Ever wonder what it would feel like to be the first person or the first peanut to do something extraordinary? It is something we at Nebula House think about a lot, especially when a film like the new movie “The First Man” comes out. In the film, Ryan Gosling plays Neil Armstrong, the first man to have walked on the moon.
The First Man – 2018 –
But Neil Armstrong was not the only astronaut racking up firsts. Eight years before Armstrong’s trip to the moon, Alan Shepard famously became the very first man to fly into space, when he launched out of the earth’s atmosphere on May 5, 1961 in the Freedom 7 rocket. In the 1970s, Shepard also took a trip to the moon. On his trip, he took a peanut with him. On that flight the lone little peanut broke new ground and became the very first peanut on the moon (and in space)!
We wanted to know more about the story of this amazing little legume, so we did some research to find out whatever happened to that peanut, and this is what we learned:
That peanut belonged to a man named Jay Fiondella, the owner of a restaurant called ‘Chez Jay’ in Santa Monica, California a restaurant that is famous for its delicious peanuts. In the 1960s, Alan Shepard was a regular customer at Chez Jay. One evening, just before Alan was heading off to train for his moon landing, Jay handed him a peanut and asked him to take the peanut along for the ride. Not expecting him to actually do it, Jay forgot about it until a couple of months later when Alan called him and told him that his peanut was back from the moon. Alan even signed an affidavit (a legally sworn statement), saying that he took that little peanut to the moon!
Image from Twitter/sainsburys
For years, Jay carried the peanut around in a little plastic bag showing it to anyone he could. After Jay passed away many years later, his family locked the peanut away in the family safe where it sits still today. For now, questions abound. Will the government ever seize that peanut? How long can that peanut last before it disintegrates into dust? If the Fiondella family put that peanut up for auction, how much would it go for? Will that peanut ever find its way into the Smithsonian? Does that peanut now have magical powers? These are the questions that have been left unanswered.
If you are in Santa Monica or planning a trip anytime soon, the restaurant will be happy to show you a picture of that little peanut and tell you the rest of the story. We are far from Santa Monica, and sadly won’t be able to get there anytime soon — but if you make it there, send us the scoop.
Wanna see how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in space? Watch: