Published: Sun, July 21, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Nation Celebrates 50th Anniversary of 1st Lunar Footsteps

Nation Celebrates 50th Anniversary of 1st Lunar Footsteps

A moonstruck nation celebrated the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11's "giant leap" by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin at parties, races, ball games and concerts Saturday, toasting with Tang and gobbling MoonPies.

At 4:18pm ET (2018 GMT) on July 20, 1969, the lunar module carrying Armstrong and crewmate Buzz Aldrin touched down on the Sea of Tranquility, following a four-day journey.

"Now, NASA is working to build a sustainable, open architecture that returns humanity to our nearest neighbor", Jim Bridenstine, the administrator of the USA space agency, said in a statement to a Senate committee on Wednesday.

In Armstrong's hometown of Wapakoneta, Ohio, almost 2,000 runners competed in 5-km and 10-km "Run to the Moon" races on Saturday.

Vice President Mike Pence is marking the 50th anniversary of humanity's first moon landing at the Apollo 11 launch site.

In a speech at the Kennedy Space Center July 20, Vice President Mike Pence, flanked by the Orion spacecraft being built for the Artemis 1 uncrewed mission, said that assembly of the spacecraft was now "complete" and ready for final testing. "I think we all ought to be a little ashamed that we can't do better than that."Collins, who circled the moon in the mother ship while Aldrin and Armstrong planted a USA flag and gathered rocks, acknowledges that returning to the moon as a stepping stone to Mars is "a valid plan."But I don't have to agree with it", Collins told The Associated Press".

"They ask, 'Why aren't we still going to the moon?'".

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Former NFL player Mitch Petrus , 32, fell ill while working outside Thursday during a heat advisory in Arkansas. People cool off in a water feature in the Navy Yard neighborhood during a heat wave in Washington.


Aldrin, the second person to walk on the moon, tweeted on Saturday: "Today, America put the big question to rest: We got there first".

NASA has been in overdrive for several weeks to mark the anniversary, with exhibits and events around the country, including projecting the giant Saturn V rocket and clips from the mission on the Washington Monument.

The two astronauts spent more than 21 hours on the lunar surface deploying scientific experiments and gathering samples before returning to the orbiting command module, piloted by Collins.

An estimated one million people gathered on the beaches of central Florida to witness first-hand the launch of Apollo 11, while more than 500 million people around the world watched the event live on television, NASA said in an earlier statement.

Across the country in Seattle, Tim Turner was first in line at the Museum of Flight to see the Apollo 11 command module, Columbia, on display there.

On popular microblogging platform Weibo, a trending hashtag translating to "human moon day" marked the remembrance of the historic extraterrestrial event, which saw a USA space crew touch down on the moon's surface on July 20, 1969. Only one of the three - cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov - was alive at the time of Apollo 11. He also called for global cooperation to achieve humanity's next steps on the Moon and Mars.

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