Monday, July 19, 2010

This Week in American History- The First Man on the Moon

On July 20th in the year 1969, at 10:56 at night a man 240,000 miles from earth uttered unforgettable words as he took an unforgettable step. Neil Armstrong, an American, became the first man to set foot on the moon. Over a billion people, across the world, listened as he spoke the words, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

The desire to send astronauts to the moon began when John F. Kennedy delivered the Man on the Moon speech. At the time of his speech, the Soviet Union was more advanced in space technology Americans, living in the Cold War era, were excited about Kennedy's idea.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (a.k.a NASA) conducted several missions, manned and unmanned, beginning in 1966. Finally, on July 16th, at 9:32 a.m. Apollo 11, with astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin Jr., and Michael Collins on board, took off from Kennedy Space Center. Armstrong was the commander of the mission. Within seventy-six hours (July 19th) Apollo 11 had traveled 240,000 miles and entered into a lunar orbit.

On July 20th, at 1:46 p.m., the lunar module Eagle dispatched from the command module, where only Collins remained. The Eagle began its descent to the lunar surface two hours later. At 4:18 p.m. the Eagle touched down on the southwestern edge of the Sea of Tranquility. Armstrong radioed the now famous message, "The Eagle has landed" to the Mission Control in Houston, Texas. Then, at 10:39 p.m., five hours ahead of schedule, Armstrong stepped out of the lunar module and made his descent to the gray, powdery surface of the moon. At 10:56, Armstrong's foot was printed into the large sphere that we see at night. At 11:11 p.m. Aldrin joined Armstrong on the moon. The two took photos, ran scientific tests, and planted an American flag on the surface of the moon. They also spoke with President Richard M. Nixon. By 1:11 a.m. on July 21st, the two had retreated to the lunar module, where they spent the night. Besides the American flag, a plaque reading "Here men from the planet Earth first set foot on the moon--July 1969 A.D--We came in peace for all mankind" was left on the moon.


1 comment:

  1. Captain and Molly,

    Not sure if you've ever been to the Kennedy Space center; they have a very informative and interesting exhibit and short movie about this. It's a nice day trip. You can even check out their website and time your trip with a launch event. When we were there they launced a rocket! It's a great way to make your research come to life.

    NC1 Drinkwater