1. James Woudhuysen, 'Lets go back to the moon and beyond', 29 June 2009, posted on www.spiked-online.com
2. All images are from the Apollo Picture Gallery, posted on www.apolloarchive.com
3. Great Images in NASA, posted on http://grin.hq.nasa.gov
Mankind dared to put a footprint on the Moon
That's a footprint for every human being to be proud of. Made by Neil Armstrong on the Moon, on 20 July 1969. He is sitting in the centre, after the success of the Apollo 11 mission, with Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin, and their wives. The wives are Janet Shearon Armstrong, Patricia Collins, and Joan Archer, married to Aldrin, who is playing with the shotgun. That first moonwalk was 40 years ago, and the last in December 1972 with Apollo 17. (1) Going back to inhabit the Moon and beyond it to Mars is now long overdue. That is a humanist ambition.
To plan to walk on the Moon was audacious. Of course to achieve the feat the Apollo 11 crew needed more support than their wives. They had widespread political commitment and the necessary resources behind them, organised by the flight and ground crews at NASA. The technology was important, but the social commitment was critical. In July 2009, when environmentalists in the developed world argue against such industrial and democratic daring, and criticise the human "footprint", it is important to celebrate experiment and achievement as inspiring as the Apollo 11 mission success. Humanity makes wonderful footprints.
Thanks to the excellent images made available by NASA's Project Apollo on the Apollo Picture Gallery, (2) the pictures tell the story...
Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins are selected to crew Apollo 11 for a Moon landing, in February 1969
The first stage of the Saturn 5 rocket for Apollo 11 is prepared
Rocket scientist Werner von Braun at NASA's Mission Control in July 1969, discussing the Apollo 11 mission
The Apollo 11 flight crew in the NASA control room
Flight controllers Charles Duke, Jim Lovell, who would later lead the crew of Apollo 13, and Fred Haise
The ground crew get Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins ready
The Saturn 5 multi-stage rocket launches the Apollo 11 mission on 16 July 1969. There are other great images on GRIN. (3)
Neil Armstrong is first to step on the Moon, 20 July 1969
The second man to walk on the Moon, Buzz Aldrin, leaving the Lunar Module, as photographed by Neil Armstrong
Buzz Aldrin walks on the Moon 20 July 1969
A footprint for every human being to be proud of
Lunar Module, 20 July 1969
The Lunar Module photographed from the Command Module on 21 July 1969 before the return to Earth
The crescent Earth, photographed on the return journey
Richard Nixon meets Armstrong, Collins, and Aldrin in quarantine on the USS Hornet, after a successful re-entry through the Earth's atmosphere and "splash down" in the Command Module
The crew in the mobile quarantine unit are transferred from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet
The Apollo 11 crew are welcomed in New York
The Apollo 11 Command Module is recovered for display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (4)
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