In the past 50 years, human beings stepped on the moon for the first time. Some 650 million individuals around the globe watched the historic landing on July 20, 1969, and heard astronaut Neil Armstrong say “… one small step for a person, one large leap for mankind.” Fittingly, a Google Doodle is celebrating the anniversary this weekend. Even cooler: An image of the Saturn V rocket that propelled the astronauts to the moon is being projected onto the Monument throughout the nighttime, culminating in a video projection on Friday and on Saturday.
All of the fuss is properly deserved: The legacy of that mission — and all of the Apollo missions — is immense.
For one, it was an enormous engineering accomplishment to get people to the moon and back. “It took around 400,000 individuals to land humankind on the moon,” astronaut Michael Collins, Apollo 11’s command module pilot who didn’t land on the surface of the moon, reminds us in Google’s commemorative Doodle video. These had been engineers, coders, scientists, mechanics, doctors, and so many more professions working in concert to make the mission successful.
The astronauts have been launched aboard the biggest rocket ever constructed; the Saturn V. Once launched into space, they then needed to reassemble the spacecraft mid-flight to the moon essentially. Then, that spacecraft needed to enter orbit across the moon.