Geek Trivia

The Only Person To Be Interred On The Moon Is?

Sally Ride
Neil Armstrong
Eugene Shoemaker
Buzz Aldrin
The Rain Forests Of Argentina Are Threatened By What Unlikely Invasive Species?

Answer: Eugene Shoemaker

His name isn’t exactly a household one unless you live in a household of avid space buffs, but his contributions to the field of astrogeology and space exploration are significant. Eugene Merle Shoemaker (1928-1997) pioneered the field of astrogeology, trained astronauts in the Apollo program (and was in fact slated to be the first geologist on the Moon before it was discovered he had Addison’s disease), and he co-anchored the CBS News as a guest commentator during many of the Apollo Moon missions, working beside Walter Cronkite. He also co-discovered the Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 (a significant comet that offered scientists a chance to study planetary impacts when it collided with Jupiter in 1994).

On July 31, 1999, a little over two years after his unfortunate death in a car crash while studying impact craters in Australia, some of his ashes were deposited on the Moon by the Lunar Prospector probe. The probe, after orbiting the Moon to study it, completed its mission by impacting the surface to study a water ice site in a crater located near the lunar south pole. After dedicating his life to the study of astrogeology, Shoemaker became the only person to be buried on the moon and, most appropriately, in a geologic feature he would have been thrilled to study up close.