Goals in Sight
25 May 2011
The Moon, our nightlight, can be viewed most nights -- and some days -- no wonder it has been a focus of exploration for over 50 years. In fact, it has been 50 years since President John F. Kennedy gave his "Decision to go to the Moon Speech" as part of his address to congress titled: "Special Message to the Congress on Urgent National Needs." This speech announced the national goal of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth within the decade.
And go we did. Before we could send a man to the lunar surface various preparatory missions came first, such as the Ranger, Surveyor, Lunar Orbiter, Gemini and early Apollo missions. (Surveyor 1 was the first American soft landing on the Moon 45 years ago this year.) It wasn't until near the end of that decade did a man (Neil Armstrong, 20 July 1969) set foot on our nearest neighbor, and oh what a step.
"That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."
Since then a total of 12 men have walked on the Moon, and missions to the Moon, such as the current Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, expand our knowledge of our satellite. Soon GRAIL will take to the skies, and once arriving at the Moon it will measure the Moon's gravity field with twin spacecraft flying in tandem.
In celebration of our country's early Moon achievements we have compiled the images below -- take a look. (8 Images total)