Mark your calendars folks! July 20, 2019 @ 10:56 pm marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing -- when mankind first left earth's atmosphere and set foot on another celestial body!
On July 20, 1969, American astronauts Neil Armstrong (1930-2012) and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin (1930-) became the first humans ever to land on the moon. About six-and-a-half hours later, Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon. As he set took his first step, Armstrong famously said, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." The third astronaut, Michael Collins, command module pilot, orbited the moon and made ready to dock with the lunar module once Armstrong and Aldrin blasted off from the moon.
The Apollo 11 mission occurred eight years after President John F. Kennedy (1917-63) announced a national goal of landing a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Apollo 17, the final manned moon mission, took place in 1972. It was the Mercury and Gemini programs that got us to Apollo and then onto the moon but Gemini was especially significant! The Space Race was bitter-sweet. It was unfortunate that our number one goal was beating the Russians to the moon and the whole communist Cold War thing but, on the other hand, it did get mankind off of earth and land on another celestial body. Additionally, we did get some moon science done and learned a lot more about our satellite and earth's formation.
So, this year, 2019, but especially this month, many special events are happening around the world to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo missions and especially Apollo 11. I have been doing my part by setting up my telescope for public outreach and educating the people and especially the kids. Of course, the moon has been my primary target. So, get out their folks -- on the internet, at public events, museums and find a way to celebrate the take part in mankind's greatest adventure!