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TechnologyHow Apollo 11 dazzled the world: Moon maps in the Netherlands and American flags in Japan

16:15  23 june  2019
16:15  23 june  2019 Source:   msn.com

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In the Netherlands , some gas stations gave out moon maps instead of road maps . In Warsaw, residents placed flower bouquets at the lunar module on display at the U.S. embassy there. And in downtown Seoul, 100,000 South Koreans gathered at a projection screen to watch clips of Neil

Apollo 11 was the spaceflight that first landed humans on the Moon . Commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin formed the American crew that landed the Apollo Lunar Module Eagle

How Apollo 11 dazzled the world: Moon maps in the Netherlands and American flags in Japan
How Apollo 11 dazzled the world: Moon maps in the Netherlands and American flags in Japan
How Apollo 11 dazzled the world: Moon maps in the Netherlands and American flags in Japan

In Tokyo, the U.S. embassy was flooded with paper cranes, a symbol of good luck for the three Americans about to hitch a ride to the moon. In the Netherlands, some gas stations gave out moon maps instead of road maps. In Warsaw, residents placed flower bouquets at the lunar module on display at the U.S. embassy there.

And in downtown Seoul, 100,000 South Koreans gathered at a projection screen to watch clips of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins’ unprecedented mission, culminating with humanity’s firsts steps on the lunar surface on July 20, 1969.

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The Lunar Flag Assembly (LFA) was a kit containing a flag of the United States designed to be erected on the Moon during the Apollo program. Six such flag assemblies were planted on the Moon . The nylon flags were hung on telescoping staffs and horizontal bars constructed of one-inch anodized

The moon landing, though a United States-led achievement, felt in many ways for the people who lived it an accomplishment in the name of all humankind. The magnitude of that reality was reflected in the grandeur of its reception across the Earth.

In interviews conducted around the world, people commonly put it this way: In that moment, they were all Americans.

“It was unprecedented at that time,” said Teasel Muir-Harmony, a curator for the space history department at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. “Never before had there been such a large audience for something, [and] I think it arguably is still. It’s hard to think of an example where people from such a wide array of countries were participating in various ways.”

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Surely, the United States worked hard to ensure that most of the world was watching when it landed its astronauts on the moon. Voice of America, a government-funded media agency, broadcast the landing in 36 languages for a radio audience of about 750 million. NASA estimates that about 1 in 5 people on the planet at the time watched the landing live on TV — roughly 650 million viewers — making it the first live global broadcast in history.

In countries like South Korea where live television access wasn’t available, the U.S. information agency set up screens projecting Apollo documentaries or recordings of the flight.

And in countries that didn’t acknowledge or carry the flight, like China, North Korea and North Vietnam, the U.S. found workarounds, too. In China, for instance, Voice of America was able to use two radio channels to circumvent government jamming so listeners could tune into the broadcast.

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The moon landing advanced science, boosted the U.S. in its global competition with the Soviet Where existing maps had shown a smooth region, car-sized boulders cluttered a field of craters. Amid ticker tape and American flags , Apollo 11 astronauts wave during a parade on Broadway in

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That was because “a major motivation of Project Apollo was winning the hearts and minds of the world,” Muir-Harmony said.

To do that, NASA had to commit from the start to being an open program, allowing viewers to follow along every step of the missions.

“By embracing an open program it created a huge contrast to the fear and the secrecy of the more militaristic program that was going on in the Soviet Union,” said Richard Jurek, co-author of “Marketing the Moon."

“... It really was marketing the American way of life,” Jurek said.

That effort was driven in part by the public affairs team at NASA, composed largely of former reporters at the time, that worked to fight back pressure from engineers who were used to working under government secrecy and now had to “flip that switch,” Jurek said. The team also worked to put the astronauts, as unscripted as possible, as the face of the program.

In 1961, Life Magazine scored an exclusive contract to share the lives of the astronauts and their families.

Their interviews and eventual world tour after the moon landing made them global superstars. Hundreds of thousands of people came out to greet them at each of the 24 nations they visited. In Bombay, India, an estimated 2 million people welcomed Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins to the city making it the largest ever visit at the time ⁠— including the pope’s, Muir-Harmony said.

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People waved American flags in counties that didn’t necessarily embrace democratic values, Jurek said.

“I think having the astronauts not be scripted alleviated all the geopolitical posturing and stripped away the politics and made this truly a human exercise of exploration and daring that connected with people,” Jurek said.

But the tour and the prestige of the moon landing did ultimately become an effective political tool leveraged by the United States.

After the tour concluded, writes Muir-Harmony, President Richard Nixon enthusiastically told the astronauts, according to Armstrong, that their meeting alone with Romanian president Nicolae Ceausescu, which opened the way for Nixon to finally get an appointment with the president, “paid for everything we spent on the space program.”

Though likely an exaggeration — at its peak Apollo accounted for 4 percent of the national budget — the comment highlighted the astronauts’ roles in smoothing over relations with other nations while serving as figureheads of the United States’ accomplishment.

“We could use the personalities and the results from that mission to remind the world that we were the leaders and that, more importantly at that point in time since we were embroiled in a Cold War, to remind the world what we thought that democracy was the preferred means of governing and was the more successful mantra,” said space historian Robert Pearlman.

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Apollo 11 also set in motion a tidal shift toward more education and interest in what is commonly known as STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and mathematics. For many nations, the moon landing was the pinnacle they, too, could strive to reach for.

In particular, Japan, China, Israel and India have all developed advanced space programs in the past 50 years.

When China sent its first astronaut to space in 2003, Pearlman, who was appearing on Chinese national television as a commentator, remembers that the shadow of Apollo still loomed large over the program.

“Their anchors were asking questions about the Apollo program and commenting on how much the Chinese people and Chinese government respect the Apollo program as its own achievement,” Pearlman said.

Like others, he said, “they have modeled their program on that success.”

Want more space news? Follow Go For Launch on Facebook. Contact the reporter at cherrera@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5660; Twitter @ChabeliH

How Apollo 11 dazzled the world: Moon maps in the Netherlands and American flags in Japan© Provided by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

This series

This story is part of the Orlando Sentinel’s “Countdown to Apollo 11: The First Moon Landing” – 30 days of stories leading up to 50th anniversary of the historic first steps on moon on July 20, 1969. More stories, photos and videos at OrlandoSentinel.com/Apollo11.

How Apollo 11 dazzled the world: Moon maps in the Netherlands and American flags in Japan© Provided by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

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Order your copy of “Apollo 50,” the Orlando Sentinel’s new hard-cover keepsake book chronicling the 50th anniversary of America’s moon landing. Order before July 21 and get $10 off the cover price. Supplies are limited. Order your copy at OrlandoSentinel.com/Apollo50

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