20th July 1969, The Lunar Module of the Apollo 11 mission landed on the moon.
Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were in it.
After the landing, Neil Armstrong tried to open the door, to get down on the moon.
It wasn’t easy opening this door, due to high pressure, but he successfully opened it after a little struggle.
Then he tried to get down to the moon in his heavy spacesuit.
The exit wasn’t spacious by mistake, he hit the top, and a piece of the Lunar Module broke off.
Neither of them was aware of this because of the lack of air.
The sound didn’t travel.
They didn’t hear any sound.
But this broken piece was very crucial.
It was the Assent Engine Arming Switch.
Without this switch, their Lunar Module couldn’t take off again, and they couldn’t return to Earth.
Unaware of this, Neil Armstrong got out and stepped on the moon’s surface.
He became the first man to step on the moon.
“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
But did it actually happen?
Today, more than 50 years later, many people refuse to believe that humans had gone to the moon.
People cook up theories of their own to claim that the entire Apollo 11 mission was a farce put up by America.
That they filmed the scenes on Earth and lied to the world.
How else do you explain the flag fluttering without air?
What’s the truth to it?
Come let’s try to understand this story in today’s article.
The Apollo 11 Moon Landing Mystery | Neil Armstrong
All engines running.”
“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”
Tranquillity Base here, The Eagle has landed!
One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Friends, you’d be surprised to know, the real reason why Apollo 11 mission was planned was a war.
Specifically speaking, the Cold War.
Fought between America and the Soviet Union.
Both countries were engaged in a Space Race.
In 1957, the Soviet Union became the first country to launch the first artificial satellite.
It was named Sputnik, and it was the first manmade object to be placed in Earth’s orbit.
The American government was shocked to see the Soviets getting ahead.
Months later, in 1958, America launched their satellite as well.
But 3 years later, in 1961, America got another shock.
Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was the first person to go to space.
The Soviets beat America once again.
One week later, the then President of America, John F. Kennedy, wrote a letter to the Vice President dated 20th April 1961.
He asked the Vice President how they could beat the Soviet Union.
“…by putting a laboratory in space, or by a trip around the moon,…”
“Are we working 24 hours a day on existing programs?
If not, why not?”
“Are we making the maximum effort?”
Asking if there was another space program that could be achieved quickly that would produce dramatic results and give them a lead in the race.
He got the answer some days later because he soon realised that the next big step would be to send humans to the moon.
On 25th May 1961, in his famous speech, he promised the world that he would send humans to the moon before the end of the decade.
Not only this, but he also promised to get the humans back on Earth safely.
“Before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon, and returning him safely to the Earth.”
For many, this was an unbelievable announcement.
Friends, imagine 1961, There were no smartphones, no internet, and there wasn’t even GPS technology.
The computers were so slow and old, in such times, he was promising to send humans to the moon.
For this, over the next 5 years, he provided $7-$9 billion, in additional funding to the space program.
The entire space agency was engaged in fulfilling this one aim.
Mere months later, the tests began.
First, they tested the rockets that would be used to leave the Earth.
Then the heat shields of the command modules were tested.
How much they’d be able to resist heat?
Then the propulsion system of the service module.
Between 1963 to 1967, many unmanned tests were carried out.
The rockets didn’t carry any humans during the tests.
In February 1967, they planned the first manned tests.
A test in which astronauts will go up to space in rockets. This was the Apollo 1 mission.
But during the tests on Earth, on 27th January 1967, the cabin caught on fire, and the three astronauts preparing to go to space died in the fire.
After this painful event, NASA didn’t lose courage.
Instead, it continued further testing.
Apollo 4, Apollo 5, and Apollo 6 were all unmanned missions.
for further testing.
In October 1968, Apollo 7 mission was launched and once again they attempted to send humans to space.
This was successful.
Only 2 months later, in December 1968, Apollo 8 mission was launched in which three astronauts were sent near the moon.
Three months later, in March 1969, Apollo 9 mission was launched.
In this, the lunar module was tested.
The part of the spacecraft that was going to land on the moon.
And 2 months after that, in May 1969, was the Apollo 10 mission.
In this mission, 3 astronauts had to do almost everything for practice that was supposed to be done in Apollo 11 mission, except actually landing on the moon.
Look at the speed with which NASA was launching the missions one after the other.
In the gap of 2 to 3 months, a new mission to test the next thing.
Testing the rockets, and spacecraft, going to the moon, and after all these tests, finally, on 16th July 1969, Apollo 11 mission was launched.
All engines running.
Liftoff, we have a liftoff.
32 minutes past the hour.
Liftoff of Apollo 11.”
Three astronauts were a part of this mission.
38-year-old commander Neil Armstrong led this mission.
