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Tech & ScienceMoon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race

06:55  07 july  2019
06:55  07 july  2019 Source:   cnet.com

Apollo moon rocks help transform understanding of the universe

Apollo moon rocks help transform understanding of the universe Moon rocks look rather nondescript -- they are often gray in color -- but for NASA planetary scientist Samuel Lawrence, they are the "most precious materials on Earth." What is certain is that the lunar samples first gathered by Apollo 11's Neil Armstrong nearly 50 years ago have helped transform our understanding of the cosmos. Apollo astronauts collected 842 pounds (382 kilograms) of rocks and soil during their six missions to the Moon between 1969 and 1972 and brought it all back to Earth.

How did the Apollo 11 mission unfold? What exactly did Armstrong and Aldrin do? First of all, they simply proved it could be done. The overview: Apollo 11 lifted off from Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 16 and returned to Earth on July 24, splashing down in the Pacific

Apollo 11 was the spaceflight that landed the first two humans on the Moon . Commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin, both American

Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. Buzz Aldrin stands on the moon beside seismic measurement gear, part of the Early Apollo Scientific Experiments Package. To the right is the lunar module Eagle. NASA

Even Neil Armstrong couldn't remember exactly what he said in the famous line he spoke during humanity's first-ever moon landing, NASA's Apollo 11 mission, as he stepped onto the lunar surface.

You know the sentence: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."  And you always wonder: Didn't he mean to say, "...for a man"?

In fairness, he did have a lot on his mind. Even listening to the recording afterward, Armstrong still wasn't quite sure.

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[Read all Times reporting on the 50 th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing . |. Sign up for the weekly Science Times email.]. They designed modules, examined rocks, wrote a poem and, of course, put a foot down on lunar soil.

The space race was the TV reality competition of the 1960s. White would later be one of the three astronauts to die in the Apollo 1 fire . Chasing the Moon also tells the complicated story of Air Force Capt. Space -theme objects ranging from autographed NASA photos to a Star Trek script get the

"I would hope that history would grant me leeway for dropping the syllable and understand that it was certainly intended, even if it wasn't said -- although it actually might have been," he told biographer James R. Hansen.

Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. A footprint left on the moon by Buzz Aldrin. NASA

History has in fact remembered Armstrong fondly. And now we're ready to celebrate the 50th anniversary of that moon landing. It was July 20, 1969, when Armstrong and fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin made cosmic history as they became the first humans ever to stand and walk on a heavenly body not called Earth.

It was a breathtaking engineering and logistical achievement. Humans had only started venturing into space less than a decade earlier -- and even then, just barely outside Earth's atmosphere. Our experience of space, which started with Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin in April 1961, was still quite limited when Apollo 8 made a trip 'round the moon in December 1968, the first time humans had ever broken free of Earth's orbit.

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Race to the Moon Apollo Moon Landing . Join Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex as we celebrate the 50 th anniversary of NASA’s Apollo Program. This year the commemoration continues with a series of on-site and community events honoring the historic Moon landing of Apollo 11 , and

Chasing the Moon looks at the history of the space race journeying from the Moon Landing of Apollo 11 Lindsey Russell and Richie Driss present a special Blue Peter from the National Space Centre in Leicester to inform, educate and celebrate with viewers for the 50 th anniversary of the Moon Landing .

Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race © CNET

Buzz Aldrin stands on the moon beside seismic measurement gear, part of the Early Apollo Scientific Experiments Package. To the right is the lunar module Eagle.

But after a total of six moon landings for the Apollo program in less than four years, that was it. Since Apollo 17 in December 1972, no one's been back to the moon. NASA spent the next several decades focusing its manned spaceflight efforts on the space shuttle and on missions to the International Space Station.

Now there are once again plans to put people on the moon. NASA says it expects to make a new moon landing by 2024 through its Artemis program, both for its own sake and as a stepping-stone toward eventual missions to Mars. Meanwhile, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and SpaceX founder Elon Musk also have their eyes on lunar adventures.

As NASA and others get set to mark the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, here's a look back at that achievement -- and at what lies ahead.

