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Fifty years ago today (July 20), humanity set foot on the surface of another world for the first time.
Those hopping steps by Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin left lasting marks on the lunar surface and a legacy here on Earth that's similarly indelible.
Technology - Course - List - Apollo - Spinoffs
There's the technology, of course. The long list of Apollo spinoffs includes space blankets, improved food-safety procedures and computer-guided flight, an innovation that soon found its way into airliners and, later, cars (in features such as cruise control and antilock brakes).
Apollo 11 Moon Landing Giveaway with Simulation Curriculum & Celestron!
Impacts - Apollo - Example - Leap - Americans
But the biggest and most important impacts of Apollo are less tangible. For example, the giant leap gave Americans a glimpse of their nation's true potential.
Apollo 11 showed that "when we have the political will to do something grand, and we set ourselves an achievable goal — even though it's challenging — the country can come together and do something of magnificent quality," said John Logsdon, a professor emeritus of political science and international affairs at George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs in Washington, D.C.
Scope - Apollo - Accomplishment - NASA - Start
To appreciate the scope of the Apollo 11 accomplishment, consider where NASA stood at the start of the moon rush.
President John F. Kennedy announced on May 25, 1961, that the United States would put a man on the moon, and bring him safely home, by the end of the decade. At the time, the United States had just 15 minutes of human-spaceflight experience — the suborbital flight of Alan Shepard, which had occurred three weeks earlier, on May 5.
NASA - JFK - Vision - Years - Leap
Yet NASA pulled off JFK's bold vision in a mere eight years. And this giant leap took place just 12 years into the space age, which dawned when the Soviet Union launched the satellite Sputnik 1 on Oct. 4,...
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