties.

One medium-sized nectarine has 2.4 grams of fiber, more than half of which is soluble.

Soluble fiber content: 1.4 grams per medium-sized nectarine.

12. Apricots

Apricots are small, sweet fruits that range in color from yellow to orange, with the occasional red tinge.

They’re low in calories and a good source of vitamins A and C.

Three apricots provide 2.1 grams of fiber, the majority of which is soluble.

In Asia, apricots have been used in folk medicine for years, and it’s believed that they can protect people from heart disease.

They may also aid digestion. One study found that mice eating fiber from apricots had higher stool weights than those who received insoluble fiber alone.

Soluble fiber content: 1.4 grams per 3 apricots.

13. Carrots

Carrots are one of the most popular and tasty vegetables on Earth.

Boiled or steamed, carrots are a key ingredient in many recipes, but they can also be grated into salads or used to make desserts like carrot cake.

With good reason, you may have been told as a child to eat carrots to help you see in the dark.

Carrots are packed with beta carotene, some of which is converted into vitamin A. This vitamin supports your eyes and is particularly important for night vision.

One cup (128 grams) of chopped carrots contains 4.6 grams of dietary fiber, 2.4 of which are soluble.

Since many people enjoy this vegetable daily, it can be a key source of soluble fiber.

Soluble fiber content: 2.4 grams per cup (128 grams) of cooked carrots.

14. Apples

Apples are one of the most commonly eaten fruits in the world. Most varieties are quite sweet, but others like Granny Smith can be very sour.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is an old proverb that may have some truth, as eating this fruit is associated with a lower risk of many chronic diseases.

Apples pack various vitamins and minerals and are a good source of the soluble fiber pectin. Apple pectin may have many health benefits, such as a reduced risk of heart disease and improved gut function.

Soluble fiber content: 1 gram per medium-sized apple.

15. Guavas

Guavas are a tropical fruit native to Mexico and Central and South America. Their skin is typically green, while the pulp can range from off-white to deep-pink.

One guava packs 3 grams of dietary fiber, about 30% of which is soluble.

This fruit has been shown to reduce blood sugar, as well as total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in healthy people. In part, this may be due to the soluble fiber pectin, which can delay the absorption of sugar.

Soluble fiber content: 1.1 grams per raw guava fruit.

16. Flax Seeds

Flax seeds, also known as linseeds, are tiny brown, yellow, or golden seeds.

They pack a nutritious punch and can be a great way to improve the nutrient content of your smoothies, breads, or cereals.

Sprinkling 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds over your porridge can add an extra 3.5 grams of fiber and 2 grams of protein to your breakfast. They’re also one of the best plant-based sources of omega-3 fats.

If possible, soak ground flax seeds overnight, as this allows their soluble fiber to combine with water to form a gel, which may aid digestion.

Soluble fiber content: 0.6–1.2 grams per tablespoon (14 grams) of whole flax seeds.

17. Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are a great nutritious snack and often purchased already shelled to reveal the tasty sunflower heart.

They contain about 3 grams of dietary fiber per one-fourth cup, 1 gram of which is soluble. What’s more, they’re rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, protein, magnesium, selenium, and iron.

Soluble fiber content: 1 gram per one-fourth cup (35 grams) of sunflower seeds.

18. Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts are a delicious type of nut that can be eaten raw or roasted for a stronger flavor. They’re also often used as an ingredient in chocolate bars and spreads.

One-fourth cup of hazelnuts packs about 3.3 grams of dietary fiber, one-third of which is soluble. Additionally, they’re rich in unsaturated fats, vitamin E, thiamine, and iron.

Partly due to their soluble fiber content, hazelnuts may help reduce your risk of heart disease by lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Soluble fiber content: 1.1 grams per one-fourth cup (34 grams) of hazelnuts.

19. Oats

Oats are one of the most versatile and healthy grains around. You can use them to make breakfast cereals, breads, scones, flapjacks, or fruit crumbles.

They contain beta glucan, a form of soluble fiber that’s associated with reduced LDL (bad) cholesterol and improved blood sugar control. It’s estimated that 3 grams of oat beta glucan per day can reduce your risk of heart disease.

About 1.25 cups (100 grams) of dry oats contain 10 grams of total dietary fiber. This is divided into 5.8 grams of insoluble and 4.2 grams of soluble fiber, 3.6 of which are beta glucan.

Beta glucan is also what gives porridge its characteristic creamy texture.

