By Sebastian Foster, edited by Kenna Lee
July 16th, 1969, history was made. It all started on launchpad 39A, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on the Eastern coast of Florida. At 8:32 a.m., a rocket with astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins blasted off and started its journey of 195 hours (about eight days). The primary goal of Apollo 11, set by John F. Kennedy himself, was to land a crewed lunar landing on the Moon and get it back to Earth. On this day, 50 years ago, an estimated 650 million people watched until the Apollo 11 was only a small speck in the sky.
During the first leg of the flight, the aircraft flew into Earth’ orbit, where it stayed for two and a half hours until it accelerated enough to fly out of Earth’s gravitational field. 102 hours later, the lunar module landed on the moon. Only seven hours after landing on the surface of the moon, Neil Armstrong became the first human set foot into the fine, powdery dust. It was then and there he uttered the famous words, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”Aldrin and Armstrong would spend the next 21 hours on the moon.
Apollo 11 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, 13 miles away from the recovery ship USS Hornet, and logged a flight that took 195 hours, 18 minutes, and 35 seconds. 36 minutes longer than planned.
July 16th was the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, and with that, NASA made some big announcements. NASA disclosed that they would be dropping a rover on Mars’ surface on February 18, 2020. This rover will collect samples and send them into Mars’s orbit where a rocket will retrieve them and send them back to earth. NASA has also announced that by 2024, they will partner with companies to land astronauts on the lunar south pole for long-term exploration.
On July 16th, 1969, history was made, and we all have the potential to do the same just as the historic astronauts did. We can all change and impact the world starting now. Whether it’s saving lives as a surgeon, educating the new generation as an instructor, or as an astronaut racing to the moon, we can all make a difference in the world.