50 years ago, an audience of over 500 million people world-wide watched the grainy black and white TV coverage of Neil Armstrong’s historic descent from Eagle, the Lunar Lander, onto the powdery surface of the Moon. The ‘Giant Leap for Mankind’ took place a mere 8 years after President J.F. Kennedy’s commitment of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth. The ‘Giant Leap’ effectively ended the Space Race, which had begun so ignominiously for the USA with the Soviets scoring notable firsts such as the first satellite, the first probe to the Moon and the first man in space. Their attempt to upstage Apollo 11 ended in failure, however, when the lander, Luna 15, crashed just hours before Eagle’s scheduled take-off from the lunar surface.
As well as the landing and EVA, the mission completed a number of other objectives; the collection of 22kg of rock and ‘soil’ samples, the deployment of a solar wind experiment, a seismometer and also laser ranging equipment.
If you have questions about the Moon landing or any other Astronomy topic please come over and visit us at the Bromsgrove Astronomical Society stand at the Festival or visit www.broms-astro.org.uk