Soluble fiber content: 1.9 grams per cup (233 grams) of cooked oats.

20. Barley

Some people may associate barley with the brewing industry, but this nutritious ancient grain is also often used to thicken soups, stews, or risottos.

Like oats, it contains about 3.5–5.9% of the soluble fiber beta glucan, which has been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease.

Other forms of soluble fiber in barley are psyllium, pectin, and guar gum.

Soluble fiber content: 0.8 grams per one-half cup (79 grams) of cooked barley.

The Bottom Line

Soluble fiber is great for your gut and overall health, reducing your risk of heart disease by lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol and helping you balance your blood sugar levels.

If you want to increase your soluble fiber intake, it’s often best to start slowly and build it up gradually.

It’s also a good idea to drink plenty of water. This will help the soluble fiber form a gel, which aids digestion and prevents constipation.

All fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes contain some soluble fiber, but certain foods like Brussels sprouts, avocados, flax seeds, and black beans are the cream of the crop.

Reposted with permission from Healthline. For detailed source information, please view the original article on Healthline.

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How the NFL made it to Super Bowl with no COVID-19 game cancellations – Axios

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The NFL’s giant COVID-19 experiment ends Sunday with the improbable feat of an on-time Super Bowl, capping a season with no canceled games.

Why it matters: The season suggests that with the right resources, safety measures and cooperation — all of which have been lacking in the general U.S. response — life can go on during the pandemic without uncontrolled spread of the virus. 

The big picture: The NFL decided early on that it wouldn’t require its thousands of players, coaches and other staff to live in a “bubble,” as other sports leagues had done.

  • Instead, the league scaled up the public health basics of social distancing, testing, contact tracing and isolation across all 32 teams. To prevent spread, officials were prepared to postpone games or bench players.

Jeff Miller, the NFL’s executive vice president of communications, public affairs and policy, told Axios: “The approach we took was to appreciate that there was an expectation that individuals would get COVID — and what could we do to prevent it from spreading throughout our facilities.”

  • “Our protocols were built on that premise — that living in our 32 communities during a pandemic was a risk, but we wanted to ensure that as best as possible we could prevent” virus spread.

Between the lines: Some of the NFL’s findings were published by the CDC — including what the league learned about transmission of the virus. 

  • The most important changes the league had to make over time related to “our evolution of what a high-risk contact was,” Miller said.

The league discovered that risky contacts with an infected person weren’t limited to 15-minute interactions within 6 feet. The definition instead became more complex, factoring in time, distance, ventilation and mask-wearing. 

  • “Those four factors all had an interplay within them, which was, in our experience, vastly more complicated than six feet and 15 minutes,” Miller said.

The bottom line: “We never saw the virus transmitted across the line of scrimmage,” Miller said — even when players who later tested positive participated in the game. 

  • The league was able to confirm this was the case through genetic sequencing.

Go deeper: Super Bowl preview

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Coronavirus Variant First Found in Britain Now Spreading Rapidly in US – The New York Times

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A more contagious variant of the coronavirus first found in Britain is spreading rapidly in the United States, doubling roughly every 10 days, according to a new study.

Analyzing half a million coronavirus tests and hundreds of genomes, a team of researchers predicted that in a month this variant could become predominant in the United States, potentially bringing a surge of new cases and increased risk of death.

The new research offers the first nationwide look at the history of the variant, known as B.1.1.7, since it arrived in the United States in late 2020. Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that B.1.1.7 could become predominant by March if it behaved the way it did in Britain. The new study confirms that projected path.

“Nothing in this paper is surprising, but people need to see it,” said Kristian Andersen, a co-author of the study and a virologist at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif. “We should probably prepare for this being the predominant lineage in most places in the United States by March.”

Dr. Andersen’s team estimated that the transmission rate of B.1.1.7 in the United States is 30 percent to 40 percent higher than that of more common variants, although those figures may rise as more data comes in, he said. The variant has already been implicated in surges in other countries, including Ireland, Portugal and Jordan.

“There could indeed be a very serious situation developing in a matter of months or weeks,” said Nicholas Davies, an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who was not involved in the study. “These may be early signals warranting urgent investigation by public health authorities.”

Dr. Davies cautioned that U.S. data is patchier than that in Britain and other countries that have national variant monitoring systems. Still, he found results from some parts of the United States especially worrisome. In Florida, where the new study indicates the variant is spreading particularly quickly, Dr. Davies fears that a new surge may hit even sooner than the rest of the country.

