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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Where were you on July 20, 1969?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

In one of the greatest technological achievements in history, Neil Armstrong and "Buzz" Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon in July of 1969 while Michael Collins waited inside the Apollo 11 craft.

America's space race heated up soon after Russia sent "Sputnik" beeping into orbit in the fall of 1957 and then shot Yuri Gugarin into space, the first person to enter that realm.

In a May 25, 1961 speech, President John F. Kennedy announced the goal of landing a man on the moon by the end of the decade.

Alan Shepard became the first American to make it into space and John Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth in February of 1962.

The Apollo space program launched nine lunar missions and landed six (11-12-14-15-16-17) of them on the moon between 1969-1972.

Astronauts Cernan and Schmitt climbed back into the 12-foot, eight-inch long Apollo 17 lunar module and left the moon on Dec. 14, 1972, making them the last to set foot on the moon. Apollo 18-19-20 missions were cancelled.

They left supplies and equipment that they didn't need on the moon, including the 10-foot long Lunar rover (buggy) that was first sent to the moon in 1971 with Apollo 15.

With it's tires made with loops of metal wire and an electric motor, it should be ready to roll with a new battery, they say.

Michael Jackson might have perfected the moon walk, but there have only been 12 people who have set foot on the moon, 239,000 miles away, and no one has stayed more than three days.

In the years since then, no one has gone more than 386 miles into space.

President George W. Bush said we should try to go back to the moon by 2020, but now that he's gone and with the Space Shuttle program winding down, the road ahead is far from clear.

Former astronauts and people in the space programs want to go to Mars, but that will require a lot of money and a bold attempt to reignite the excitement of the American people.

To show how much things have changed since the Apollo 11 days, the Earth's population has grown from three billion to more than six billion.

Those of us who remember the moon shots witnessed history being made, that's for sure.

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