On Apollo 11 mission's 50th anniversary, a look at how the first moonwalk shaped NASA
For a long time, the moon was one big rock far away from earth for mankind. Sure, it was part several stories and pieces of art, but not much was known about it. In fact, centuries ago, people actually thought that the moon would have a fluffy surface.
All this changed on this very day 50 years ago when the first spaceflight - Apollo 11 - landed on earth's moon at at 20:17 UTC with Commander Neil Armstrong, Pilot Michael Collins, and Pilot Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin. The historic landing site is now called the Sea of Tranquility.
Recalling moments before the landing, Paul Hayne, an assistant professor at the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences at the University of Colorado told Space.com, said,
"There was a real concern that our lunar landers would sink into the surface because the material was so fluffy."
Recently, astronaut Michael Collins returned to the exact spot from where he flew to the moon in 1969, and recollected, Before this, in 1967 Apollo 1 mission failed and three astronauts died in a launchpad fire and two died in an accident. Naturally, before Neil Armstrong and his crew returned, they left behind commemorative medallions bearing their names in their honour, for good measure.
Along with this, goodwill messages from 73 countries on a one-and-a-half-inch silicon disk and the names of Congressional and National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) leaders were left on the moon.