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Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing

Neil Armstrong's Apollo 11 spacesuit is unveiled at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall in Washington, Tuesday, July 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

As you may already know, the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing is coming on July 20th!

Were you a witness to this event?

If you were, you witnessed one of the most amazing television broadcasts of all time!

Some even doubt that we actually went to the moon at all, but there is plenty of evidence which shows that we did. I was 13 years old at the time of this historic landing and watched it with my family on a small black-and-white television.

The moon is some 248,000 miles away and light takes a little over 1.3 seconds to get to the moon from Earth.

It has been said that well over 600 million people around the world watched this historic moment, when Neil Armstrong stepped off the ladder of the lunar lander.

Once on the surface of the moon, Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin spent 2 hours and 31 minutes on the surface of the moon and collected 47.51 pounds of lunar rocks.

Armstrong actually grabbed some lunar dust and small rocks by hand and placed them inside a pocket on his spacesuit, in the event that they had to leave in a hurry.

Aldrin was busy setting up experiments and taking pictures of the area around the lander.

In all, there are not that many pictures of Armstrong on the surface of the moon.

Just in case you missed the actual launch and landing events, surrounding Apollo 11, here is a video of the event, 50 years ago!

As the two astronauts roamed the surface of the moon, Michael Collins orbited the moon in the command module, working on select experiments and maintaining the spacecraft in near perfect orbit.

Some additional facts about the mission:

  • A specially designed flag was made to look like it was actually “flying” when it was placed on the lunar surface. An aluminum rod was placed on the top of the 3-by-5-foot flag.
  • The American flag was knocked over, when the Apollo 11 astronauts fired the rocket to return to the command module.
  • Mixed within the collected moon rocks was a special mineral, later named Armalcolite in honor of the astronauts.
  • Once on the moon, the live TV broadcast was sent back to Earth with a data rate of 51.2 kilobits per second … much slower than a 56K dial-up modem!
  • Finally, President Nixon had a speech prepared in the event that the astronauts were not able to lift off the moon or if something bad happened on the lunar journey.

Things went well and the historic mission of Apollo 11 will go down as one of the most important events in human history.

Learn more about the Apollo 11 mission here.

To print your own monthly star chart, click here.

To view satellites/dates/times of passage, click here.

Listen to the Dr. Sky Show on KTAR News 92.3 FM every Saturday morning at 3 a.m.

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