On July 20, look up at the sky and think back on all the advances humankind has made in exploring and understanding space because it is Space Exploration Day.
The annual holiday commemorates the anniversary of the first manned mission to the Moon. On July 20, 1969, Americans astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to step foot on the surface of the Moon.
In 1984, the day was proclaimed a holiday by United States President Ronald Reagan. The proclamation also designated June 16-24 U.S. Space Observation in honor of the 9 days that Apollo 11 was in space. The fifth manned mission of NASA’s Apollo program, Apollo 11 was launched from Florida on June 16. It returned to Earth with the 3 astronauts – Armstrong, Aldrin and Michael Collins on June 24.
The holiday, which is also sometimes called Moon Day, encourages people to learn more about space exploration. It attempts to inspire young adults to consider space sciences and space exploration as careers.
How to Celebrate?
- Visit your local space and science museums and spend the day there learning about Space and our astronomical neighbors.
- Join an astronomy club and participate in their Space Exploration Day activities.
- If you have young children in your life, get them interested in Space and related fields by reading them books about Space and space technology.
Did You Know…
…that 12 people, including Armstrong and Aldrin, have walked on the surface of the Moon?