International Moon Day
It was way back in the 5th century B.C. that Greek astronomer Anaxagoras correctly surmised that the moon was not a god, but a big rock with mountains on its surface. The sun, too, was a burning rock that “puts brightness into the moon”. These beliefs got him arrested and exiled, but he stuck by them. No doubt Anaxagoras would have been delighted when, 23 centuries later, three US astronauts landed on the big rock.
It was on 20th July 1969 that Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin touched down on the moon. It was, you’ll recall, “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”.
The Apollo 11 lunar mission, one of the most daring engineering feats ever pulled off, lasted exactly eight days,18 minutes and 35 seconds. That was 54 years ago, but it was only last year that the first International Moon Day was recognised.
You may wonder why the moon needs its own special day. Well, sadly our only natural satellite is not immune from destructive human activity. According to the United Nations, we need to ensure that moon exploration remains sustainable and peaceful. Indeed, the UN is so concerned about lunar safety that as early as 1967 the General Assembly adopted the “Magna Carta of Space”. The charter sets out principles governing the activities of states in the exploration and use of outer space.
Article three states that “the moon shall be used by all States Parties exclusively for peaceful purposes” and goes on to prohibit the use of the moon for threatening behaviour and mass destruction.
For more information, see here:
As long as we don’t destroy it – or our own Earth – we’ll continue to be fascinated by the moon, and all other celestial bodies. Countless films and dramas have been set on the moon or other non-Earth locations. Fancy rewatching Apollo 13, The Dish or Neil Armstrong – First Man on the Moon? Just log into BoB through LibrarySearch:
By Lesley McRobb
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Photo source Thula Na