Moon Landing 50th Anniversary: Google Friday marked the 50th anniversary of Nasa’s Apollo 11 mission with a video doodle. With narration by astronaut Michael Collins, the video traces the historic events that led up to man’s first Moon landing. “Neil, Buzz and I felt the weight of the world on our shoulders,” Collins says.
“The first time we saw the Moon up close, it was a magnificent spectacle. It was huge,” Collins says in the video. “The sun was coming around it, cascading and making a golden halo, and filled our entire window. As impressive as the view was of this alien Moon seen up close, it was nothing compared to the sight of the tiny Earth. The Earth was the main show.”
On July 16, 1969, the US launched the Saturn V rocket from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center carrying astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, and Michael Collins. After orbiting around the Moon, a lunar module named “the Eagle” separated for a 13-minute journey to land on the surface of the Moon. Collins had remained in the command module as Armstrong and Aldrin made their way to the Moon’s surface.
Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the Moon on a vehicle called the “Sea of Tranquility” on July 20, 1969. Their journey was ridden with complications as they initially lost contact with Earth, experienced unfamiliar error codes on their onboard computer and ran short of fuel. On July 20, 50 years ago, Armstrong became the first man to step on the Moon as he said: “That’s one small step for man, but one giant leap for mankind.”
The duo had hoisted a plaque on Moon that read: “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon, July 1969 AD. We came in peace for all mankind.”
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“Behind the Moon, I was by myself. All alone, but not lonesome. If you counted, there were three billion plus two people on one side, and me on the other,” Collins says. “I felt very comfortable back there, I even had hot coffee.” The three astronauts returned to Earth on July 24, 1969. They landed in the Pacific Ocean.
The US’ Apollo mission involved around 40,000 people from around the world, including factory workers, scientists, and engineers.