A historical moment, and truly one of man kind’s greatest achievements, was the successful launch of Apollo 11. On the 20th of July, 1969, American Astronauts Neil Armstrong, as well as Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, became the first humans to land on the moon. (Talk about impressive). Neil Armstrong’s famous words upon stepping foot on that great big rock? “That’s one small step for man, a giant leap for mankind”. Well said.
Aboard the Lunar Module “Eagle” were the members of its crew: the commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins, and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin Aldrin. The out of this world (pun intended) Apollo program was an immensely costly and highly labor intensive endeavor, which involved an estimated 400,000 engineers, technicians, as well as scientists, and cost roughly $24 billion- That’s close to $100 billion in today’s dollars! The ghastly expense was justified by Kennedy’s 1961 mandate, which was to beat the Soviets to the moon, which is kind of cute, how competitive it all was, and all. Served as motivation too! However, after the feat was accomplished, ongoing missions lost their viability. For more awesome facts, read on:
Fact 1: The Apollo 11 Moon Landing was televised across the globe!
Fact 2: U.S. Astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, devote Christian, took a secret Christian communion before leaving the Apollo 11 moon-landing module, which included a wafer and some wine in a thimble. At the time, atheist Madelyn Murray O’Hair was suing NASA, and objected government employees from praying publically, as so Buzz had kept this a secret, with Neil Armstrong looking on quietly.
Fact 3: Some mementos that were left on the moon include: a patch from the Apollo 1 mission that never failed to launch, as flames consumed the command module killing three astronauts at the process, models to commemorate soviet cosmonauts Vladimir Komarov and Yuri Gagarin, good will messages which came from 73 world leaders, as well as a small gold olive branch-shaped pin, which symbolized peace.
Fact 4: There was a speech readied by President Richard Nixon incase the mission failed and the Apollo 11 moon walkers faced certain doom. The speech went along the lines of :”These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.”
Fact 5: Talk about a close call! One of the astronauts accidentally busted a circuit that would be responsible for propelling them back home. Lucky for them, Buzz Aldrin was around, and with a felt tip pen, pushed the breaker back into place. So basically, all that stood between life and imminent death was a pen?
Fact 6: Unfortunately, as the astronauts took off from the moon, the flying debris and rocks topped the planted American flag.
Fact 7: The plaque fixed to the leg of the lunar landing vehicle which was signed by President Nixon, Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., which also bore a map of the Earth had this inscription: “HERE MEN FROM THE PLANET EARTH FIRST SET FOOT UPON THE MOON JULY 1969 A.D. WE CAME IN PEACE FOR ALL MANKIND”. How diplomatic.
Fact 8: The mission duration took a whooping 195 hours, 18 minutes, and 35 seconds!
Fact 9: The spacecraft traversed through 250 meters of Lunar surface.
Fact 10: Apollo 11’s Lunar Module was the “Eagle”, which brought about Neil Armstrong’s famous line “The Eagle has landed”, when they radioed to mission control that they had landed safely down the shores of Mare Tranquillitatis, or better known as the Sea of Tranquility.