Pictures from the MoonOn 20th July 1969, a man set foot on an extra-terrestrial surface for the very first time in history. This man was Neil Armstrong, and his words, "This is one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," became probably the most famous words of the Twentieth Century. It was announced in 1962 by the American president, John F. Kennedy, that the Americans would put a man on the Moon by the end of that decade. At the time, America was losing the Space Race against the Russians, who had launched rockets outside Earth's atmosphere and were the first to send people into space (Yuru Gagarin in 1961). After also sending the first man on a space walk in 1965 (Alexei Leonov was the first man to step out of a space craft in space), the Russians started losing the race. After many practice flights and orbits around the Moon from 1966, American astronauts were ready to walk on its surface in 1969.
Apollo 11 was the name of the first mission to land on the Moon. Neil Armstrong took the first step on the surface of the Moon, followed by Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin. Their footsteps remain on the surface of the Moon now, and will remain there for millions of years. A few months after, Apollo 12 landed two more astronauts on the Moon on 14th November. Apollo 13 headed for the Moon, but an explosion on the space craft prevented the astronauts from being able to attempt a landing. Instead they had to battle against the odds to get back to Earth safely. After Apollo 13, four more missions landed men on the Moon, with Apollo 17 being the last on 7th December 1972. Since then, no man has set foot on the Moon.
From the Apollo missions, we discovered how the Moon's surface temperature can be extremely hot and extremely cold, depending on whether it is receiving sunlight or not. The Moon's surface is also dry and chalky. However, orange rocks on the surface provide evidence of volcanic activity once in the Moon's history. Most importantly, the Apollo missions proved that man can walk on another world, something that would have been unimaginable one hundred years earlier.
Below are some pictures taken during the Apollo missions to the Moon.
The picture on the left shows the Apollo 11 Lunar Module, containing Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin during the mission to be the first men to walk on the moon. In the distance, you can see the Earth rising over the horizon.
On the right is a picture of a giant boulder on the Moon's surface. This was photographed during the Apollo 17 mission, the last mission to land men on the moon. Again, you can see Earth, high in the Moon's sky.
On the left is a picture of Earth rising, viewed from the Moon. This picture was taken by astronauts onboard Apollo 8. Its title is "Earthrise" and is one of the most famous photographs ever taken.
The picture on the right shows Edwin Aldrin standing by the American flag two ours before leaving the surface after the first manned lunar landing in 1969. After Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin left the Moon, the flag fell over! There is no air on the Moon, so there would be no wind to make the flag blow. Instead, a beam going across the top of the flag gives the impression of it being blown.
On the left is a picture of the landscape near to the landing side of the Apollo 17 lunar module. Notice how smooth it appears. You can also see lunar hills in the background. This is the part of the Moon where the orange rocks were found which show that volcanoes once took place on the Moon. The buggy in the middle of the picture was the astronauts' method of transport around the Moon.
Finally, here's a picture of an astronaut with his pet dog on the Moon. I have a feeling that this isn't a genuine photograph!