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The first moonwalk was a major milestone in human space exploration. It was the first time ever that a human being had set foot on a body other than the Earth. It was made even more famous by the famous words uttered by Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon. The quote, “one small step for man, a giant leap for mankind,” has been quoted countless times since that fateful lunar landing in July 1969. However, this is just the photo op so to speak. The first lunar landing also laid the basis for providing NASA with the knowledge that future Astronauts will need in order to traverse the Moon once again and other celestial bodies such as asteroids and one day even Mars.
The first moonwalk happened on July 20, 1969. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin left the Eagle lunar lander becoming the first men to set foot on the surface of the moon. After Armstrong uttered the famous phrase he stepped onto the surface of the moon followed by his fellow astronaut. They then tested different aspects of being on the moon from moving in reduced gravity to taking samples of the soil. They then went on to plant an American flag at a designated location. Shortly after that the astronauts received a call from President Nixon.
The moonwalk was one of the most widely viewed events in history with 600 million people watching it. The very fact that it was video sent directly from the moon at a time that satellite communications was in its infancy was another major development that should not be taken for granted. The entire foray on the moon lasted 2 hours but it made an impact on human space exploration that will be felt for decades to come. In many ways we now have a starting point for when mankind eventually explores other worlds. There is now a basis of engagement for how we can handle landing on planets like Mars. More importantly NASA is looking to one day return to the moon. This may be necessary as the agency looks to preparing for a future Mars expedition.
We’ve also recorded an entire episode of Astronomy Cast all about Moon Exploration. Listen here, Episode 114: The Moon, Part 2: Exploration of the Moon.
NASA Apollo 11