July 20 is National Moon Day, and it’s one of the most historical days in human history. But what exactly do we celebrate on this day? Well, we’re celebrating the first time that humankind stepped foot on the Moon. An event that made history back on July 20, 1969, when astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to step foot on our lunar satellite.
Why we celebrate National Moon Day
It might seem a little silly to celebrate National Moon Day. After all, our push to explore space has expanded greatly since the first lunar landing in 1969. Despite the advances we’ve made, though, that fateful day in 1969 is still one for the history books.
Apollo 11 launched from Cape Kennedy on July 16, 1969. Four long days later, the spacecraft approached the Moon, and the lunar lander began its descent to the surface. Several minutes later, Neil Armstrong became the first person to step foot on the Moon, effectively ending the United States’ race to the moon.
Why it’s so significant
National Moon Day is significant for several reasons. Not only is it worth celebrating the accomplishment of putting humankind on the lunar surface, but it also helped spur decades of research into space exploration. The current missions involving the James Webb space telescope and all the missions to Mars have been pushed onward by that success.
Aside from pushing our exploration further, the first Moon landing also showed that mankind could reach the stars. It showed us that space isn’t a barrier to expanding our knowledge and understanding. It also showed us the potential for life beyond our world. A life that we may one day help build with lunar colonies and maybe even expeditions to other planets.
But most of all, National Moon Day is a time for us to sit back and reflect. A time to look back at the triumphs and tribulations we’ve experienced as a species. While war and other events may scar our planet, the stars continue to inspire and draw us towards them. And, after 50 years, NASA is finally planning to put humankind on the Moon again.
And, if reliving the event that birthed National Moon Day wasn’t enough, the space agency also wants to complete a manned mission to Mars sometime in the 2030s.