From the Monitor's archives: Man walks on moon (+video)
Friday marks the 43 anniversary of the Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin's historic landing on the surface of the moon. This is the front-page story that ran in the Christian Science Monitor on Jul 22, 1969.
Man walked on the moon and made it look easy.Skip to next paragraph
Now mankind must find something new to dream about.
There were two peaks- of drama as Astronauts Neil A. Armstrong and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. completed the first part of their great adventure, and command pilot Michael Collins, almost forgotten, circled about them.
[At this writing, the blast-off of the Apollo 11 astronauts from Tranquillity base and their docking maneuver were yet to come.]
The first was as the two astronauts separated their spidery spacecraft “Eagle” from the command ship “Columbia” and made their hazardous descent. Hundreds of millions on earth heard the interchange with Houston as they neared the Sea of Tranquility.
At the very last minute the computerized pilot aimed the fragile craft at a ridge of rocks on the projected landing site. Television viewers on earth qould only know: that the countdown was in its final seconds. Neil Armstrong grabbed the control and piloted the module beyond the original landing spot. Then, clear and firm came the call"
“Houston!” Astronaut Armstrong paused and took a breath. “Tranquillity base here. The Eagle has landed.”
Man would measure time by this first landing on the moon.
The second peak of drama was even more exciting. For hundreds of millions it was actually visible. It seemed almost as astounding to them as a quarter-of-a-million miles away they could see what was happening as it was actually happening.
By some freak of planning it had been scheduled that after making a successful landing on the moon the two astronauts would take a nap. The theory was that they would be better rested for the ordeal. But human nature follows man to the moon. Permission was asked and immediately given to make the first foray onto the moons surface at once.
'Knights gird themselves'
There followed an agonizing delay. They were getting dressed. The suits they donned were $300,000 suits. they made their wearers into miniature individual space modules carry self-contained atmosphere, pressure, oxygen, temperature, and shields form meteorites.
Half the world waited while they laboriously put on the cumbersome garments like knights girding themselves with a new style of flexible armor, doing it in space about the size of a telephone booth. Every man who had ever put on a dress suit and knew the hazards of a popped button sympathized with what was going on in the little cabin where the two men repeatedly checked and examined each other before stepping out into the unknown.
Later a reporter jested: “They made millions wait while they dressed to go out.” Seventeen minutes and 40 seconds past '4 p.m. Eastern daylight time Sunday, July 20, the Eagle lands.
6:30 — Astronauts ask permission to start their mission on the moon around nine — “everything go.” Mission control (Houston) radio concurrence.
Conversation follows in grating telephone tones:
“You guys are getting prime TV time here,” says Mission Control.
“I hope that little TV set works, but we’ll see,” says Astronaut Armstrong from the moon.
Minutes and hours pass. Radio and TV announcers fill time as best they may.
Families stayed glued to sets. Pictures of headlines of newspapers are thrown on the screen: "Men land on moon” says the sedate New York Times in the largest type it has ever used.
10:40 —The cabin is depressurized, the space suits are on, the hatch of the spacecraft is opened. “I’m on the porch,” says Neil Armstrong.
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