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Timescope - Questions from Our Cultural History

Question: Who was the first man to stand on the moon?

Answer: Neil A. Armstrong

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In 1961 President John Kennedy challenged America to overcome the Russian lead in space by landing on the moon within the decade.

The Mercury, Gemini, and Appolo spacecraft were smaller than today's compact cars, sat atop experimental rockets bigger than those that launch the Space Shuttles, and were guided by computers less powerful than today's cell phones.

Some failed. Men died, including astronauts Gus Grissom, Edward White, and Roger Chafee.

On 20 July, 1969 Neil Armstrong, b. 1930, and Buzz Aldrin announced their landing on the moon with the words "The Eagle has landed." Armstrong was the first human to step onto the moon. Moon rocks can be seen today at the Smithsonian Institute.

The material result of the space program was an enormous leap in technology and medicine. The cultural impact was American confidence that the impossible could be achieved.