Original owner of image: NASA
Date of original image: 10 July 1969 (The moon landing ones obviously later than that)
Ladder type: aluminium pole ladder, aluminium ladder
Used for: Ladders just don’t get any more iconic that this! It’s the aluminium pole ladder used by the astronauts of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
How many different web pages is this ladder image on: 60,000,000+
Where is it: The Moon!
Story behind it: “That’s one small step for a man, a giant leap for mankind” That was Neil Armstrong’s words on first setting foot on the moon, in 1969. A strong contender as the most famous line ever to have been uttered. Armstrong’s words are sometimes given as, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Clearly the event was of huge significance and the choice of words was quite deliberate. Armstrong maintained for some time later that he said “for a man” rather than “for man”. That line was what he, with the help of his wife, had prepared in advance. The rather fuzzy tapes of the event aren’t clear enough to be sure, although the ‘a’ does appear to be missing.
In more recent years, after listening again to the recording, Armstrong has acknowledged that he may have fluffed his line. More recently still, analysis of the tape indicates that the ‘a’ may have been present on the recording but is to indistinct to hear. But to us it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that he made it there and home and made world history. And today we have honored that event and the amazing images of iconic ladders that made their decent to the moon possible. We thought we would also share these 10 great facts about the mission that we found on popsci.com
1. The Apollo’s Saturn rockets were packed with enough fuel to throw 100-pound shrapnel three miles, and NASA couldn’t rule out the possibility that they might explode on takeoff. NASA seated its VIP spectators three and a half miles from the launchpad.
2. The Apollo computers had less processing power than a cellphone.
3. Drinking water was a fuel-cell by-product, but Apollo 11’s hydrogen-gas filters didn’t work, making every drink bubbly. Urinating and defecating in zero gravity, meanwhile, had not been figured out; the latter was so troublesome that at least one astronaut spent his entire mission on an anti-diarrhea drug to avoid it.
4. When Apollo 11’s lunar lander, the Eagle, separated from the orbiter, the cabin wasn’t fully depressurized, resulting in a burst of gas equivalent to popping a champagne cork. It threw the module’s landing four miles off-target.
5. Pilot Neil Armstrong nearly ran out of fuel landing the Eagle, and many at mission control worried he might crash. Apollo engineer Milton Silveira, however, was relieved: His tests had shown that there was a small chance the exhaust could shoot back into the rocket as it landed and ignite the remaining propellant.
6. The “one small step for man” wasn’t actually that small. Armstrong set the ship down so gently that its shock absorbers didn’t compress. He had to hop 3.5 feet from the Eagle’s ladder to the surface.
7. When Buzz Aldrin joined Armstrong on the surface, he had to make sure not to lock the Eagle’s door because there was no outer handle.
8. The toughest moonwalk task? Planting the flag. NASA’s studies suggested that the lunar soil was soft, but Armstrong and Aldrin found the surface to be a thin wisp of dust over hard rock. They managed to drive the flagpole a few inches into the ground and film it for broadcast, and then took care not to accidentally knock it over.
9.The flag was made by Sears, but NASA refused to acknowledge this because they didn’t want “another Tang.”
10. The inner bladder of the space suits—the airtight liner that keeps the astronaut’s body under Earth-like pressure—and the ship’s computer’s ROM chips were handmade by teams of “little old ladies.”
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