If the crew from Apollo 12 were nervous, they did not really show it much at all. In fact, Commander Pete Conrad spent most of his time cracking jokes and having fun with his crew during their space mission to the moon.
This may have been due to the fact that they knew they would not sink into the moon’s surface. Which was at the time of the first moon mission, a real concern. Several physicists and NASA consultants believed Neil Armstrong would sink into the moon’s sands like quicksand and be swallowed up by its grounds. This theory was largely mocked, but you can’t help but think it was in the back of Neil’s mind when he jumped off his spacecraft.
Of course, that never happened and Neil was able to land and make his famous quote: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” which he has always adamantly claimed it was a statement that was not planned at all. Yet it captured the minds of the whole world and put the entire NASA mission into a new focus.
Pete Conrad’s first words on stepping onto the moon, were of course as you may have guessed it a joke. You see leading up to this mission an Italian journalist by the name of Oriana Fallaci wrote a piece claiming that the government or NASA told the astronauts what they had to say on landing. Conrad, of course, wanted to prove her wrong, so made a bet for $500 that he would say a joke upon stepping onto the moon’s surface. And he told her exactly what he was going to say.
“Whoopie! Man, that may have been a small one for Neil, but that’s a long one for me.”
Conrad was after all only 5’6” so was considerably smaller than Neil. And at that moment he won the wager, with his joke, the first time humans were mocking themselves in outer space. But according to Conrad, he never saw that $500 – Oriana would not pay up!