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The 50 th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission symbolizes how anything is possible. We are all explorers who can do our part to expand knowledge Space Center Houston is the perfect setting to celebrate all things Apollo 11 this summer – especially from the anniversary of the Apollo 11 blastoff

The fiftieth anniversary of the summer 1969 Apollo 11 . But in the shadow of this prestigious anniversary season is a belief that, while not quite 50 years old, sprang up long ago and has The Apollo 11 landing took place in the midst of the space race between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.

Real quick: How far away is the moon, anyway?

The distance from the Earth to the moon varies because of the moon's elliptical orbit, from about 225,000 miles (363,000 kilometers) to 252,000 miles. By comparison, the ISS is only about 250 miles away -- that is, one one-thousandth as far as the moon.

The Apollo missions needed roughly three days' travel time each way -- Apollo 11 got from Earth to lunar orbit at midday on day three of its mission. (For Apollo 15, it was about 4.5 days from Earth liftoff to touchdown on the lunar surface.)

Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. The Apollo 11 crew (left to right): Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin. NASA

That's an awfully long way to go. Why even bother?

Two words: space race. Starting in the 1950s, the US and the Soviet Union were going at it for bragging rights and military advantage, sending rockets, satellites, dogs and monkeys, and eventually people, into the ether.

Then, on May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy made a brash declaration: "I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth. No single space project in this period will be more exciting, or more impressive, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish."

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apollo 11 50 th anniversary . Spectators in a parking lot near the Vehicle Assembly Building wave an American flag as Apollo 11 begins its journey to the moon . Apollo 11 Moon Landing , Buzz Aldrin, Space Shuttle, Whole Earth, Apollo 11 Crew, Apollo 11 How to set up Electronics Lab at home.

July 20 marks the 50 th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing and the first steps on the Moon by astronaut Neil You can view footage of the Moon landing and those iconic first steps throughout the day in the Rocket For future space explorers, there will be a Kid’s Activity Area in the Rocket Garden as well.

How did the astronauts get there?

The lunar missions lifted off atop a Saturn V rocket, to date the most powerful ever.

After separation from the Saturn rocket, the astronauts continued to the moon in the command service module. The CSM had three parts: the command module (CM), with the classic "space capsule" shape and containing the crew's quarters and flight controls; the expendable service module (SM), which provided propulsion and support systems; and the lunar module (LM), which looked like a geometry project with spindly legs and which took two astronauts to the lunar surface while a third remained in the CM.

How did the Apollo 11 mission unfold? What exactly did Armstrong and Aldrin do?

First of all, they simply proved it could be done.

The overview: Apollo 11 lifted off from Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 16 and returned to Earth on July 24, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean after traveling a total of 953,054 miles in eight days, three hours and 18 minutes.

On July 20, the LM (nickname: Eagle) touched down in the moon's Sea of Tranquility after a stressful final few minutes. "There were some pretty hairy moments," biographer James Hansen said in an interview. "The onboard computer was taking them down into a site that was not quite what they wanted, and Neil had to take over manually. They maybe had 20 or 30 seconds of fuel left when he actually got it down."

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Moon landing 50 th anniversary : How Apollo 11 fired up the space race . The highlight of the documentary, predictably, is Apollo 11 , focusing on every aspect of the mission, from liftoff and separation of the lunar module to the nail-biting moments when a program alarm in the capsule almost

and by the time Apollo 11 ’s 50 th anniversary rolls around, there’s likely to be more to celebrate. There’s even a Seattle company that’s voiced interest in the moon race : Spaceflight Industries, which has Exclusive:: Apollo 11 ’s Buzz Aldrin shares his moon vision. India is also planning to send an

Neil Armstrong, first man on the moon, flies high as pilot and astronaut

Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race
Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race
Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race
Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race
Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race
Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race
Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race
Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race
Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race
Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race
Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race
Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race
Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race
Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race
Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race
Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race
Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race
Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race
Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race
Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race
Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race
Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race
Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race
Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race
Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race
Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race
Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race
Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race
Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race
Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race
Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race

About four hours later, Armstrong stepped out, just before 11 p.m. ET on the 20th, a Sunday. He was outside for about 2.5 hours, with Aldrin joining him for about 1.5 hours. They were on the moon for 21 hours, 36 minutes (including seven hours of sleep) total before returning to orbit to rejoin the third member of the crew, Michael Collins, who'd been waiting, watching and worrying.

