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Journey to Moon

It was July 20, 1969 (10:56 PM) when the first human stepped on the surface of the Moon. He was Neil Armstrong with the following words :

" THAT'S ONE SMALL STEP FOR MAN, ONE GIANT LEAP FOR MANKIND"


A plume of flame signals the liftoff of
the Apollo 11 space vehicle and the mission
that put American astronauts on the moon.


The flight of the "big one" began right on schedule. On July 16, 1969, at 9:32 A.M bright orange flames and dark smoke began pouring out of the Saturn 5 rocket that supported the apollo spacecraft. The powerful blast-off battered eardrums and made the ground tremble. Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin, Jr. and Michael Collins were forced back into their seats as the giant rocket lifted into the sky. Within two and half minutes, they were streaking upward at 6,200 miles an hour.


Apollo 11 crew members (left to right)
Michael Collins, Neil Armstrong, and Edwin Aldrin.

During this time, the astronauts checked equipment and systems, carried out household tasks, and conducted telecasts for the people back home. "We have a happy home," Collins said during one of the telecasts. "Plenty of room for the three of us".


Astronaut Edwin Aldrin descends the
steps of the lunar module Eagle to the suface of the moon.

That was it. Human being had met the moon. A dream of centuries had been realized. Armstrong walked carefully across the surface. He found he could move easily despite his heavy space suit and backpack because the gravity of the moon is only one sixth as strong as that of the earth. After nineteen minutes, Armstrong was joined outside the landing craft by Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr. Then, gaining confidence with every step, the two began bounding across the barren landscape, at times even hopping like kangaroos. Hundreds of millions of people on Earth could watch them through the TV cameras they had set up. Meanwhile, the third member of the crew, Michael Collins, piloted the mission command ship in lunar orbit about 70 miles above the surface.


Astronaut Edwin Aldrin walks on the surface
of the moon near the leg of the landing craft.

When the two explorers had completed their work, they would rejoin Collins for the trip back to Earth. They took photos of lunar landscape. Gathering samples of rocks and soil was the most important. They scooped up almost 50 pounds of surface material, putting it in sealed containers for the return voyage. In all, Armstrong and Aldrin spent two hours and thirty-one minutes on the moon.They planted an American flag in the moon soil before coming back. Facing incredible risks, they had helped to launch humanity's greatest adventure-unlocking the mysteries of outer space.

In the years that followed, American astronauts made several other visits to the moon. There were, in fact, six moon landings between 1969 and 1972.

Apollo 17, in December, 1972, was the last moon mission. The astronauts of Apollo 17 were Eugene Cernan, Ronald Evans and Dr. Harrison Schmitt, a geologist and the first scientist to be assigned to a space mission. They left behind a plaque that read:

HERE MAN COMPLETED HIS FIRST
EXPLORATIONS OF THE MOON
DECEMBER 1972, A.D.
MAY THE SPIRIT OF PEACE IN WHICH WE CAME
BE REFLECTED IN THE LIVES OF ALL MANKIND.

 
 
     
 
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