48 YEARS AGO: Apollo 11 Crew of Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins Launched Toward the Moon
By NASA History // July 16, 2017
FROM KSC July 16, 1969 at 9:32 a.m.
BREVARD COUNTY • KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLORIDA – On July 16, 1969 at 9:32 a.m. Eastern Time, the Apollo 11 crew of Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins launched toward the Moon.
The astronauts were not the only payload atop the Saturn V rocket. Many earthly objects were brought along on their historic trip to the Moon.
The majority of the cargo was packed for practicality: food packets, survival knives, water containers and de-salination kits, and spacesuits suits. Other items were packed in the spirit of scientific discovery: cameras, thermometers, bags for sample collection, and other experiments.
Some items were brought to the Moon specifically so they could be returned to Earth.
For example, a piece of wood from the Wright Flyer was brought to the Moon and back. Other items were brought to the Moon with the intent of leaving them on the lunar surface – for example the American flag.
However, the Apollo 11 astronauts brought a few other items of memorabilia to leave on the Moon. These included: a gold olive leaf pin, medals commemorating cosmonauts lost in space, the mission patch from Apollo 11, a commemorative plaque, and a silicon disc holding messages of goodwill.
This goodwill disc was roughly the size of a 50-cent piece and held messages of goodwill from leaders of 73 countries, including the Queen of England, several previous presidents, and the pope.
The messages were shrunk to 200 times their original size and transferred to the chip through the same process used for making integrated circuits. The most famous thing left on the Moon, however, is not a piece of memorabilia. It is the footprint of Neil Armstrong, the small step that represented humanity’s “one giant leap.”
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