It’s been 50 years since man landed on the lunar surface. Here are some unknown facts about the Apollo mission that made this feat possible
- In 1961, the then American president John F Kennedy challenged the nation to land astronauts on the Moon by the end of the decade. NASA met that challenge with the Apollo programme. It was the first time human beings left Earth’s orbit and visited another world.
- “That’s one small step for (a) man; one giant leap for mankind.” It was July 20, 1969, when scientists at NASA, along with half a million people across the world, heard these words said by astronaut Neil Armstrong as he stepped on the Moon, making him the first man in history to do so. The world rejoiced at the success of the Apollo 11 mission as it took Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the lunar surface, and Michael Collins to the Moon.
- Of all the Apollo missions by NASA, Apollo 13 was one of the more famous ones. Due to some problem that arose on the way, the spacecraft flew around the Moon instead of landing, which was originally intended, before returning home safely with its astronauts. A movie, starring Oscar award-winning actor Tom Hanks, was made about this flight.
- The first manned-mission to the Moon was Apollo 8, which circled around the Moon on Christmas Eve, 1968. However, Apollo 8 did not land. It orbited the Moon and returned to Earth.
- The first four Apollo flights tested the equipment used in the Apollo Programmme. Six of the other seven flights landed on the Moon. While the first Apollo flight happened in 1968, the first Moon landing took place in 1969.
- To celebrate the 50th year of the momentous landing, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, has curated an exhibition titled ‘Apollo’s Muse: The Moon in the Age of Photography’ that displays the visual representations of the Moon captured from the dawn of photography till the present. The exhibition is on till September 22.
Compiled by Shrabasti Mallik