Lunar Landing Anniversary – July 17, 2019
The 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing is approaching. On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to step foot on another planetary body. Indeed, it was “one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.” They collected 22 kilograms of lunar rocks and soils for study back on Earth. The samples contained no water and provided no evidence for living organisms at any time in the Moon’s history. Two main types of rocks, basalts and breccias, were found at the Apollo 11 landing site. Basalts are rocks solidified from molten lava while breccias are rocks composed of fragments of older rocks.
Fun fact? The Apollo landers were designed to lift off from the lunar surface at a particular weight. Since the Apollo astronauts were tasked with bringing large amounts of (heavy) samples back, the weight was offset by leaving behind unwanted items. This discarded junk included, among other things, bags of human waste. When we return to the Moon, it will be interesting to retrieve these bags and see if any microorganisms survived!