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News in Youth Services

Monday, July 17, 2017

First Moon Landing

Have you ever looked up at the sky, especially when there is a full moon and wondered what it would be like to travel to or walk on the moon?  I'll admit I have as I've gazed at the night sky.  I love my movies about space - Star Wars, Star Trek, The Martian to name a few.  So imagine my interest when I realized that each year in July, it marks another anniversary of the first walk on the moon.

Flashback to July 18, 1969 and the blast off of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon.   The mission of Apollo 11 was to complete a national goal set by President John F. Kennedy back in 1961 to land a human crew onto the moon's surface and then return to Earth.  On board were three astronauts: Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, and Michael Collins.  On July 20th, two days after lift off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the lunar module,Eagle detached from the Columbia command module and made it's descent to the moon's surface.  Armstrong and Aldrin landed the Eagle onto the moon while Collins remained aboard the Columbia.  As he stepped out onto the lunar surface, Neil Armstrong uttered these famous words as the world watched from Earth:  "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."  The two astronauts conducted scientific tests and samples of soil and rock were collected from the moon.  The American flag was planted as a reminder of their visit and then they left the surface of the moon.  NASA has some footage of that historic walk.

The Eagle reconnected to the Columbia and the journey back to Earth was started.  Once it reentered the Earth's atmosphere, the parachutes opened and the module safely landed into the Pacific Ocean. Then helicopters picked up the crew and flew them back to a nearby recovery ship.  If you'd like to see what this looked like, check out this clip.  This is so unlike what we are used to seeing today when the space shuttles land like an airplane.  Back then, the astronauts had to stay in quarantine because scientists were uncertain whether space travel would have any negative effects on humans.

Although this mission only lasted eight days, it is one of the most famous missions of the space program.  To learn more about the mission, we have several great books on the subject that you can check out.  Moonshot by Brian Floca (2012 Monarch nominee), Eight Days Gone by Linda McReynolds or Team Moon:  How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon by Catherine Thimmesh are just a few of the great titles about the Apollo 11 mission you'll want to read.

Apollo 11 books

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