“If these data are representative, there may be limited time to act,” he said.

Dr. Andersen and his colleagues posted their study online on Sunday. It has not yet been published in a scientific journal.

When the British government announced the discovery of B.1.1.7 on Dec. 20, Dr. Andersen and other researchers in the United States began checking for it in American coronavirus samples. The first case turned up on Dec. 29 in Colorado, and Dr. Andersen found another soon after in San Diego. In short order it was spotted in many other parts of the country.

But it was difficult to determine just how widespread the variant was. B.1.1.7 contains a distinctive set of 23 mutations scattered in a genome that is 30,000 genetic letters long. The best way to figure out if a virus belongs to the B.1.1.7 lineage is to sequence its entire genome — a process that can be carried out only with special machines.

The C.D.C. contracted with Helix, a lab testing company, to examine their Covid-19 samples for signs of B.1.1.7. The variant can deliver a negative result on one of the three tests that Helix uses to find the coronavirus. For further analysis, Helix sent these suspicious samples to Illumina to have their genomes sequenced. Last month Helix reached out to Dr. Andersen and his colleagues to help analyze the data.

Analyzing 212 American B.1.1.7 genomes, Dr. Andersen’s team concluded that the variant most likely first arrived in the United States by late November, a month before it was detected.

The variant was separately introduced into the country at least eight times, most likely as a result of people traveling to the United States from Britain between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The researchers combined data from the genome sequencing with Helix’s overall test results to come up with an estimate of how quickly the variant had spread. It grew exponentially more common over the past two months.

In Florida, the scientists estimate that more than 4 percent of cases are now caused by B.1.1.7. The national figure may be 1 percent or 2 percent, according to his team’s calculations.

If that’s true, then a thousand or more people may be getting infected with the variant every day. The C.D.C. has recorded only 611 B.1.1.7 cases, attesting to the inadequacy of the country’s genomic surveillance.

In parts of the country where Helix doesn’t do much testing, it is likely delivering an underestimate of the spread, Dr. Andersen cautioned. “I can guarantee you that there are places where B.1.1.7 might be relatively prevalent by now that we would not pick up,” he said.

“There’s still a lot that we have to learn,” said Nathan Grubaugh, a virologist at Yale University who was not involved in the study. “But these things are important enough that we have to start doing things now.”

It’s possible that chains of B.1.1.7 transmission are spreading faster than other viruses. Or it might be that B.1.1.7 was more common among incoming travelers starting new outbreaks.

“I still think that we are weeks away from really knowing how this will turn out,” Dr. Grubaugh said.

The contagiousness of B.1.1.7 makes it a threat to take seriously. Public health measures that work on other variants may not be enough to stop B.1.1.7. More cases in the United States would mean more hospitalizations, potentially straining hospitals that are only now recovering from record high numbers of patients last month.

Making matters worse, Dr. Davies and his colleagues at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine posted a study online on Wednesday suggesting that the risk of dying of B.1.1.7 is 35 percent higher than it is for other variants. The study has yet to be published in a scientific journal.

Communities can take steps to fight variants like B.1.1.7, as Dr. Grubaugh and his Yale University colleagues recently described in the journal Cell. For instance, they said, health officials should reinforce messaging about wearing effective masks, avoiding large gatherings and making sure indoor spaces are well ventilated.

The scientists also urged governments to require sick leave for people diagnosed with Covid-19 to stop workplace spread. “Such measures could help to significantly reduce community transmission,” Dr. Grubaugh and his co-authors wrote.

Vaccinations can also be part of the strategy to fight B.1.1.7. In Israel, where the variant is now predominant, new cases, severe illnesses and hospitalizations have already dropped significantly in people over 65, a group that was given top priority for vaccines.

“What we need to do with the current vaccines is get them into as many people as we can as quickly as possible,” Dr. Andersen said.

Driving down B.1.1.7 will also reduce the risk that the variant will evolve into something even worse. Already in Britain, researchers have found samples of B.1.1.7 that have gained a new mutation with the potential to make vaccines less effective. It’s not clear whether these viruses will become common. But they demonstrate that the coronavirus has a lot of evolutionary space left to explore.

“We should expect them to crop up here,” Dr. Andersen said. “Whatever was true elsewhere is going to be true here as well, and we need to deal with it.”

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Fifty years ago, Alan Shepard blasted from an endless sand trap and we just now found his ball – pennlive.com

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The most widely watched golf shot in history did not occur in a major tournament. It wasn’t even in a PGA event. In fact, it did not take place on Earth. And, as it turns out, its distance has been embellished by legend.

