Calendar of Cool: First Moon Landing

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the Moon.

rocket

The Moon is thought to have been created when the Earth was just 50 million years old. A body the size of Mars struck the young, molten Earth, causing material to spew from the planet. This material coalesced to form the Moon.

collision

Like the Earth, the Moon eventually cooled and solidified. For thousands of years thereafter, the Moon served an important function in navigation, timekeeping, and of course, regulating the tides of Earth’s bodies of water. The Moon is so close that many of its features can be easily seen with the naked eye, such as its huge dry seas, called mare.

Mare

It was only 45 years ago that humans could finally see the moon more closely than a telescope would allow. After President John F. Kennedy issued a challenge to the world’s greatest minds, an unofficial international competition known as the Space Race began. And just nine years later, American astronauts left their flags and footprints on the lunar surface.

astronaut

In fact, it’s possible that those footprints remain to this day. Since the dust, or regolith, on the surface of the moon is so rough, and since there is no wind or weather to disturb them, the footprints can hold and stick together unchanged.

lunar dust

Humanity’s first trip to the surface of another world? Amazingly, monumentally cool.

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