Apollo 11 space science

Moon studies

Scientific experiments in space
Apollo 11 set up three experiments to learn about the Moon

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The goal of NASA’s successful Apollo 11 mission in July 1969 was not simply to get humans physically on the Moon

When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans ever to step foot there, they didn’t just have a quick look around!

They were on a mission to discover more about Earth’s only natural satellite

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A large amount of the information we know about the Moon was gathered during the Apollo Moon landings between 1969 and 1972

The Moon is made of rocky material that has been melted, erupted through volcanoes, and crushed by meteorite impacts

The rocks on the Moon’s surface are between 3.2 and 4.51 billion years old — much older than the rocks on Earth

Along with bringing back 21.7 kg of lunar rock and soil, the Apollo 11 astronauts set up three experiments

Solar Wind

An aluminum foil panel that collected atomic particles released into space by the Sun

Passive Seismic

A seismometer placed on the Moon to detect moonquakes

Laser Ranging
Retroreflector (LRR)

A set of mirrors used to reflect lasers shot from Earth

The development of the LRR experiment was led by Hal Walker, a scientist who specialized in laser telemetry

Walker’s experiment was used for over 35 years to track the orbit of the Moon. The LRR experiment revealed the Moon is spiraling away from Earth at a rate of 3.8 cm (1.5 inches) per year, it has a liquid core, and its gravity is stable.

Overall, the Apollo experiments completely changed the way scientists think about the satellite, though some mysteries remain unsolved