Half a century ago, one of the most monumental moments in our history took place – the Apollo 11 mission successfully landed the first humans on the moon. On 20 July 1969, at around 9am Singapore time, American astronaut Neil Armstrong spoke those famous words: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
The impact of the moon landing is impossible to overstate: it expanded our knowledge of the stars, it marked a dramatic step in the exploration of the solar system, and it played a significant strategic role in the Cold War. So, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the events, here are a few fun facts you mightn’t have known about the Apollo 11 mission.
#1 Did it really happen?
There are multiple conspiracy theories that the moon landing never took place, and that the event was instead staged by the United States government. Among the most popular is one that suggests that famous film director Stanley Kubrick was hired to stage the ‘fake’ event. This theory gained traction after Kubrick’s 1980 horror film, The Shining, which shows child character Danny Torrance wandering the halls of the haunted Overlook Hotel while wearing a blue jumper with an Apollo rocket on it.
#2 Dining on the moon
The first items of food and drink to be consumed on the moon were communion wine and a wafer (by Buzz Aldrin). The first proper “meal” consisted of bacon squares, peaches, sugar cookie cubes, a pineapple grapefruit drink and coffee.
#3 What’s that smell?
When the astronauts returned to the Lunar Module after walking on the moon, they discovered they were able to smell the moon dust that had collected on their clothing – they described as smelling like gunpowder.
#4 Planting the flag
After successfully setting up the American flag on the moon’s surface, when Armstrong and Aldrin launched the Lunar Module back into orbit to join the Command Module, the flag was blasted way due to the force of the launch.
#5 Welcome home!
While the team’s safe arrival back on Earth was an incredibly exciting moment for everyone involved, there was still a customs declaration form to complete. Where the form asked where the team’s departure point had been, they wrote “Moon”. In the section where they had to list what they were carrying, they wrote, “Moon Rock and Moon Dust Samples”.
Celebrating the moon landing in Singapore
There are various commemorative events being held around town to tie in with the 50-year anniversary. The Singapore Space and Technology Association has been hosting special projects to mark the event. StarHub is showing a series of moon-related films and documentaries throughout July and August. And the Singapore Symphony Orchestra is putting on a special concert, Moonrise and Aurora, on Friday, 30 August, at the Esplanade Concert Hall (tickets here).
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