It was six hours later, and with an audience of over half a billion people on Earth watching their television sets, that 38 year old Neil Armstrong stepped down onto the surface of the Moon from the lunar landing craft called ‘Eagle’. He announced to everyone, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” In his 2006 biography, Neil Armstrong stated that his quote should include ‘That’s one small step for a man’ otherwise the statement would not make any sense.
Armstrong described the lunar surface as being similar to powdered charcoal and noted that the Eagle landing craft left a crater that was about a foot deep. He also remarked that the sunlight gave the effect of a brilliant surface on the lunar landscape and that “The horizon seems quite close to you because the curvature is so much more pronounced than here on earth. It’s an interesting place to be. I recommend it.”
Altogether, Neil Armstrong and his fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin completed over 21 hours on the Moon. They spent over two hours outside The Eagle collecting rock samples, conducting scientific activities and finding time to perform exercises including jumps.
To commemorate Apollo 11’s visit to the Moon a special plaque was left by Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong which read: ‘Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon. July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.’ The plaque also bore the signature of the then American President, Richard Nixon.
Following their successful return to Earth, the Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were placed in quarantine for 21 days in case they had contacted any lunar infection or moon bugs.
Since 1999, World Space Week has been commemorated every year, following the United Nations General Assembly first announcement that 4th to the 10th October would be the annual dates for the Week.
These dates were chosen specifically to mark special events. On October 4 1957 space exploration started when the first Russian satellite Sputnik 1 was launched into space. On October 10 1967 an international Treaty was signed Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.
In more recent times, space exploration has continued with the inauguration of the International Space Station in 1988. Further manned missions are planned by countries and space tourism is becoming an increasingly likely option for those who would boldly go where no-one has gone before. Watch this Space!