Apollo missions had a significant impact on the field of astronomy. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was the third American human spaceflight to carry out the Apollo program. Apollo was so determined to achieve the US mission of landing a human being on the moon space and bringing him unharmed to the surface of the earth in the 1960s (Aldrin & David, 2015). Notably, the missions to the moon had an impact on both the astronomers, Americans, and humans around the world. Thus, this project tends to describe the Apollo missions to the moon, achievements, what people gained, and whether we should have gone. It is important to understand the relevance of Apollos missions’ discovery to humans. Understanding the significance of the Apollo missions is the main purpose of this project.
Apollo missions to the moon and their achievements
The Apollo missions to the moon happened about 60 years go and still represent the most ambitious crewed journeys ever undertaken into space. The Apollo was established mainly to take humans to the Moon surface and return them safely. There were about several Apollo missions. However, the Apollo missions that attained the goal were 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, as well as 17, accomplished the goal while others failed to achieve the goal (Aldrin & David, 2015). To begin with, Apollo 1 was a preflight test for a mission where a fire killed the three astronauts. Apollo 1 was the first test of command and service with astronauts. The astronauts orbited the Earth 163 times and stayed in the space for more than a week.
Apollo 8 was the first mission to take man close to the moon and back safely. It took humans around the moon as a pretest to actual landing on the moon. Besides, it was the first mission with astronauts to set out Saturn V, new Moonport, as well as the first TV coverage of the moon. Besides, Apollo 9 was the first mission involving lunar hardware orbiting the Earth orbit steered by astronauts. The mission also tested the reactions of humans to space together with their weightlessness. The primary objective of the mission was to show crew, space vehicle, and performance of mission support facilities. Apollo 10 was a complete version of Apollo 11. It was second to go around the Moon as well as the first one to move to the Moon with a complete configuration module. During the mission, many still photographs were acquired and released various motion pictures.
Apollo 11 mission was launched in 1969. It opened the gate for successful missions of landing humans to the moon and bringing them back safely. Armstrong and Buzz were the first humans to land to the moon. After Apollo 11, Apollo 12 was the next successful crew driven mission to get to the surface of the moon. The astronauts landed closer to the surveyor 111 devices that landed in 1967 (Gisler & Sornette, 2009). The crew carried with them instruments from the spacecraft to analyze the impacts of long-term exposure of the materials on the moon.
Immediately after Apollo 12, Apollo 13 was to be the next to land on the surface of the moon. However, it was aborted after experiencing an explosion. The astronauts were forced to go round the moon and come back. Apollo 14 completed the plan of Apollo 13 that was aborted. It landed were Apollo 13 was supposed to land. During the mission, astronauts collected samples for test and took some pictures. Apollo 15 followed suit when it landed humans on the surface of the moon. It was the first mission to have used the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV). The vehicle used increased the venture to several kilometers.
Apollo 16 landed on a highland. It was among the missions that succeeded in taking a human being to the surface of the moon and brought them back. Besides, after Apollo 15, it was the next to use the LRV. It landed on a highland, an area not explored previously by other missions. The crew collected various samples, took pictures, and performed some experiments, including the use of a UV camera (Gisler & Sornette, 2009). Apollo 17 was the last mission with astronauts to land humans on the surface of the moon. Harrison traversed the greatest kilometers using the Lunar Roving Vehicle. He managed to collect a large amount of rock as well as soil samples during the mission.
What we gained from the Apollo missions
Most of the technology common in our daily life came from the drive to put a human on the moon known as the Apollo missions. First, the missions marked the greatest advancement in the developments of rockets (Weinzierl, 2018). For example, Saturn V still stands as the most powerful rocket ever made. However, various rockets have been developed and used in the current society to get off the Earth’s surface and bring back information from other worlds. Other than rockets, Apollo’s mission led to the development of satellites. The knowledge used in building the current satellites came from the quest to land a human on the moon using a vehicle powerful enough to launch payloads. Therefore, the Apollo missions gave birth to technologies that we all use today.
The images and photographs from Apollo missions changed our view and perceptions of the Earth. A single shot of the entire Earth branded “Blue marble” by Harrison, as the spacecraft moved away from the Earth, was captivating (Riley, 2012). Environmental activists are using the image to drive the movement of protecting the Earth. The image has been used for many years now to influence people’s minds, behavior, and political policies. With the influence of this image, we changed our attitudes and decided to create measures of protecting our planet.
Figure 1: Blue marble image of Earth taken from Apollo 17 (Riley, 2012)
In conclusion, the Apollo missions had a lot of impact on humans. The primary goal of the Apollo missions was to land humans safely to the moon as well as bring them back. The Apollo missions that attained this goal were 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17. However, among the missions, Apollos 7 and 9 went around the Earth to test the spacecraft but did not bring back the lunar information. The Apollo missions have contributed a lot to people. We should have gone with the astronauts to the moon to have the first experience. However, the information like the images of the Earth taken from the space transformed our view of the Earth, resulting in the development of initiatives to protect it.
Aldrin, B., & David, L. (2015). Mission to Mars: My vision for space exploration. National Geographic Books.
Gisler, M., & Sornette, D. (2009). Exuberant innovations: the Apollo program. Society, 46(1), 55-68.
Riley, C. (2012). Apollo 40 years on how the moon missions changed the world forever. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2012/dec/16/apollo-legacy-moon-space-riley
Weinzierl, M. (2018). Space, the final economic frontier. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 32(2), 173-92.