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Buzz Aldrin Boards Discovery’s 50 th Anniversary Celebration of Apollo 11 Moon - Landing (Exclusive). Private space -explorer Richard Garriott, the son of Skylab astronaut Owen Garriott, will conduct interviews and panel discussions with the former astronauts on their experiences beyond the

This July, it will be 50 years since an estimated 530 million people watched Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong land on the moon and declare it Over the course of this year, the FAI will commemorate this hugely significant anniversary with a series of articles explaining the various Apollo Missions

Venturing no more than 300 feet from the LM and working under a 200-degree sun, Armstrong and Aldrin -- like tourists everywhere -- took lots of photos and video, and gathered souvenirs in the form of moon rocks and soil samples. They also set up a couple of rudimentary experiments, one to measure seismic activity and another as a target for Earth-based lasers to measure the Earth-moon distance precisely, which returned data for 71 days. They left behind an American flag, some of the most famous footprints in history, a coin-size silicon disc etched in microscopic detail with messages from world leaders and a small plaque saying "We came in peace for all mankind."

Armstrong may have the most famous lines from the mission, and Collins the best book (Carrying the Fire), but Aldrin nailed the description of the moonscape: "magnificent desolation."

Those moon rocks were a pretty big deal, right?

That's right. The Apollo 11 crew brought back 22 kg (almost 50 pounds) of lunar material, including rocks, modest core samples and that dusty lunar soil that's so great for making footprints. The sample included basalt (from molten lava), breccia (fragments of older rocks) and anorthocite (surface rock that may have been part of an ancient crust). Those moon rocks and other samples, from all the Apollo missions, helped scientists get a better understanding of the moon's origins.

What else was going on in 1969?

It was a crazy time. Airline hijacking was a big thing, especially to Cuba. The Vietnam War was raging, as were protests against it. Honduras and El Salvador fought a "soccer war." The Stonewall Riots in New York took place in late June. Richard Nixon had only just begun his first term as US president.

Moon landing 50th anniversary: How Apollo 11 fired up the space race © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. Apollo software engineer Margaret Hamilton and the source code for the Apollo guidance computer NASA

On the technology front, the US would get its first ATM in September, and the first message sent on the ARPAnet, a precursor to the internet, would happen in late October.

Better than a helter skelter? Now a cathedral is transformed into the surface of the moon with spectacular light and sound installation to mark anniversary of the lunar landings

Better than a helter skelter? Now a cathedral is transformed into the surface of the moon with spectacular light and sound installation to mark anniversary of the lunar landings The entire floor of the vast cathedral in Lichfield, Staffordshire, has been covered in large craters (pictured) to mimic the imperfections of lunar rock as the medieval building is turned into space. Dazzling colourful lights have also been projected onto the gothic ceiling of the 800-year-old cathedral - as breath-taking photos show visitors lying on their back to watch the striking spectacle.

The Geelong Moon exhibition is an opportunity to examine this relationship, to pause and reflect on how our perception and interpretation of the moon has This is particularly relevant now, not only with the Apollo anniversary , but also in the absence of a return to the moon and our retreat from manned

For about a week as May turned into June, John Lennon and Yoko Ono staged their "bed-in" in Amsterdam, at which Lennon recorded Give Peace a Chance. The Beatles' Get Back was No. 1 for five weeks from May into June, and the Fifth Dimension's Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine was No. 2. David Bowie released Space Oddity on July 11. The middle of August would bring the Woodstock festival.

Debuts on TV that September and October would include Scooby-Doo, The Brady Bunch and Monty Python's Flying Circus.

And Turnabout Intruder, the final episode of the original Star Trek series, aired June 3.

How many people have been on the moon?

The Apollo missions put a total of 12 men on the lunar surface over the course of six visits. That's it. Then there were the others who've flown that astonishing distance but never touched down -- six CM pilots on the lunar landing missions, plus the crews of Apollo 8, 10 and 13. Three of those people made the trip twice, so the grand total of humans who've been as far as the moon is 24.

