Fifty years after Apollo 11 lifted off, NASA prepares new Moon mission
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On July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying its crew to the Moon and into history. Half a century later, NASA is preparing a new lunar mission under the Artemis programme.
They will mark the precise moment – 9:32am on July 16, 1969 – that their Saturn V rocket departed on humanity’s first moon landing. Mission commander Neil Armstrong, who famously took the first lunar footsteps, died in 2012.
This kicks off eight days of golden anniversary celebrations for each day of Apollo 11’s voyage.
Neither the US nor any other country has managed to return a human to the moon since 1972, the year of the final Apollo mission.
March to Mars
In 1989, then US president George H. Bush promised to do so, as did his son, George W. Bush, in 2004 while pledging to also march forward to Mars.
But they both ran up against a Congress that wasn’t inclined to fund the adventures, with public opinion markedly changed since the height of the Cold War.
Now, NASA has a new Moon programme called Artemis, after Apollo's twin sister, the aim being to go to the Moon again by 2024.
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