Over the Moon: Chinese Internet Marks 50 Years Since Apollo 11

Katie Ramirez
July 21, 2019

When President Donald Trump asked Buzz Aldrin, the second human ever to walk on the moon, what he thought about the United States' current ability to operate in space 50 years after the Apollo 11 mission, the ex-astronaut had a ready response.

At 4:18pm ET (2018 GMT) on July 20, 1969, the lunar module carrying Armstrong and crewmate Buzz Aldrin touched down on the Sea of Tranquility, following a four-day journey. Six hours later, Armstrong was the first to step onto the lunar surface, proclaiming for the ages: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind".

NASA has been in overdrive for several weeks to mark the anniversary, with exhibits and events nationwide but most notably at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida and the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

In Armstrong's hometown of Wapakoneta, Ohio, almost 2,000 runners competed in 5-km and 10-km "Run to the Moon" races on Saturday.

Pence, who chairs the newly-revived National Space Council, also revealed during his remarks that NASA's Orion crew capsule - the next-generation vessel created to transport humans not only to the moon, but eventually to Mars - "is complete and ready to begin preparations for its historic first mission", according to Fox News.

"Apollo 11 is the only event in the 20th century that stands a chance of being widely remembered in the 30th century", said Pence, via Space.com.

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"It would not be at all helpful to be competing for the moon or Mars, that's very wasteful", Aldrin told the media. "This time, we're going to the moon to stay".

When Scott Young tries to explain the Apollo missions to the moon to a new generation of curious children, he says he first has make to make them understand concepts like the Cold War and a Space Race with a country and global adversary that hasn't been around in their lifetimes. SpaceX's Elon Musk also is rooting for the moon, although his heart is on colonizing Mars.But Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins prefers a beeline to Mars. "Good grief! It's still wonderful, the No. 1 feat of the 20th century, if not all of modern history, that first time there".

On popular microblogging platform Weibo, a trending hashtag translating to "human moon day" marked the remembrance of the historic extraterrestrial event, which saw a US space crew touch down on the moon's surface on July 20, 1969.

On Friday night, images from the moon landing were projected on to the Washington Monument in Washington DC, while crowds of people watched from the National Mall. Only Skvortsov was alive at the time of Apollo 11. Morgan explained in a NASA interview that Apollo 11, and now his flight, represents "an accomplishment of the world and not one single country".

The show also included various scenes of the stages separating, the moon landing, and splash-down as the hero astronauts returned to Earth.

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