From the Man in the Moon to Man on the Moon
People used to talk about the Man in the Moon and believed that he was real. Books described strange creatures with many arms, eyes, and legs that lived on the Moon. There were even people who thought that the Moon was made of cheese. All of these myths vanished when the first man from Earth walked on the Moon.
The summer of 2009 will be the 30th anniversary of that first moonwalk. It was the night of July 20, 1969 when the Apollo 11 astronauts first landed on the Moon. The men on board were Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. It was Neil Armstrong who had the honour of stepping out of the spacecraft and onto the Moon’s surface.
Millions of people around the world stayed up late that night to see the black and white televised landing. There were many people on Earth who were disappointed not to see some type of moon men or space creatures lurking about.
Armstrong had to say something as he took that first important step. He made the statement, “One small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.” Buzz Aldrin soon joined him outside of the Apollo 11 and they both were able to explore a little of the surface of the moon.
Imagine how strange this adventure must have seemed. They were dressed in huge spacesuits and were walking on a surface where no other humans had set foot. Surely these men must have glanced in the direction of Earth and wondered if they would make it back home safely.
When the astronauts returned to Earth, they were put in quarantine so that scientists could make sure no bacteria or strange germs had been brought back. Even the samples of moon rocks and soil were kept in isolation until it was certain that they were safe. The rock and soil samples are sometimes described as small but these samples actually weighed almost 900 pounds on Earth.
The Apollo 11 was not the first time that something from Earth had landed on the moon however. There was a Russian spacecraft named the Luna 2 that landed there in 1959. Actually, the Luna 2 crashed on the Moon, but it was still the first manmade object to get there. On July 31, 1964, the Ranger 7, from the United States, also crashed on the surface of the Moon.
Landings got better soon after the crash of the Ranger 7 and on February 3, 1966, the Luna 9 made a “softer” landing on the Moon. Luckily, the Luna 9 had a lot of airbags on board, because this “softer” landing was still pretty rough. The Soviet spacecraft hit the surface of the Moon at a speed faster than 50 km per hour. The US made history a few months later when the Surveyor 1 made a gentle, touchdown landing on June 2, 1966.
If you were to go up onto the Moon today you would still see the footsteps of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, this is because there is no wind on the surface of the Moon unlike Earth so the footprints would be undisturbed.
This is an original news article © The Kids Window
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