The Leyendecker View: To the Moon and Back«Back

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TLV | Happy 50th Lunar Landing Anniversary: July 20, 2019

"I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth. No single space project in this period will be more exciting, or more impressive, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish."
- President John F. Kennedy, in a speech to Congress on May 25, 1961
Image from NASA

Fifty years ago today, humans landed on the moon for the first time. From the moment President Kennedy declared this goal on May 25, 1961 to the moment Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins, and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin returned safely home on July 24, 1969, some 400,000 people were involved in the mission.

On this momentous anniversary, we invite you to reflect on what we are capable of when we dream big and work together.

Happy 50th Lunar Landing Anniversary!

The most beautiful photos taken on the Apollo 11 mission
Photos from each day of the mission.
NASA reveals stunning unseen photos from the lunar surface
To commemorate the 50th, NASA shared previously un-released panoramas from all missions to the moon. Click through the handful of slideshows, and scroll down to see charming footage of various lunar-landed astronauts tripping, falling, and losing their fight against lunar gravity.

The world watched the moon landing together
It is estimated that 530 million people all over the world watched the moon landing on TV. Photos of this unified, powerful moment are inspiring in it of themselves.
“Apollo 11”: The must see documentary of the year
If you do one thing this weekend, rent and watch “Apollo 11,” a documentary made entirely from raw footage and voiceover accounts of the mission. You will feel transported to both mission control and the moon, feeling the weight and nail-biting anxiety of those eight days. While we know the mission’s outcome, you will still be on the edge of your seat. 
The documentary will air tonight, July 20, at 9pm and 11pm Eastern on CNN. It is also available via CNN On Demandand rental on Amazon.
The Atlantic video: A time capsule of the moon landing
Various people who were involved in the moon landing share their experiences both being a part of the mission (including the toll it took on so many) and the magic of witnessing it in real time.
The Tom Hanks and Ron Howard produced “From Earth to the Moon” series
In celebration of the 50thanniversary, HBO has remastered its 1998 fictionalized miniseries about the Apollo 11 mission, from idea to reality. It’s available for HBO subscribers and for purchase on Amazon.
NASA’s Apollo 11 homepage
NASA’s landing page for the history of landing the first man on the moon, including a summary of each day of the eight-day mission, an image gallery, and raw HD footage from the mission.
A quick guide to the first moon landing
A one-stop for the key fast facts about the Apollo 11 mission, from distances traveled to what Aldrin and Armstrong did and collected on the moon, to a look at the future of lunar travel.
An oral history of the moon landing
Popular Mechanics collected riveting, first-hand accounts from a range of people involved with the eight-day mission, from astronauts to several people across the space centers monitoring different phases of the eight-day flight. 
The lone woman of Apollo 11’s launch control
JoAnn Morgan was the first and only female engineer at Cape Canaveral when Apollo 11 launched, where she was responsible for monitoring the rocket’s sensors. With not one women’s bathroom at launch control, security had to clear out one of the men’s restrooms when she’d need it. Morgan would remain at NASA—and committed to encouraging women to pursue space exploration and mentoring many who did—until her retirement in 2003.
Landing on the moon cost dozens of lives
In our race to the moon, eight astronauts and astronaut candidates died in airplane crashes or vehicle tests, several NASA ground crew lost their lives to accidents, and dozens of test pilots died in the decades leading up to Apollo 11. Read on for their heroic stories.
What if the Apollo 11 astronauts had died?
President Nixon had a speech prepared in the event of tragedy, which you can read in this link.
The fraught effort to return to the moon
Where President Obama focused on a mission to Mars, the Trump administration has focused on returning Americans to the moon (this time with a female astronaut), where Americans haven’t been since 1972. But then, just last month, President Trump—with the stroke of a tweet—contradicted the administration’s goal, unleashing not only drama but dialogue too. What isbest for American space exploration—returning to the moon or getting to Mars, or neither?
Dueling superpowers, rival billionaire—inside the new race to the moon
So long, Sputnik. Today’s space race is between the U.S. and China, with billionaires complicating the picture. And the prize is no longer glory but possible billions to be made. Are we in for a lunar gold rush?

Lunar mysteries that science still needs to solve
The Apollo 11 astronauts returned with over 2,000 moon rocks. By analyzing these alien artifacts, scientists determined the moon’s age (about 4.5 billions years old), composition, and how it formed. Yet many questions—where does lunar water come from? what can the moon teach us about the early solar system?—remain, and several countries are determined to answer them…
We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things. 
Not because they are easy, but because they are hard
- President John F. Kennedy
 Image from NASA

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