Astronauts being 'allergic' to Moon dust wasn't something NASA had really planned for. A member of its first group of astronauts had nearly been disqualified from the selection process for his hayfever, but was allowed to continue when he (rightly) pointed out there wasn't exactly any pollen in space. That was that, NASA thought. Or, at least, that was that until 1972, when Jack Schmitt landed on the Moon.
During the earliest days of crewed spaceflight, many doctors harboured concerns about what effects zero-gravity would have on the human body. While many of these concerns did not and have not come to fruition, one particular problem continues to linger: 'Space Adaptation Syndrome'.
2021 marks 60 years since NASA's Project Mercury got underway. A series of single-person spaceflights - the first of their kind for the agency - it aimed to prove whether the most basic human functions were possible in space. Could a human eat and drink in zero gravity? Could they sleep? Could they even survive?
According to NASA, the boldest test flight ever is not the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk, Chuck Yeager's breaking of the sound barrier, or even Yuri Gagarin becoming the first human in space. They argue it is actually the first flight of the Space Shuttle, which is marking its 40th anniversary in April 2021.
Although Apollo 9 did not travel to the Moon, it still had a very important role to play in the lead up to the first lunar landing. Here are 10 reasons why it deserves more recognition.