The pilot of the Command Module, Michael Collins, And the pilot of the Lunar Module, Edwin Buzz Aldrin.
These three names are inscribed in the pages of history.
Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become famous names everyone knows today.
The spacecraft of this Apollo 11 mission, had three main parts.
The Command Module, Service Module, and the Lunar Module.
The first two are collectively known as CSM.
Command and Service Module.
They aimed to detach the Lunar Module and have it land on the moon.
And to return, the Lunar Module would have to be relaunched and attached to the CSM, to enable the astronauts to return to Earth.
To launch this spacecraft, a Saturn V-5 rocket was to be used.
Before the launch, the rocket was loaded with1 million gallons of Kerosene, Liquid Oxygen, and Liquid Hydrogen.
The weight of this rocket was 3 million kg.
With its help, the spacecraft reached Earth’s orbit.
It took less than 10 minutes to reach the orbit.
Then they made about 1.5 revolutions around the Earth, after which they were permitted the mission control, the mission control was of course based on Earth, and they communicated their approval to begin Trans-Lunar Injection.
i.e., taking the spacecraft out of Earth’s orbit and towards Moon’s orbit.
To leave Earth’s orbit, the Saturn V-5 rocket was used.
This was the third stage of the rocket.
These events took place within 5 hours of the launch.
But to reach the moon, took several days.
Astronauts waited in the spacecraft ate, slept, and took pictures of themselves and their surroundings, on 19th July 1969, After travelling for almost 400,000 km, The Apollo 11 spacecraft reached the moon’s orbit.
Here, it was supposed to be split into 2.
The Command and Service Module is separated from the Lunar Module.
Michael Collins was in the Command Module, This part of the spacecraft was nicknamed Columbia.
And the Lunar Module was nicknamed the Eagle.
Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were in it. The thing is that the command and service module was tasked to remain in the moon’s orbit.
Only the lunar module was going to land on the moon.
It meant that only Armstrong and Aldrin had the chance to step on the moon, not Michael Collins.
Perhaps, this is the reason why not many people know Michael Collins.
Even though he was a part of the Apollo mission, he did not step on the moon.
But even so, Michael Collins’ part in this mission was perhaps the most important.
Because the Lunar Module was supposed to be reattached to the CSM.
Without Michael Collins, Armstrong and Aldrin could not have returned safely.
Around 8 PM, the Lunar Module was going to land on the moon.
Exactly at 8:10 PM, alarms went off.
1201 and 1202 alarms.
-Roger, 1201 alarm.”
Neither Armstrong nor Aldrin knew the meaning of this alarm.
They asked the mission control what they ought to do next.
Mission control tells them to ignore it and keep going.
“We’re GO, the Same type, We’re GO.”
Later, they figured out that 1202 was a warning.
The processing system of the guidance computer of the Apollo was overloaded.
But thankfully, the computer was designed in a way that the essential programs which were critical for the mission, would continue despite being overloaded.
The Apollo 11 Moon Landing Mystery | Neil Armstrong
The computer was installed with the program for automatic landing.
This would automatically land the Lunar Module on Moon’s surface.
But at the height of 150 metres, Neil Armstrong took over control.
He noticed that the Lunar Module was going to land at a place where boulders were strewn about.
The landing spot was changed then.
And they decided on another spot 4 miles from the predetermined landing spot, for the actual landing.
At 8:16 PM, Buzz Aldrin checked the fuel indicator.
Only 5% fuel remained.
“100 feet, 3-1/2 down, 9 forward,5 per cent…
Seeing the low level of fuel, the mission control initiated a countdown.
The countdown to decide whether they should land or abort the mission.
“Now we’re at a critical fuel state.
And that’s why the 60-second call is given.
And then the 30-second call.”
Finally, literally at the last minute, with only 30 seconds remaining in this countdown, Neil Armstrong sent a radio message to Earth.
The Eagle had successfully landed.
Then Neil Armstrong put on his spacesuit, opened the door, and stepped on the moon.
This moment was watched by 650 million people on television.
His first words were televised to the world buzz Aldrin followed him on the moon’s surface, and for the next 2.5 hours, they collected samples of the moon’s dust and rocks, took photographs, and set up several scientific instruments as well.
Although the Cold War was indeed a big reason for this moon landing because the moon landing was already planned, it was such a huge achievement so obviously, they were carrying scientific instruments with them.
There were several scientific objectives of this mission as well.
They set up a television camera on the moon, to transmit signals to the Earth.
They took a device with them to measure the solar winds reaching the moon.
They installed a device to send laser beams to the Earth So that the laser beams could be used to compute the exact distance between Earth and Moon.
They also had a passive seismometer.
To measure the earthquakes on the moon.