It was a one-handed chip with a converted Wilson Staff 6-iron club head adapted to an aluminum moon rock sample scooper. And the golfer was Alan Shepard, first American in space, 5th man on the Moon.

Shepard hit two golf balls on live television exactly half a century ago yesterday at the end of the Apollo 14 moonwalk. Because of the portable TV camera’s perpendicular angle to the flight of the ball, exactly how far the shots went was left up to the commentary of the jocular original “Mercury seven” astronaut. The first one, he clearly duffed.

But the second one appeared to be nutted and Shepard suggested it might’ve gone “miles and miles!”

Well, not exactly. But who’s keeping track?

Nobody really, until a 46-year-old British imaging specialist named Andy Saunders used his skills to enhance the clarity of long-sequestered video and photography from Apollo 14 and other moon missions. And the results are nothing short of astounding.

Saunders’ painstaking work used both new digital and traditional photo techniques to improve the brightness, sharpness and contrast of the 5-decade-old Apollo moon program (1968-72) shots so that we now can see more clearly all sorts of details hidden before – from the desolate gray surface to obscured faces of astronauts behind their helmet visors to intricate features of the lunar landers and equipment to, yes, the exact position of Shepard’s two golf shots.

Lunar golf ball

Enhanced NASA photo that now clearly shows one of Alan Shepard’s golf balls.Andy Saunders/NASA

Saunders’ photographs will be available later this year in a book entitled Apollo Remastered, to be published by Penguin Random House. Some have been posted and can be seen on the publisher’s advance website, ApolloRemastered.com.

Being the son of an industrial engineer at Apollo command/service module subcontractor North American Rockwell, I grew up amid the wonder of the U.S. space program. So, I was eager to spend a half hour on Friday with Saunders by phone from his home in Culcheth, Cheshire county, England.

As Saunders explains it, the original and clearest film negatives were socked away in NASA cold storage until very recently:

“Somewhere in the last five years, they finally got the original flight film out of the freezer and scanned it to an incredible resolution in about 1.3-gigobyte file sizes. And every minute detail that was in that camera is on this digital file.”

For someone like Saunders – a space nut since childhood who had developed considerable skill with image enhancing – this was like a gift from heaven.

“But of course, in an analog world, with photochemical processing, they weren’t designed for digital; they were designed to have light shining through them onto paper or in projection. So, you need to digitally enhance them to get the best out of them. And that’s what I’ve been using.”

Andy Saunders

British photo imaging specialist and author Andy Saunders will publish a book of his enhanced images of NASA’s moon landings later this year, to be entitled “Apollo Remastered”.Penguin Random House

Considering the advances in digital enhancement technology just over the past decade, this offered a unique opportunity to significantly clarify some of the most important images in human history.

So, how far did those 6-iron shots go in one-sixth gravity? That’s been a subject of hyperbolic conjecture, not just a little encouraged by the playful Shepard before his death in 1998.

We’ll get to that. But first some background on how Shepard managed to golf on Earth’s sand trap satellite in the first place. He had been seeded with the idea by an offhand crack from Bob Hope during the comedian’s visit to the Johnson Spaceflight Center in Houston in 1970. The idea stuck with Shepard when he was slated for Apollo 14 later that year.

Shepard tells the entire story of the lunar golf shot at 1:02:30 of an 88-minute interview with former NBC spaceflight correspondent and Philadelphia native Roy Neal conducted in 1998, five months before the astronaut’s death from leukemia:

“I was an avid golfer. And before the flight, I was intrigued that a ball, with the same clubhead speed, would go six times as far and it’s time of flight would be at least six times as long. It would not curve, because there’s no atmosphere to make it slice or hook.

“So, I thought: What a neat place to whack a golf ball.”

When Shepard approached NASA manned spaceflight director Bob Gilruth with his idea, the response was immediate and emphatic: Forget about it. But Shepard persisted with an explanation: The only extra cargo was the clubhead, crafted by a pro he knew in Houston, plus a couple of golf balls:

“Which I paid for myself,” Shepard added with puckish grin. “No taxpayer expense.”

All of that would be left on the lunar surface. If anything at all went amiss during either of two 4½-hour extravehicular activities (EVA) on the Moon, Shepard agreed he wouldn’t do it. If everything went as planned, he’d hit a couple of balls at the very end of the second EVA on Feb. 6, 1971, climb up the ladder with partner and lunar module pilot Ed Mitchell and close the hatch.

