Moon Mission

American Astronaut, Neil Armstrong, stepped on to the moon for the first time in July 1969. The moment he set his foot on the moon, the control mission in America received these words uttered by him:

“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Armstrong and his two colleagues were selected from amongst the top 30 astronauts of the U.S.A. He possessed to a very high degree all those qualities which were necessary for this difficult, historic mission—extraordinary skill in flying, intelligence, strength, ability to absorb information, mental and emotional balance and the courage to accept challenges unhesitatingly. Once selected, he had to undergo rigorous training, for instance, having to remain in deep water for long periods so that he would become used to weightlessness. So that he could deal with every possible emergency, he did elaborate courses in astronomy, space flight, rocket flight, the physics of the moon, etc.—all with the help of computerized space data.

The 3100-ton Apollo 11 seemed a giant. It was as high as a 36-storey building, having 8 million parts and 91 engines installed in it. On the top was the comparatively small machine, the Columbia, in which the astronauts were seated to set off on their historic journey.

The space machine was duly blasted off, circling the earth for two and a half hours. Then its speed increased to 403 miles per minute and on reaching an altitude of 3000 miles the Columbia separated from the rest of the machines. It was so equipped that the seating space for the astronauts was only as much as in an ordinary taxi. Finally they alighted on the moon from where they gathered 46 pounds of moon-earth, leaving equipment worth 5 lakh pounds behind them. They also left their footprints on its surface, which hopefully will remain intact for half a million years.

It was only after such highly elaborate preparations that the “small step” could be taken which was going to result in such a “giant leap” for mankind.