Of course, they’re called Moonquakes.
They collected 23 kg of rock and dust from the moon.
And they left behind an American flag.
And a plate with the inscription”Here, Men from the Planet Earth, First set foot upon the Moon.
July 1969 A.D.
We came in Peace for all Mankind.”
The Lunar Module had to remain on the moon for 21 hours.
After this, it had to take off once again, and attach to the CSM.
But to go up, they needed propulsion.
And for that, they needed an engine.
Both Armstrong and Aldrin were unaware that the switch to turn on the engine, had broken off while they were getting out.
I told you this at the beginning of the article.
When they came back to the Lunar Module, they realised what had happened.
They informed the mission control about this damage, and look for a solution to resolve the situation.
They come up with an interesting solution to the problem.
Now, what exactly is a switch?
The switch works to complete an electrical circuit.
Buzz Aldrin realised that if the circuit is broken, They looked for something that could be used to complete the circuit once again.
When he looked around, he noticed his ballpoint pen.
He used that ballpoint pen to complete the circuit and to reignite the engine.
Finally, the Lunar Module was reattached to the CSM, and the three astronauts turned the spacecraft towards Earth.
The plan for landing on Earth was thatThe Command Module and the Service Module would be separated, The service module would then be destroyed due to Earth’s atmosphere, But there was a danger that if the service module was damaged severely, with its debris floating all around, they may hit the command module, killing the astronauts on board.
To avoid this, NASA installed thrusters in the Service Module.
To take it far from the Command Module, So that they do not collide with each other.
But when the astronauts were returning to Earth, they found out that the thrusters on the Service Module weren’t working.
The three astronauts could only sit in the Command Module and watch the service module break apart around them.
Its debris was floating all around them.
It was a miracle that the broken pieces did not hit the command module.
And the command module remains safe.
The risk of the astronauts dying on this mission was so high that US President Nixon had prepared an alternate speech, in case the astronauts were indeed killed.
The Apollo 11 Moon Landing Mystery | Neil Armstrong
Can you imagine an alternate speech?
In it, he had written, “Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon, to explore in peace, will stay on the moon to rest in peace. These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin know that there is no hope for their recovery.
These two men are laying down their lives for mankind’s most noble goal.
The search for truth and understanding.”
But thankfully, this wasn’t needed.
The Command Module safely descended the Earth’s atmosphere.
The parachutes were deployed, and they landed in the ocean.
All three astronauts were alive and safe.
These astronauts were then evacuated by rescue ships from the ocean.
It was truly a miracle that they could return alive.
It wasn’t that the mission had gone exactly as it was planned, They had to face problems at almost every step.
They successfully dealt with the problems, and they could return alive.
It is interesting to note that after returning, the three astronauts were quarantined for 2 weeks.
They weren’t allowed to be in contact with other humans.
Because of the risk of them carrying pathogens.
Viruses or bacteria that they might have encountered on the moon, could wreak havoc on Earth.
No one knew for sure.
But again, thankfully, nothing of the sort happened.
Apollo 11’s moon landing was the top news in newspapers worldwide.
US President Kennedy’s promise of having humans land on the moon before the end of the decade was made possible by NASA.
“In 1969, the public had little reason to question mankind’s historic first step on the moon.
After all, the achievement was a celebration of technological supremacy.
America had finally won the Space Race.”
Isn’t it very suspicious
that the decade that was about to end in 1970, a year before that, in 1969, America had reached the moon?
It can’t be that to have an advantage in the Cold War, America planned a fake moon landing operation, can it?
Their actual moon landing mission failed, and they planned this fake mission as backup, for the world to see.
Friends, this is just one example of the many conspiracy theories that are based on the moon landing.
But friends, the truth is that these conspiracy theories have already been debunked several times.
If this was a fake attempt by America to fool the world, the Soviets would never have acknowledged it.
But in the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, published between 1970-1979, in its Third Edition,
this moon landing was said to be factual multiple times.
Soviet articles have even written that the Apollo landing was the third historic event of the space age.
First was Sputnik’s launch in 1957, Second, was Yuri Gagarin’s flight in 1961, And the third was the moon landing.
The Soviet Union had acknowledged this.
But then, what about the flag?
The flag which was planted on the moon, why was it fluttering?
There is no air on the moon.
There is a simple reason for that, friends.
The flag that Armstrong and Aldrin had taken to the moon, was specially designed.
Normal flags have one long vertical rod.
But there was a horizontal rod in this too.
Right at the top of the flag, So that the flag would always be extended out.
Because everyone working at NASA knew that if a flag is planted on the moon, it wouldn’t flutter due to the lack of wind, So they decided to add a horizontal rod at the top so that the flag could always be properly visible.
