Wednesday, July 20, 2016

American Eagle 1969

Forty-seven years ago the Apollo Lunar Module Eagle landed on the moon. Millions watched at 10:56 PM, EDT, as Neil Armstrong, the commander of the Apollo 11 mission, descended the Eagle's ladder and made what he called a "giant leap for mankind" with his final step onto the powdery lunar surface. Learn more about the Apollo 11 mission here on Wikipedia where you can find scores of links to more National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) reports and multimedia.

Lunar Module Eagle in landing configuration, July 20, 1969  

Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, the module pilot, spent almost 22 hours on the moon including their 150 minute walk where they erected an American flag, collected soil and rock samples, and deployed experiments. On their return to Earth much of the material they collected was eventually archived and displayed at the Smithsonian Institution. Some rocks entered our culture in some fascinating ways, including this one at the Washington National Cathedral, where one was embedded at the center of a red planet in what has become known as the Space Window. 

Time is catching up with those first attempts at exploring our nearest celestial neighbor. Neil Armstrong passed away in 2012 at the age of 82. Buzz Aldrin turned 86 earlier this year. Although we hear rumbling of new manned mission to the moon there's nothing firm coming from our government. Regardless of what the future holds, those early years including the mission we commemorate today, were an exciting and almost magical time for science, exploration, and discovery of the frontier "out there."


Photos and Illustrations:, Space Window detail, Space Window, full photo


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