Mankind's "giant leap"

Lesson Date : 2019-08-05
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“That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. The American astronaut Neil Armstrong said these famous words as he placed his foot on the Moon's surface. He was the first person to do so. Many people believe that the 1969 Moon landing was one of recorded history's most remarkable events.

On July 16, 1969, a rocket took Armstrong and his two companions into space. They were Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins. This year's July 16th marked the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing mission, or Apollo 11. Four days after leaving the Earth, Armstrong and Aldrin made history by walking on the lunar surface. Collins continued to circle the Moon in the Service Module spacecraft.

Armstrong died aged 82 in 2012. Buzz Aldrin is now 89 years old and Michael Collins is 88. Apollo 11's success ended what became known as the Space Race. It was an unofficial competition between the U.S. and the Russian-led Soviet Union. The first to land a man on the Moon would win. Both countries wanted to prove to the world that they had the best space technology.

The U.S. and Russia fought on the same side during the Second World War (1939 – 1945). Soon after the war ended, the two became enemies. Within a few years, the Cold War started. This was not a real war. The name is used to describe the period between 1947 and 1991.

In 1957, Russia was the first country to use a rocket to put a satellite into orbit. Called Sputnik, it was able to send simple radio signals back to the Earth. Russian was also the first to send a living thing into space. It was a dog called Laika. The dog died a few hours later from overheating.

In 1961, Yuri Gagarin, a Russian cosmonaut, became the first person in space. His flight, which lasted for 108 minutes, orbited the Earth once. At that time, John F. Kennedy was the American president. Kennedy made a famous speech. He declared the U.S. would land a man on the Moon and return him safely to the Earth within ten years.

NASA is the American space agency. It drew up a Moon landing plan called Project Apollo. It was named after the Ancient Greek god of light, music and the Sun. The manned Apollo missions started badly. Apollo 1 caught fire before the rocket lifted off. The three astronauts on board died.

Each Apollo mission was designed to test equipment and flight plans. In 1968, the three Apollo 8 astronauts flew around the Moon ten times and returned to the Earth. They were the first people to do this. Armstrong was chosen to command Apollo 11. This mission would have a three-man crew and would be the first to attempt a Moon landing.

Apollo 11 spacecraft began its three-day journey to the Moon soon after its launch. This is a distance of 386,000 kilometers. After it began to orbit the Moon, the spacecraft separated into two parts. Armstrong and Aldrin were in the Lunar Module. Collins remained in the Command and Service Module. The Lunar Module was called “Eagle”. The bald eagle is a symbol of the U.S. and the national bird.

After the Lunar Module touched down on the Moon, Armstrong sent a message to NASA. It said, “the Eagle has landed”. The two astronauts then checked the spacecraft's equipment for several hours. When the checks were completed, Armstrong climbed down the ladder and stood on the Moon's surface. The landing was shown on live television. About 600 million people from around the world watched.

The gravity on the Moon is about 17% of what it is on Earth. Therefore, a 90-kilogram object on the Earth would weigh about 15 kilograms on the Moon. Armstrong and Aldrin spent two hours and 20 minutes on the Moon. They collected rock and soil samples, took photographs, set up some equipment, and planted the American flag. The two astronauts then climbed back into the Lunar Module. It lifted off and rejoined the Command and Service Module. The Eagle was jettisoned. A few days later, the Module, with the three men inside, splashed down in the Pacific Ocean.

In 1972, NASA sent its last manned mission to the Moon, or Apollo 17. After Armstrong and Aldrin, ten other astronauts walked on the Moon. All were Americans.

Recently, NASA has announced plans to send astronauts back to the Moon in 2024. At least one will be a woman. The mission has been named Artemis after the Greek goddess of the Moon. Many people predict this mission is likely to be the beginning of the space economy. It will involve mining, tourism and research.

DEBATE

ISSUES : Should space travel be limited to research?

Period : 2019-08-05 ~ 2019-09-05
Manager's Pro Opinion
Yes, space travel should be limited to research. Space exploration is done to better understand the Earth and the whole Universe. The information gathered from this research can help humans develop more advanced technology and improve lives. With these advances, space tourism may soon be possible. Yet, this is likely to cost huge amounts of money. Space tourism will increase the number of space flights. Rocket launches can affect the environment. Traveling in space should only be done for scientific reasons.
Manager's Con Opinion
No, space travel should not be limited to research. Scientists need to explore space to find answers and more resources. Space exploration has helped to develop various new technologies. It has led to a better understanding of space. Space travel may soon be possible for ordinary people. This should not be limited to scientists. People should not just learn about space. Everyone should be given this opportunity to experience it.
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