Why Neil Armstrong Got to Be the First Man on the Moon

Fifty years ago, Neil Armstrong became the first man to ever walk on the moon.  Since that date, July 20, 1969, the moon has become the subject of much debate and scientific analysis.  From what Neil Armstrong first said as he took those initial steps to conspiracy theories about hoaxes, few historical events have captured the interest in mankind quite like the Apollo 11 moon landing.  However, a few facts about this event have remained obscure through time.

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50 Years Ago–Getting Apollo 11 to the Moon on Less than the Power of a USB Stick

apollo 11, moon walk
More than half a billion people watched the televised first moonwalk that took place on July 20, 1969.  It was a day so historic that space enthusiasts still celebrate it annually.  It was the day that marked the culmination of human endeavor, spirit, and perseverance.  And it can always be summed up in that now-famous sentence uttered by Neil Armstrong, “That is one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

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AstroChimp65: The Life and Times of Ham the Space Chimp

It was called the Space Race, a competition between two world powers, the Soviet Union and the United States, on who would achieve significant advances in spaceflight capability.  By the early 1960s, the Soviets were winning by achieving the first successful launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957, and the first man in space with Yuri Gagarin in 1961.  Of course, it would only be a matter of time until the U.S. peaked and won this rivalry by putting humans on the surface of the moon in 1969.  But it wasn’t as simple as building some rockets, strapping people aboard, and shooting them up into the sky.  There was a lot of testing involved to see if man could even withstand the challenges that spaceflight had in store.  And this testing often involved animals.

Alan Shepard was the first American in space and it was with the help of a four-year-old chimp known then as No. 65 that this achievement was possible.

 

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The Sky Tonight Update: Partial Lunar Eclipse

Partial Lunar Eclipse

A partial lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes through the Earth’s partial shadow, or penumbra, and only a portion of it passes through the darkest shadow, or umbra. During this type of eclipse a part of the Moon will darken as it moves through the Earth’s shadow. The eclipse will be visible throughout most of Europe, Africa, central Asia, and the Indian Ocean.
(NASA Map and Eclipse Information)

The Sky Tonight Update: Full Moon

Full Moon

The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This phase occurs at 21:38 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Buck Moon because the male buck deer would begin to grow their new antlers at this time of year. This moon has also been known as the Full Thunder Moon and the Full Hay Moon.

 

The Sky Tonight Update: Saturn at Opposition

Saturn at Opposition

The ringed planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. It will be brighter than any other time of the year and will be visible all night long. This is the best time to view and photograph Saturn and its moons. A medium-sized or larger telescope will allow you to see Saturn’s rings and a few of its brightest moons.

The Sky Tonight Update: Total Solar Eclipse

Total Solar Eclipse 2019

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon completely blocks the Sun, revealing the Sun’s beautiful outer atmosphere known as the corona. The path of totality will only be visible in parts of the southern pacific Ocean, central Chile, and central Argentina. A partial eclipse will be visible in most parts of the southern Pacific Ocean and western South America.
(NASA Map and Eclipse Information)
(NASA Interactive Google Map)