In other words, it was sort of the mic drop of the show. And by that point in the Apollo program – with moon missions incredibly becoming old hat more than two years after the first lunar orbit of Apollo 8, and 18 months after the first manned landing of Apollo 11 – the show mattered. Gilruth relented.

Lunar 6-iron

The lunar 6-iron, used by NASA astronaut Alan Shepard during the Apollo 14 moonwalk on Feb. 6, 1971. A Houston golf pro friend of Shepard’s made the club from a Wilson 6-iron head and a lunar-sample-scooper handle. Shepard later donated the club to the USGA museumGetty Images/Steve Pyke

As it turned out, all went swimmingly with Shepard and Mitchell’s EVA, so out came the modified club head and two balls the commander had stowed in a pocket in his suit. He snapped it on the moonrock scooper, tossed a ball in the dust and addressed it with some great flair.

Shepard knew from trying out his flexibility in the bulky suit during training that there was no way he could either manage much of a backswing or keep both gloved hands on the scooper handle. His vision was also limited by inability to bend his neck much inside the EVA helmet. So, he used his right hand only and tried a sort of flick at the ball like a gardener whacking weeds with a scythe.

His first stroke at the first ball barely moved it. The second try was shanked and obviously didn’t go far, prompting a mocking reaction from Mitchell. But after the third and final try, on a second ball, Shepard exclaimed as if he was Lee Trevino admiring a perfect drive: “Miles and miles and miles!” That’s the shot viewers imagined might’ve flown on and on, unencumbered by atmosphere.

Saunders has been working on all the Apollo moon footage for years now. Some of the results are stunning. In one, you can now clearly see Neil Armstrong’s face behind his visor, a rare shot anyway because he had the still camera for most of the EVA and almost all the lunar shots you see of Apollo 11 are of lunar module pilot and fellow moonwalker Buzz Aldrin.

So, the Apollo 14 enhancement is only part of a massive project. But the Shepard golf ball search was an obvious attraction:

“Before, maybe you could find a golf ball in the old quality. It looked a bit like a rock even in the new high-res scans. But [now] you could zoom in so far, because they were in such high resolution, and process them hard enough that you could tell – that was definitely a golf ball.”

Alan Shepard's golf shots

Wide-frame of Apollo 14 landing site with locations of divots and ball landing spots of Alan Shepard’s golf shots.NASA

Saunders was able to find and triangulate the position of both balls using frontal and lateral still photos from the portable lunar camera and overhead photos from the video camera atop the ascent stage of the lunar module as it blasted off to return to the command module.

The conclusion: Shepard’s first shot went 24 yards. The landing spot of his second one, which had never before been glimpsed, was not in fact “miles and miles” away, as most who knew Shepard’s mischievous nature pretty much suspected – but a mere 40 yards.

Alan Shepard's golf shots

Enhanced still frame taken from lunar ascent vehicle camera as Apollo 14 blasted from the lunar surface, including Shepard’s golf balls and Ed Mitchell’s “javelin” throw of an unused metal rod.Andy Saunders/NASA

Another tall golf tale. Saunders gives him all credit regardless:

“One-handed, quarter swing, can’t see properly, with that giant backpack on, hitting from effectively the biggest sand trap in the solar system? Well done.”

Theoretically, how far could a golf ball be driven on the moon by some bomber such as Bryson DeChambeau, given a hypothetical future in which humans could be protected from the extreme lunar temperatures in formfitting coveralls we can’t imagine today, maybe at some sort of sheltered lunar Topgolf franchise? Saunders did the math and says Shepard’s exaggeration would no longer be one: about 3.41 miles.

Alan Shepard was a man of myriad accomplishments including uncommon bravery as both a jet fighter test pilot, not to mention his mounting a Redstone rocket in 1961, previous editions of which had blown up on the pad, to be first American to ride the fire into space.

Yet, nuttily enough, he is still possibly best known 23 years after his death for being the only Moon golfer.

He probably wouldn’t mind, as he later affirmed of that 6-iron from a bad lie:

“It was designed to be a fun thing. Fortunately, it was a fun thing.”

More PennLive sports coverage:

Four strange factoids about Super Bowl 55 including a lot of firsts for old guys.

Hall of Fame candidates like Curt Schilling are judged not only as professionals but as people – just like all of us.

Why those who love college basketball the most loved John Chaney most of all.

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