Humankind has always looked up to the mystifying moon. However, it has been more than half a century since humans landed on the moon. 52 years ago, on July 20th, 1969, Apollo 11 from the Apollo program landed on the moon with its commander Neil Amstrong. The lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin landed the Apollo lunar module Eagle on its surface. Neil Armstrong stepped on the surface of the moon followed by Aldrin. National moon day is celebrated on the 20th of July every year commemorating this day when one small step of a man turned to be the greatest leap of mankind.
Lunar module – Eagle
From the Kennedy Space center at Merritt island, Apollo 11 was launched by the rocket Saturn V. This was the fifth Apollo mission of NASA’s Apollo program. The primary intention of this mission was to complete the goal set by the president John F Kennedy, which was to perform a crewed landing on the moon and return to the earth. This spacecraft had three parts. The one with a cabin for three astronauts (Command Module), the part that supported the command module with oxygen, electric power, water (Service Module) and the module which helped in the landing on the moon and placing the astronauts back in the lunar orbit (Lunar Module).
Command module – Columbia
July 20, 1969, Eagle
The spacecraft was set on to the trajectory by the rocket Saturn V. After travelling for 3 days, they got into lunar orbit. On the 20th at 20:17 PM, the satellite landed on the moon. Six hours after landing, at 2:56 AM, Armstrong and Aldrin stepped on the Sea of Tranquility which is a plane formed due to the asteroid impact. It was chosen for the landing as it was a relatively smooth and level area. Televisions broadcasted this momentous event and it was watched by millions from the earth. Michael Collins, who flew the command module, stayed in the lunar orbit as a communication link and he also took pictures. The two astronauts walked on the surface of the moon and also collected lunar materials, mainly dust and rocks.
July 24th, Pacific Ocean
The two astronauts returned to Collins in lunar orbit and the three of them headed back to Earth. After spending more than eight days in space, they landed the spacecraft with the help of a parachute to the Pacific ocean.
After their landing, the astronauts were quarantined as a precaution against bringing the contagions from the moon for about three weeks. This crew was supported by a backup crew with a commander, a lunar module pilot and a command module pilot.
The US president Richard Nixon, in 1971 declared july 20th as the Moon day but it was by 1975 when 12 states sponsored bills observing the Moon day. The official declaration was made by President Donald Trump in 2019. It was he who proclaimed this day as the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission.
The Moon day celebrations consider the accomplishments of all states in the moon explorations and also raises awareness to the public about the sustainable moon explorations and utilizations. The Moon has become the destination of numerous missions. This global observance will serve as an annual testimony to future ventures.
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Kennedy Space Center