Everyone knows the fantastic story of the first moon landing. For the first time, a man set foot on the moon and the legendary astronaut Neil Armstrong uttered the words: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” However, there are many things that are less well-known but still very interesting …
The flag was not easy to get into the ground
The two legendary astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin discovered during their first moonwalk that the moon consists of a small layer of dust that hides a layer of rock. To put a flag in it is therefore quite difficult and they had a hard time to keep the flag up during the broadcast to Earth.
The astronauts spent 21 days in quarantine
After their return to Earth, the astronauts had to spend 21 days in a mobile quarantine unit that was build-out of a modified caravan. The caravan was put on an aircraft carrier that picked up the three astronauts. The measure was taken because NASA was afraid that the pioneers brought diseases back from the moon. The caravan did have a communication system through which the astronauts could talk to the future president Nixon.
The Lunar capsule had to be landed manually by Neil Armstrong
When the landing had started, the astronaut saw that the landing site the computer had in mind was full of boulders and rocks. Because of this, it was not possible to land here and the capsule had to be grounded manually. Buzz Aldrin called out instructions to Armstrong, who then had the task of putting down the capsule safely. When they arrived at a height of 32 meters, they had critically low fuel levels and knew they had to start landing as soon as possible. With only 90 seconds of fuel left and in the middle of a huge dust cloud, the astronaut managed to safely place the capsule called ‘Eagle’ on the ground and the landing was a huge success!
Armstrong couldn’t afford life insurance astronauts
Despite their performance, astronauts are still part of the “General Scale” payment scale of the US government. This meant that the legendary pioneers only earned $ 17,000 a year. The life insurance policy that astronauts could take costs around $ 50,000 and there was no way for Armstrong to pay it. In the month before their departure, however, the astronauts came up with a genius idea and wrote hundreds of signatures, which were then sold to their fans. In this way, enough money was raised to take out the life insurance policy. To this day, this method is used to pay for the life insurance of astronauts.
President Nixon had prepared an alternative speech
To be fully prepared for each possible end of the project, the president also prepared a speech in case the mission had not succeeded. Everyone was aware that this was a very risky mission and that things could have gone wrong. The astronauts themselves were also aware of this and knew what they were doing when they stepped into the spaceship. Despite the speech never being executed, it was archived and was written for the situation that the astronauts never got off the moon again.