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Man on the Moon turns 53

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Today, July 20th, is a very important day in world history. Exactly 53 years ago, NASA’s Apollo 11 spacecraft landed on the Moon with astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins and marked the first time that man set foot on our natural satellite.

The Eagle lander landed at 5:17 pm ET on July 20, 1969, and Armstrong set foot on lunar soil six hours later. It was also on that day that one of the most iconic and remembered phrases was “born” when we talk about man stepping on the moon: “This is one small step for man, one giant leap for humanity”.

As Brian Odom, acting chief historian for the US space agency, recalls, the reaction to the space event was huge both in the United States and the rest of the world. He says that, “once the astronauts returned home, they became instant celebrities, as the landing was understood to be one of humanity’s greatest accomplishments.”

The event is one of the great milestones of the 20th century, a period when the United States and the Soviet Union were trying to outrun each other in what we know as the Space Race. Odom adds that this was an “expanded defeat” for the Soviets, given the tense world polarization during the Cold War.

On the other hand, this first mission intensified North America’s focus on its space program and impacted the scientific community around the world. In 1972, President Richard Nixon already announced that NASA would develop a space transport system with a vehicle capable of moving “repeatedly from Earth to orbit and vice versa”.

Half a century after that first step, NASA is still motivated to bring a new crew to our satellite. With the Artemis human landing system and its state-of-the-art spacesuits, a new mission is planned for sometime in 2026. “We will collaborate with commercial and international partners and establish the first long-term presence on the Moon,” explains Odom. This would also be the moment to take the first woman and the first person of color to the moon.


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Via: AA

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