But on this Apollo 11 mission, there were some problems extending this horizontal rod, So this couldn’t be extended till the end.
Which caused the ripple that we see.
There were ‘waves’ in the flag.
That’s why people think that the flag is fluttering.
But actually, the flag isn’t fluttering,
You can see the flag ‘fluttering’ only in the videos where the astronauts are holding it and making it move.
The reason for this is that the aluminium rods in the flag were acting as springs.
So the flag would move for a little while and then remain still.
The third most popular theory is that in the photos taken by Armstrong and Aldrin, stars aren’t visible.
The answer to this is very simple.
The moon landing took place in the day.
At a time when the sunlight was hitting the moon.
And the white spacesuits that were worn by the astronauts, were very reflective too.
The cameras back then didn’t have a such resolution to see beyond reflections.
The Apollo 11 Moon Landing Mystery | Neil Armstrong
Even today, take any phone’s camera and try to take a pic at night, if the flash is turned on, you won’t see the stars in the background.
Another theory is about the shadows, about the inconsistency in the angles of the shadows.
People argue that since this was like a Hollywood film, They didn’t have just a single source of light.
That’s why the shadows are going all over the place.
But in reality, the Sun was not the only source of light.
The moon’s surface was also acting as a complementary source of light because it was reflecting so much light.
This is why the light scattered in all directions, and the shadows were so bizarre.
Another question is raised about Buzz Aldrin’s photo taken by Neil Armstrong, It shows Armstrong’s reflection
but you can see a camera in his hand.
How could this happen?
It’s because he wasn’t holding the camera in his hand, instead, the camera was mounted on his suit.
And he could control it from there.
But then who took the photos of Neil Armstrong descending from the Lunar Module?
Again, simple answer multiple cameras were installed on the Lunar Module.
But moving beyond these mindless theories, if we talk about actual criticism, Friends, not everyone applauded the moon landing, or commended NASA’s work,
many people strongly criticised NASA
and the American government after the moon landing.
People were already criticising it before the moon landed.
In January 1962, the New York Times published an article in which they revealed that the money being spent to go on the moon,
could have been used to build at least 120 Harvard-sized universities.
They questioned whether so much money should be spent to go to the moon, or should they open a Harvard-sized university in every US state.
Weren’t there better ways to spend that money?
The main point of criticism was that there were so many problems in the country, including education, and income inequality, back then America was also facing the consequences of the Vietnam War.
So why was so much money wasted on this?
But in reality, there were many hidden benefits of the moon landing, that no one had even thought about.
Such as the advancements in computer chips.
In 1962, it had been 3 years since microchips were invented.
And IBM had decided that in the early 1960s, they wouldn’t use these chips in their computers.
“It has the packaged integrated circuit.
Inside this package, is a chip of silicon, which provides the electrical equivalent of many transistors, resistors, and diodes, all interconnected to provide the desired function.”
But since NASA put in so many orders to buy integrated circuitsIBM started working on it, and because of the heavy demand, its price fell by more than 90% over the next 5 years.
And so NASA tested whether we can rely on computers for the safety of human lives.
If astronauts could go to the moon and back, by relying on these computer chips, we can rely on these computer chips for our daily lives.
The technology grew exponentially after this moon landing.
Even so, only 3 years after the Apollo 11 mission, in December 1972, the last moon mission, Apollo 17 took place.
Since then friends, It has been almost 50 years, and no other person went to the moon during these 50 years.
Perhaps this is the biggest proof of how expensive the Apollo program was.
More than 400,000 engineers, scientists, and technicians had worked on it.
and the total cost back then was $24 billion.
In today’s money, the cost is more than $100 billion.
Initially, it was criticised by journalists only.
But by 1972,
the average person’s fascination with NASA and the moon had ended.
As the Vietnam War continued, the problems of the citizens were on the rise, “Thousands of demonstrators opposed to the Vietnam Warassemble in the nation’s capital for a mass protest.”
They saw the space program as a waste of money.
Even though NASA had plans for missions up to Apollo 20, politicians had to heed the citizens, and the money being spent on space programs, had to be cut down.
In December 2017, former President Donald Trump said that he would increase the funding so that humans could be sent back to the moon by 2024.
“…returning American astronauts to the moon, for the first time since 1972, for long-term exploration and use this time.”
But later he changed his statement and said that NASA should focus on Mars rather than on the moon.
But 50 years later, now NASA has made plans again, to send people to the moon.
Their new Artemis program.
They would begin testing with unmanned rockets,
but NASA plans that by 2025-2026, they would send the first woman to the moon.
After which, they plan to send the first person of colour to the moon as well.
One thing can be said for sure, Before the end of this decade, we will see humans back on the moon.