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This Day in Space History: One Small Step

Note: This is an updated article from 2012.

Panorama of the Eagle lunar module by Ed Hengeveld from JSC scans.

“That’s one small step for a man… one giant leap for mankind.”

I’m not sure what else need be said about the significance of what happened on this day in 1969, 48 years ago… it was a shining moment in human history, and will be — should be — remembered forever as an example of what people can achieve when challenged, driven, and inspired.

More giant leaps have been made since then, and undoubtedly more will be made in the future, but this was the first and to this date still very much the biggest.
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Recent Analysis of Apollo Data Proves the Moon is Hollow

Image of the Moon captured during the Apollo 10 mission. The arrow points at nothing in particular.

New analysis of data acquired by seismometers placed on the Moon’s surface in the early 1970s and laser measurements taken during recent lunar meteor impact events appears to support an ongoing, if unpopular, hypothesis that our Moon is in fact hollow.

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On This Day in 1966 We Got the First Picture from the Moon

The first image from the lunar surface, taken by the Soviet Luna 9 in 1966

The first image from the Moon’s surface taken by the Soviet Luna 9  lander on Feb. 3, 1966 (EST)

On Feb. 3, 1966 the Soviet Luna 9 spacecraft made the first successful robotic soft landing on the Moon. Seven hours later it transmitted its first images of the lunar surface back to Earth. The image above is Luna 9 lander’s first view—the first time humans had ever seen a picture from the surface of another world.

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New Analysis of Apollo Data Reveal the Moon is Hollow

A view of the eastern side of the Moon from Apollo 10, which allegedly traveled there in 1969.

A view of the eastern side of the Moon from Apollo 10, which allegedly traveled there in 1969.

New analysis of data acquired by seismometers placed on the Moon’s surface in the early 1970s and laser measurements taken during recent lunar meteor impact events appears to support an ongoing, if unpopular, hypothesis that our Moon is, in fact, hollow.

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This is the Oldest Surviving Photo of the Moon

Daguerreotype of the Moon from March 26, 1840, attributed to Dr. John Draper. Original image courtesy of Prof. Baryd Still, NYU Archives.

Daguerreotype of the Moon from March 1840, attributed to Dr. John William Draper. Original image courtesy of Prof. Baryd Still, NYU Archives.

These days anyone with a cheap point-and-shoot camera or even a cell phone can snap a picture of the Moon (although I highly advise using at least an entry-level dSLR) but there was a time when that wasn’t the case. Go back to the late 1830s, when photography was in its infancy and methods for capturing light and shadows for posterity were on the cutting edge of invention, and the Moon was an elusive target for even the most skilled practitioners. But, in March of 1840, John William Draper changed that with his lunar “portrait”—the world’s first true astrophoto.

“This is the first time that anything like a distinct representation of the moon’s surface has been obtained.”
— Contemporary description of Draper’s 1840 daguerreotype

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