Here's who's been on the moon:

  • Apollo 11: Armstrong and Aldrin
  • Apollo 12: Pete Conrad, Alan Bean
  • Apollo 14: Alan Shepard, Edgar Mitchell
  • Apollo 15: David Scott, James Irwin
  • Apollo 16: John Young, Charles Duke
  • Apollo 17: Eugene Cernan, Harrison Schmitt

What else has landed on the moon?

We've put all kinds of unmanned spacecraft on the moon, starting with the hard landing of the Soviet Union's Luna 2 in 1959. The US' first spacecraft on the moon, Ranger 4, arrived in April 1962. Both countries landed a number of other machines there during the 1960s, including five Surveyor spacecraft from the US. Only some of them were soft (or powered) landings.

More recently, other countries have been getting into the game. China put the Chang'e 3 onto the moon in 2013, making the first soft landing since Luna 24 in 1976. In January of this year, China's Chang'e 4 became the first spacecraft to land on the fabled dark side of the moon.

In April, Israel sent the Beresheet spacecraft to the moon, but with an unhappy ending -- it crashed there.

Where does President Trump stand on missions to the moon?

NASA has been fired up for a return to the moon at least since December 2017, when President Donald Trump signed White House Space Policy Directive 1, which urged a renewed focus on lunar missions. "Beginning with missions beyond low-Earth orbit," the directive states, "the United States will lead the return of humans to the Moon for long-term exploration and utilization, followed by human missions to Mars and other destinations."

Curiously, President Trump tweeted in May that "NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon - We did that 50 years ago." The tweet did go on to suggest that he still sees the moon as part of NASA's eventual missions to Mars.

That came less than a month after the Trump administration said it wanted an extra $1.6 billion added to NASA's budget for next year to help pave the way for humans to return to the moon in the coming decade.

So what comes next?

As things stand, the space agency plans to send astronauts back to the surface of the moon by 2024, in what's now known as the Artemis program, with a whole new rocket (the Space Launch System) and crew capsule (Orion). The program will eventually integrate a "gateway" spacecraft that will stay in lunar orbit while missions head down to the surface. Here's the timetable:

  • Late 2019 -- First commercial deliveries/landers to the moon
  • 2020 -- Launch of SLS/Orion, uncrewed, in Exploration Mission-1
  • 2022 -- Crew around the moon in Exploration Mission-2
  • 2022 -- By December, setup of the first gateway element (the power and propulsion system) for a one-year demo in space, aboard a private rocket
  • 2023 -- Land a rover, with the help of the commercial space industry
  • 2024 -- Americans on the moon (including the first woman)
  • 2028 -- Sustained presence on moon

NASA also sees these moon missions as preparation for eventual crewed missions to Mars, tentatively in the 2030s.

In May, NASA named some of the companies that'll pitch in with the Artemis effort, including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Blue Origin and SpaceX.

Also in May, Amazon and Blue Origin chief Jeff Bezos unveiled a design for a Blue Moon lunar lander, which in addition to people could transport rovers to carry out scientific missions and shoot off small satellites.

When can I go?

Soon, maybe, if you have lots of disposable income or the right connections. Elon Musk has plans to send the first commercial customer, Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, on a flight around the moon in SpaceX's forthcoming BFR rocket. Maezawa plans to invite a handful of artists to join him on that weeklong flight in 2023. (The trip doesn't include a moon landing.)

Originally published June 7.

Update, July 6: Adds details, including the section on moon rocks, and more information about the Apollo missions.

Better than a helter skelter? Now a cathedral is transformed into the surface of the moon with spectacular light and sound installation to mark anniversary of the lunar landings.
The entire floor of the vast cathedral in Lichfield, Staffordshire, has been covered in large craters (pictured) to mimic the imperfections of lunar rock as the medieval building is turned into space. Dazzling colourful lights have also been projected onto the gothic ceiling of the 800-year-old cathedral - as breath-taking photos show visitors lying on their back to watch the striking spectacle.

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