NATIONAL MOON DAY
National Moon Day on July 20th commemorates the day man first walked on the moon in 1969. NASA reported the moon landing as being “…the single greatest technological achievement of all time.”
On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 carried the first humans to the moon. , Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, stepped foot on the moon. Six hours after landing, Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface. The astronaut spent two and a half hours outside the spacecraft. Soon to follow, Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the lunar surface. After joining Armstrong, the two collected 47.5 pounds of lunar material.
After joining Armstrong, the two collected 47.5 pounds of lunar material. Their specimens would be placed onto Apollo 11 and brought back to Earth to be analyzed.
In the command module, a third astronaut waited. Pilot, Michael Collins, remained alone in orbit until Armstrong and Aldrin returned.
Caught up in the thrill of the adventure, millions of Americans watched the mission from Earth. Televisions around the world tuned in to the live broadcasts giving the astronaut a world-wide audience. As a result, all witnessed as Armstrong stepped onto the moon’s surface and described the event as “one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Unquestionably, putting men on the moon became a tangible achievement in the space race. It placed the United States in a role to go forth and explore farther and deeper into the reaches of the universe. In the months and decades that followed, NASA and the Soviets stepped up their missions.
Fast forward forty years and private expeditions plan to take humankind exploring our solar system. Armstrong’s “one small step for man” inspired imaginations and sparked innovation for generations to come. Even future moon missions are planned. Some even include manned landings.
HOW TO OBSERVE NATIONAL MOON DAY
Share your memories of the moon landing. View the moon through a telescope or telephoto lens and explore the surface. Start a discussion about space exploration and how it influences the world today. What do you think about future moon landings and exploration? Use #NationalMoonDay to share on social media.
NATIONAL MOON DAY HISTORY
In 1971, President Richard Nixon proclaimed National Moon Landing Day on July 20 to commemorate the anniversary of man’s first moon landing.
With no continuing proclamation to follow, Richard Christmas took up the baton. He began a “Chrismas Card” writing campaign. A former gas station attendant, the Michigan native wrote to governors, members of Congress, and senators in all 50 states. He urged them to create National Moon Day. By July of 1975, 12 states had sponsored bills observing Moon Day.
James J. Mullaney, former Curator of Exhibits and Astronomy at Pittsburgh’s original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science and Staff Astronomer at the Allegheny Observatory, is a modern-day supporter of a National Moon Day. He says, “If there’s a Columbus Day on the calendar, there certainly should be a Moon Day!” Mr. Mullaney has been working toward making National Moon Day an official Federal holiday.
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