In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the first moonwalk, we wanted to take advantage of this special date to revisit the intricacies, the curious details, and the most revealing facts about this authentic demonstration of scientific prowess.
To better understand mankind’s landing on the moon, it is important to appreciate the historical context in which it occurred because, although we normally consider it to have been an isolated occurrence, it could not have happened without the circumstances that surrounded it.
1969 was a turbulent year in politics, a year that significantly impacted American society. In January, Richard Nixon became president of a country that was in the throes of the Vietnam war, a conflict that had escalated under President Johnson’s administration. American society was becoming increasingly convinced that the loss of hundreds of thousands of American soldiers was too high a cost; protests and civil demonstrations were on the rise.
This in turn led to the growth of a counterculture and the birth of the hippie movement, which rejected American conservative ideals and freed young people from the norms of previous generations. The same year saw the celebration of the Woodstock Festival, the pinnacle of the hippie movement which even today continues to be one of the most influential events in the history of music.
The struggle for civil rights for African Americans waged on, spurred on by the protests from the previous year, the year Martin Luther King was assassinated. The civil rights movement was particularly critical of the space program: while racial segregation cost dozens of lives, the government spent €30 billion to put a man on the moon.
Now, with this information on the context of the space race, take a shot at testing your knowledge.
If you want to learn more, you can find further information on our web page about the fascinating history of Margaret Hamilton, animals in space, the chronology of the conquest of space and the major players.