By: Krishna R
It’s been 50 years since Apollo 11 left for the moon. Many people, however, still do not fully appreciate the value of the mission, and the implications it has today.
Before July 16th, 1969, people could only think about going to the moon. The moon was just a far-off object in the sky, providing a faint source of light during the night. But on July the 16th, NASA launched Apollo 11 – a mission that would send 2 people to the moon’s surface. This mission’s success soon became a landmark in the history of humanity; not only did it put 2 people on the surface of the moon, but it also yielded multiple findings that changed the way we see the moon today.
Of all the space missions you can think of which one sticks out the most in your head? Your answer was most likely Apollo 11 – but why is that? Sure, it landed two people on the moon, but is there any more significance to the mission that we can explore?
It turns out that Apollo 11 was, in fact, much more than a technological success. One of the main successes came from the return of 48 pounds of lunar rock and soil to Earth. #vital.
The rocks that were brought back from the moon are much older than the ones on Earth – the oldest on the moon were found to be at least a billion years older than the oldest on Earth. The age of the rocks also told scientists about the development of the lunar surface: it has been relatively untouched for the last 3 billion years, whereas the surface of the Earth has continuously been modified by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. #ancient.
Scientists also found out, through the samples, that there are significant amounts of titanium on the surface of the moon.
While on the surface of the moon, the crew of Apollo 11 also conducted various experiments. One of the experiments investigated the mechanics of lunar soil, while another required the astronauts to collect samples of the solar wind for analysis on Earth.
Launch of Apollo 11
Some of the experiments required the crew to place a device on the lunar surface – when the crew returned home, the devices would be monitored from Earth. An example of this kind of experiment includes the Passive Seismic Experiment, which was to provide information on the internal structure of the moon.
Along with being a significant technological landmark, Apollo 11 provided the world of science with a great amount of information about the moon. It is likely the success of this mission that prompted NASA to send more manned missions to the moon, in order to gain more information about this once mysterious rock orbiting our home. Hopefully, we can all appreciate the importance of Apollo 11 and celebrate its 50th anniversary! #apollo
Sullivan, W. (n.d.). Legacy of the Apollo 11 Flight: Verifications and New Discoveries. Retrieved August 3, 2019, from https://www.nytimes.com/1970/07/21/archives/legacy-of-the-apollo-11-flight-verifications-and-new-discoveries.html
Apollo 11 Mission. (n.d.). Retrieved August 3, 2019, from https://www.lpi.usra.edu/lunar/missions/apollo/apollo_11/experiments/
Image credit NASA