On This Day in 1969

us_flagAt 10.56pm EDT today in 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped off the Eagle lunar module and became the first human to walk on the surface of the Moon.

Two and a half hours earlier, after Eagle had landed on the Moon with 7 seconds of fuel remaining, Buzz Aldrin took private Communion before preparations for the first moonwalk began. He avoiding mentioning the Communion during the live broadcast as NASA were, at that time, fighting a law suit from an atheist who objected to the astronauts of Apollo 8 reading from the Book of Genesis.

The first liquid poured and the first food eaten on the Moon were, therefore, Communion elements. The chalice used in the service resides in the Webster Presbyterian Church, where Aldrin was an Elder.

Armstrong took five minutes to descend the nine-rung ladder on the lunar module in his spacesuit and, as over a billion people watched live 240,000 miles away on Earth, uttered his famous line:

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

The “a” is not clear in NASA recordings as it was obscured by static.

The astronauts collected soil samples from the surface, raised the US flag, took a phone call from President Nixon and laid a plaque reading:

“Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon, July 1969 AD. We came in peace for all mankind”

There were six lunar landings in total, the last being Apollo 18 in December 1972.

No human has returned to the moon since.



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