Why was the moon landing important

1969: Americans win race to the moon

Status: 11/18/2019 3:21 p.m.

On July 21, 1969, the first human stepped on the moon. The landing on Earth's satellite as part of the "Apollo 11" mission is the finale of an unprecedented race between the Soviets and the Americans.

More than 500 million viewers around the world watch on television on the night of July 20-21, 1969, as the Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin step on the moon and make history with it. The moon landing marks the finale of an unprecedented space race between the Soviet Russians and the Americans in the midst of the Cold War.

Moon landing: Race between the USA and the Soviet Union

In the meantime, the Russians had been ahead of the game in this race: in 1957 the Soviets took part "Sputnik 1 "the first artificial satellite into space. Soon afterwards the bitch" Laika "orbits the earth on board" Sputnik 2 ". In 1961 the Russian Yuri Gagarin is the first person in space, Alan Shepard is the first American to follow on board a" Mercury "space capsule.

Kennedy gives the go-ahead for "Apollo" program

Spurred on by the Soviet successes, US President John F. Kennedy announced in 1962 that an American would soon land on the moon. In Cape Canaveral (Florida) systems are being built for the "Apollo" moon program. In the same year, the Russian Alexej Leonow was the first person to float for ten minutes in space. On board "Gemini IV" Edward White undertakes the first space walk of a US astronaut. In 1966 the Soviet lunar module "Luna 9" touches down on the earth's satellite. It is the first controlled, braked landing on the moon. In 1967 there was a major setback for the Americans: three US astronauts burned to death in a ground test in the first "Apollo" space capsule. A spark had set the cabin, which was filled with pure oxygen, on fire. In 1968, the first manned mission "Apollo 8" goes on a journey with three astronauts on board and orbits the moon.

Armstrong on moon landing: "Great leap for mankind"

In 1969 the time has finally come: On July 21st at 3:56 am Central European Summer Time (CEST) - in the USA it is the evening of July 20th - "Apollo 11" commander Neil Armstrong sets foot on the surface of the moon and says his most famous phrase: "A small step for a person - but a huge leap for mankind." Buzz Aldrin follows him 20 minutes later. At 4.42 a.m. CEST they both hoist the US flag together, then they phone US President Richard Nixon and collect rock samples. The moon walk lasts two and a half hours, during which Armstrong and Aldrin leave footprints in the dust as well as some garbage such as moon boots, a few empty food packages and full urine bags.

Spectacular lunar missions end in 1972

After their return, the astronauts will be quarantined for three weeks so that no uninvited bacteria from the moon can enter. Afterwards there is a big parade in New York to extensively celebrate the heroes of the moon. Just a few months after the "Apollo 11" mission, the crew of "Apollo 12" made the second landing on Earth's satellite. In 1970 the space capsule "Apollo 13" landed on earth with three astronauts after a spectacular rescue maneuver. The moon landing was canceled after an explosion in the oxygen tank. The phrase "Houston, we have a problem" becomes legendary. In 1971 and '72 further missions followed - until in December 1972 the ferry of "Apollo 17" reached the moon as the last manned spaceship to date. Then it becomes quiet on the satellite.

The next moon landing is just a matter of time

In the meantime, the focus has shifted back to the moon: In addition to Russia and the USA, this time China, India, Israel, Japan, South Korea and the European Space Agency ESA are also participating in the race to become a satellite. The US under President Donald Trump announced that US astronauts, including a woman, will land on the moon again within the next five years. In the future, the astronauts should not only visit the moon, but stay there on a lunar station. And that's actually just the preparation for future space missions: man's departure to Mars.

Moon landing - what is it about conspiracy theories?

There are several conspiracy theories about the first manned moon landing - some still doubt today that it really took place. There are simple explanations for several alleged circumstantial evidence:

  • The flag seems to be blowing - although there is no wind on the moon: the flag is actually moving - but that has nothing to do with wind. The astronauts rammed the flagpole into the lunar soil. This movement carries over to the flag. Even if an astronaut bumps into the bar, it moves.
  • There are no stars in the background in the photos: for good reason! Because the exposure time of the camera was too short for that. Otherwise the astronauts would have been blurred and overexposed.
  • The engines of the landing module did not leave a crater on landing: There is a simple explanation for this, too, because the lack of atmosphere means that the emission evaporates in all directions.

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tagesschau24 | 07/21/2019 | 3:20 pm

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