On Tuesday, humanity achieved a feat like no other 52 years ago. Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin became the first humans to step on the moon. The Apollo 11 mission marked the beginning of an intense space race between the United States and Soviet Russia, which has consolidated American dominance in space ever since.
The astronauts on board, including pilot of the Michael Collins command module, were hailed as American heroes and represented the vision that President John F Kennedy had previously set out during the 1961 decade.
On July 16, 1969, they embarked on an eight-day mission from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The crew maintained an open line of communication with control of NASA’s mission in Texas, relaying its whereabouts and state.
All conversations were recorded, stored, and digitized by NASA for later analysis, with excerpts from the Apollo 11 tapes offering a wealth of wonders and fears.
A disk listens to Aldrin describe what he can see from the space probe of the command module.
The Earth appeared, which shrank rapidly, a few millimeters away from each other in Aldrin’s eyes.
Looking toward Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, a “shadow” hovering near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border caught his eye.
He reported: “Houston, Apollo 11. We have the continent of Africa looking at us right now and of course everything gets smaller as time goes on.
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“There is a pretty noticeable cloud appearing in the vicinity of the Afghanistan – Pakistan border.
“It simply came to our notice then. It casts a pretty big shadow. It is isolated.
“There seems to be no other cloud. The band of clouds near the tropical converging clouds around the equator clearly separates the cloud formations clockwise and those of the clock hands.
Aldrin claimed that the shadow of the usual cloud was about the size of the Persian Gulf.
Bruce McCandless, an astronaut who was communicating with Apollo 11, responded, “Okay. We copy the width of the Persian Gulf and I guess all I can give first hand is a single isolated data point, and it was clear here in Houston this morning.
“This is a fairly localized observation.”
Aldrin concluded that the cloud was a “single cell” storm that occurred up to 50,000 feet in the sky.
He said: “The eastern Mediterranean is phenomenally clear. You can see all the lakes; the Dead Sea stood out quite well. Finished “.
Shortly after the exchange, the mission reached the Moon, where the three astronauts prepared for the lunar descent.
Armstrong and Aldrin landed on July 20, but it would take six hours of preparations until they left their lunar module Eagle on July 21.
They spent more than 21 hours on the surface of the Moon.
Upon returning, the three pioneers received the Presidential Medal for Freedom from President Richard Nixon.