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Monday, 27 June 2016

The Moon landings

During an address to a joint session of Congress on May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy proposed a national goal of "landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth" by the end of the 1960s.

President Kennedy delivers his proposal to put a man on the Moon to Congress

After hearing President's Kennedy's "end of the decade" speech, an Englishman made a wager with a bookmaker of 10 pounds at 1000/1 "that a man will set foot on the surface of the moon before the first of January 1970." He thought it was "a common sense bet."

During a September 20, 1963 speech before the United Nations General Assembly, President Kennedy proposed that the United States and the Soviet Union join forces in their efforts to reach the Moon. Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev's son Sergei claimed Khrushchev was poised to accept Kennedy's proposal at the time of Kennedy's assassination. The Soviets did not trust Vice President Johnson, so Khrushchev rejected the plan.

Launched on December 21, 1968, Apollo 8 was the second manned mission of the Apollo space program. Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot James Lovell and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders became the first humans to travel beyond Earth orbit and into an orbit around the Moon.

Apollo 8 crew. From left to right are: James A. Lovell Jr., William A. Anders, and Frank Borman

On December 24, 1968, the Apollo 8 astronauts gazed beyond the barren moonscape at the beauty and color of the earth rising, The crew were the first humans to witness Earthrise. As they saw from a distance the separations of day and night and of land and water described in Genesis 1, the three were inspired to read from the Bible the account of God's creation of the earth during a Christmas Eve television broadcast. At the time, the broadcast was the most watched TV program ever.

Taken by Apollo 8 crewmember Bill Anders on December 24, 1968

Kennedy's goal was accomplished on the Apollo 11 mission when astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin landed their Lunar Module on July 20, 1969, and walked on the lunar surface.

Robert Goddard, the scientist who created the first liquid fueled rocket, which was launched in 1926, was ridiculed for his belief man could reach the moon.The New York Times even mocked his understanding of basic physics.They later published a correction the day after the launch of Apollo 11.

Right before Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission in 1969, his fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin, an elder at his Presbyterian church back on Earth, took communion on board the Lunar Module. He had prepared ahead of time a small wafer and wine. NASA made Aldrin maintain radio silence, but he still took the Eucharist elements and read John 15:5 ("I am the vine, you are the branches…") while Armstrong looked on. So, the first liquid poured on the moon, and the first food eaten there, was the wine and the bread!

Buzz Aldrin (pictured) walked on the Moon with Neil Armstrong, on Apollo 11, July 20–21, 1969

When Apollo 11 landed, it had only about 25 seconds of fuel left.

The first words spoken on the moon were said by Neil Armstrong: “That's one small step for man, a giant leap for mankind."  The speech, as written by his wife, read "That's one small step for a man, a giant leap for mankind." Unfortunately he forgot the a in the between for and man, thus changing the meaning.

Like two children playing on the beach, Armstrong and Aldrin bounced up and down on the lunar surface. Armstrong said: "It’s fun … you’ve got to be careful you lean in the direction you want to go, or you seem inebriated."

The first meal eaten on the Moon included bacon squares, sugar biscuits, tinned peaches, a pineapple and grapefruit juice drink and coffee.

The Lunar Flag Assembly was designed to survive a Moon landing and to appear to "wave" as it would in a breeze on Earth. However, the flag fell over when the Lunar Module Eagle took off.

Buzz Aldrin "McGuyverd" a broken circuit breaker on the Apollo 11 lander with a felt-tip pen, without which Aldrin and Armstrong would have died on the moon. A switch to the circuit breaker had broken off in all the too-ing and fro-ing in the cramped environment. The circuit breaker was the one that activated the ascent engine that would lift them off the moon to rendezvous with Mike Collins, who was orbiting overhead in the Columbia.

When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the Moon in 1969, the third astronaut in the mission, Michael Collins, stayed in orbit 75 miles (121 km) above the surface. After his epic journey he retired from NASA and became director of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington.

Apollo 11 crew,: commander Neil Armstrong, CM pilot Michael Collins, and LM pilot Buzz Aldrin

The average age of a NASA mission control engineer for Apollo 11 was 26.

The Apollo 12 astronauts took a color TV camera to the Moon's surface, but one of them broke it by pointing it at the sun.

While on Apollo 16, ommand module pilot Ken Mattingly lost his wedding ring—another astronaut caught it days later as it floated out a door during a spacewalk.

During their second day on the moon on July 31, 1971, Apollo 15 astronauts David Scott and James Irwin drove the first ever off-Earth vehicle, the Lunar Roving "moon buggy".

Lunar Roving Vehicle used on Apollos 15–17
Eugene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, wrote his daughter's initials in the lunar dust. They should still be legible in 50,000 years.

The surface of moon has been more thoroughly explored than most of the deep oceans on earth.

Sources Daily Express,

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