Neil Armstrong is the First Man to Walk on the Moon Part 3

About the history of the first man to walk on the moon, biography of Neil Armstrong, account of the United States and NASA in the space race.


WHEN: 1969

Armstrong showed viewers the plaque that he placed at the landing site: "Here men from the planet earth 1st set foot upon the moon July, 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind."

It was signed by the astronauts and by President Richard Nixon. The 2 put up a metallic American flag, which would never wave on the windless moon.

During the next 2 1/2 hours, Armstrong and Aldrin checked the Eagle for landing damage, studied the depressions made by its footpads, practiced running and walking, and collected data. Armstrong picked up about 50 lbs. of rock and soil samples which were put 1st into sealed bags, then into aluminum boxes. Later, a NASA official was to say that they were "worth more than all the gold in Fort Knox." The rocks were amazingly old, some dated before any that had ever been found on earth. The men set up 3 instrument systems: a solar wind composition detector, a seismic detector, and a laser reflector. Armstrong tried to take some core samples of subsurface materials but had trouble: "I could get the 1st coring device down about the 1st 2" without much of a problem and then I would pound it in about as hard as I could do it. The 2nd one took 2 hands on the hammer, and I was putting pretty good dents in the top of the extension rod. And it just wouldn't go much more than--I think the total depth might have been about 8" or 9". But even there, it . . . didn't seem to want to stand up straight, and it would dig some sort of a hole, but it wouldn't just penetrate in a way that would support it . . . if that makes any sense at all. It didn't really to me." They talked about the craters, their footprints, which went only 1/8" deep, and the tiny glass balls in the soil that made it slippery.

After the 2 1/2 hours were up, they returned to the module. Their visit to the moon was over. Behind them, they left "junk"--cameras, backpacks, tools, and some footprints that would probably, in that airless place, remain forever. It had been a strange adventure, described almost prosaically by the 2 awed men--the triumph of technology and the fulfillment of a dream that was as old as mankind.

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