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Giant leap into space exploration

How did the work of the first American expedition on the lunar surface begin? Immediately after the ship landed on the plain of the lunar Sea of ​​Tranquility, the Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong told the Mission Control Center via radio: “Houston, here is Tranquility Base. The eagle has landed ”(Eagle,“ Eagle ”, called the lunar ship,“ landed ”meant landing on the lunar firmament,“ earth ”, and the landing point was called the Base of Tranquility after the vast lunar plain – Sea of ​​Tranquility).

After that, the astronauts checked all the systems of the lunar module in case of an unexpected launch. Next, according to the plan, there was a dream lasting 4 hours. And here the astronauts in violation of the program asked permission to begin access to the moon immediately. It has been received. Barely touching the lunar surface with the left boot of his spacesuit, Neil Armstrong said: “This is a small step for man, but a giant leap for mankind.” The phrase, according to Armstrong himself, was “a well-prepared impromptu,” pre-selected from hundreds of proposals received before the flight.

Then Aldrin, who was in the lunar module, using a cord lowered a camera placed in a plastic bag, with which Armstrong immediately took a series of 9 pictures – a panorama of the area. Then Armstrong, according to the plan, immediately took the first sample of the lunar soil, “scooping up” its upper layer with a special Teflon bag on a long sliding handle and immediately placed it in a pocket on the trouser-leg of the suit, securely fastening it with Velcro. Such a sample was called an emergency one and should have been taken without departing from the lunar module in case some extraordinary circumstances compelled the astronauts to urgently hide inside the cabin and leave the Moon (all the other five Apollo subsequently took the same samples).

So the first 12 minutes passed. After another 7 minutes, Edwin Aldrin left the lunar module. Following this, Armstrong removed the cover that covered the commemorative metal plate with a map of the hemispheres of the Earth, attached to one of the four landing supports of the lunar module, and read (transmitting by radio to Houston) an inscription written in English: “Here are people from planet Earth first set foot on the moon. July 1969 from the Nativity of Christ. We have come in peace for the good of all mankind. ” Under the text were the signatures of three Apollo 11 astronauts and US President Richard Nixon. In memory of the dead space explorers, the medals and epaulettes of Yu. Gagarin, V. Komarov, V. Grissom, E. White and R. Chaffee were delivered to the Moon and then returned to Earth (the last three were burned during the tests of the Apollo spacecraft at the cosmodrome) .

Particles of lunar soil are tightly interlinked, so the traces on the moon are very clear and, according to calculations, should remain there for many thousands of years.

At 18 meters from the landing module, astronauts installed a television camera, which recorded all their activities. Finally, 42 minutes after Armstrong set foot on the moon, the US flag was set on its surface, 7 meters from the landing cockpit. So that the nylon cloth measuring 90×150 cm did not hang lifelessly in a moon vacuum, the metal flagpole was equipped with a crossbeam, to which the flag was attached. It took as long as 2.5 minutes to install it, since it turned out that the lunar soil was rather dense and sticking a metal pole into it was not so easy – it easily dug only 10 cm, and another 10 cm had to be hammered.

The well-known image of the “first man on the moon” actually shows the “second” – Edwin Aldrin. But in the dark light filter of the helmet of his spacesuit, the reflection of the “photographer” – Neil Armstrong is clearly visible. The fact is that there was only one camera attached to Armstrong’s spacesuit, so there is no photograph of the first person on the moon. However, there are many television frames with his image, although they are less clear than photographs.

Astronauts took many close-up shots of the lunar surface, photographing each stone before taking it as a sample. Taking a short walk within 30 meters of the landing point, astronauts collected 22 kg of samples of moonstones and soil in Teflon bags. It was not difficult for them to carry such a load, since the gravity on the moon was 6 times less than the earth and the samples weighed a little over 3.5 kg there. A panel of aluminum foil was placed on the lunar surface for trapping particles of the solar wind (then taken to the Earth), a laser reflector for measuring the distance from the Earth to the Moon with high accuracy, and a seismometer for recording moonquakes. Having completed the program of work on the moon, the astronauts returned to the ship and launched into a lunar orbit, leaving the landing stage on the moon. After docking with the main ship awaiting them in orbit, they set off on a three-day return trip home to Earth.

A compartment with astronauts splashed down in the Pacific Ocean southwest of the Hawaiian Islands, near Johnston Atoll.

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