Fifty years ago “one small step for the man turned into a giant leap for mankind”, these were the first words said by Neil Armstrong on the moon on July 20, 1969. Neil Armstrong became immortal in history as the first person to ever step foot on the moon and 65 million people around the world tuned in to watch this historic event. This weekend we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of this historic feat.
It took 400,000 people to perform this inconceivable task. For reference, the aeroplane had only been invented in 1903, a mere 66 years back and the first commercial aeroplane had taken flight only 55 years back in 1914. No one at that time had imagined that in 50 years man would have set foot on the moon.
On July 16, 1969, the Saturn V was launched from the Kennedy Space Centre. Onboard for the Apollo 11 Space Mission were Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins. After orbiting around the moon, the lunar module named “The Eagle” separated from the module for a 13-minute journey to the surface of the moon. Michael Collins remained on-board the command module whilst Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made their way to the surface of the moon. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the surface of the moon in a vehicle named the “Sea of Tranquility”. The duo spent a total of 21 hours and 31 minutes on the surface of the moon collecting about 21.5kg (or 47.5 pounds) of lunar material to bring back to Earth. They also hoisted a plaque on the surface of the moon that read “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon, July 1969 AD. We came in peace for all mankind”. A reminder of their feat for eternity.
The flight path was riddled with difficulties, the astronauts had to face unknown error codes and at one point their fuel reserve dipped very low but they kept their calm and faced every situation head-on resulting in a successful mission. With their mission successful the astronauts focused back on Earth on the 25th of July splashing into the pacific ocean safe and sound. 10 more missions followed this one with the final one in 1972.
These space missions like the Apollo 11 Space Mission led to several scientific breakthroughs from CAT scans to freeze-dried food. The lunar material that was brought back acts as a time capsule for the solar system telling us the story of the formation of the moon, the solar system and a lot more.
To know more details, watch the Google doodle which is narrated by former astronaut and Apollo 11 command module pilot, Micheal Collins who gives us a firsthand insight on the mission.