Space Exploration Day is observed annually on July 20 to commemorate the anniversary of the first crewed mission to the Moon. On July 20, 1969, American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed the Apollo Lunar Module Eagle on the Moon, as part of the Apollo 11 mission.
Armstrong was the first human to set foot on the Moon. Aldrin stepped on the Moon about 20 minutes after Armstrong.
Apollo 11, the fifth manned mission of NASA’s Apollo program, was launched from Florida on July 16, 1969. Apart from Armstrong and Aldrin, Michael Collins was a part of the Apollo 11 mission. However, Collins did not step on the Moon.
Space Exploration Day: History
In 1984, the then United States President Ronald Reagan proclaimed July 20 as a holiday.
In 2019, a joint resolution was passed in the House of Representatives to designate July 20 as “Space Exploration Day Holiday”.
July 20, 2019 marked the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. In order to celebrate this, July 20 was declared Space Exploration Day.
On May 25, 1961, the then United States President John Fitzgerald Kennedy declared before a joint session of Congress that “this nation should commit itself, to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth”. Apollo 11 was a part of the United States Space Program.
The Apollo 11 mission was a nine-day mission, and kept the world captivated from its launch on July 16 through the astronauts’ splashdown on July 24. Apollo 11 secured its place among the epic voyages of human history with those of Magellan, Drake, and Columbus, among others.
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Other milestones achieved as part of the United States Space Program include NASA’s Viking Project, Voyager Mission, Cassini-Huygens Mission, Mars missions including the launch of the rovers Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity, Curiosity, and Perseverance to the Red Planet, the commissioning of the Hubble Space Telescope, and building the International Space Station (ISS).
Every year, the period July 16 through July 24 is celebrated as the Apollo Space Observance. During this period, ceremonies are held and activities conducted to commemorate one of the greatest scientific and technological achievements ever.
Space Exploration Day: Significance
Space Exploration Day is also known as Moon Day. The day encourages the world to learn more about space exploration and aims to inspire the younger generation to choose space sciences and space exploration as careers.
How To Celebrate Space Exploration Day?
People can celebrate Space Exploration Day by visiting their local space and science museums, and spend the entire day there, learning about the universe, timeanddate.com suggests.
Those interested in space can join an astronomy club and participate in Space Exploration Day activities.
Young children can read books about space and space technology.
From Apollo 11 to Apollo 17, a total of 12 people have set foot on the Moon.