Narissa Subramoney
Copy rewriter
2 minute read
20 Jul 2022
1:41 pm

Today in history: US astronauts’ moon landing

Narissa Subramoney

On this day, in 1969, Neil Armstrong uttered these words: 'That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.'

First moon landing. Picture - Nasa

On this day in 1969, millions gathered around their television sets to watch a first-of-its-kind televised international event.
The US Apollo 11, aka the Eagle lunar landing module, carrying astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin (“Buzz”) Aldrin, landed on the moon.

Several hours later, Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the moon’s surface.

‘That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind’

As Armstrong took his first steps on the moon, he uttered the now infamous words: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

The mission to get people to Earth’s natural satellite began in 1961 when then-president John F. Kennedy spoke to Congress.

“I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth.”

Then-US president John F. Kennedy

But Armstrong and Aldrin could only make that small step after several other ‘space firsts’ happened.

In 1957, the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, was launched into space by Russia.

The United States launched several satellites afterwards; both countries had hoped to be the first to send a human into space.

Why the moon-landing hoax lives on?

Like cockroaches, hoaxes also have a die-hard affinity for survival. Despite its widely reported successes on the moon, some refuse to believe the event ever happened.

But on this day, 53-years-ago, as the Apollo 11 astronauts stepped onto the lunar surface, some people back home were sceptical that the moon landing was even technologically possible.

References to a possible hoax crept up in The James Bond movie “Diamonds Are Forever,” with a joke about faked moon landings just two years later, in 1971. 

The moon landing conspiracy theory arguably gained notoriety when the 1978 Peter Hyams film “Capricorn One,” which portrays a faked human landing on Mars, was released.

Over the years, other popular television shows referenced a moon landing hoax, including Friends, Futurama, and The X-files.

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