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Man's first moon landing: How Calgarians saw it – Calgary Herald

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Buzz Aldrin walks on the surface of the moon, with seismographic equipment that he just set up. The flag-like object on a pole is a solar wind experiment and in the background is the Lunar Landing Module. July 20, 1969.


AP Photo/NASA, Neil Armstrong, File

Fifty years ago, the world was transfixed by a single event — the first time man walked on the moon. The date was July 20, 1969, and the Apollo 11 mission resulted in a landing on the moon in an area known as the Sea of Tranquility. The mission had launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida four days earlier. Neil Armstrong was the first astronaut to set foot on the moon, followed by Buzz Aldrin, while Michael Collins kept the command module in the moon’s orbit.

Here is a selection of some of the newspaper pages Calgarians read in the Herald, regarding the historic event:

Tuesday, July 15, 1969: Space program leaders and the astronauts expressed confidence in the upcoming mission, but one of the main organizers of the program, Wernher von Braun, admitted while he, too, was confident in the mission’s success, things can go wrong: “All of us in this program have done our jobs. All we can do now is pray.”

Wednesday, July 16, 1969: Blast off! The rocket leaves earth as planned and that day’s late City edition of the Calgary Herald carries the news. Before liftoff, the three astronauts had the traditional Apollo breakfast of orange juice, steak, scrambled eggs, toast and coffee. The men were reported as being “up and charging and ready to go.” They reported all rocket systems functioning, as they headed into space.

Another story in that day’s Herald noted that a Quebec machine shop superintendent, Fernand Michon, had built the landing gear for the lunar module. Of the task, Michon said, “I just did my job and, besides, I’ve had to work on much tougher assignments in the past.” He was employed by Heroux Machine Shops, which competed against eight American companies for the contract. Company president Jesse Turner said the Canadian bid got the contract because Michon devised a special tool to make the lunar module’s four 12-foot-long legs, which were created of aluminum-magnesium alloy.

Thursday, July 17, 1969: Apollo 11 passed the half-way mark of its journey to the moon, with the astronauts reporting earth looked “elegant” behind them. In anticipation of a successful landing, U.S. President Richard Nixon proclaimed July 20 to be a national day of participation, giving federal employees the day off. Many governors and mayors followed suit, declaring July 20 a holiday so all Americans could share the significant events of the day.

Friday, July 18, 1969: The astronauts used a TV camera to take the world on a tour of their spacecraft, calling it “a happy home.” A sidebar story told the tale of a British sci-fi fan named David Threlfall, then 26, who in 1964 had bet almost an entire week’s wages (about 10 British pounds) that man would land on the moon before the end of the decade. The odds were 1,000 to 1, so his payout was 10,000 pounds (about 139,125 pounds in today’s currency or $227,000 CDN.) The bookmaker who took the bet said he’d accepted the wager as a joke, never thinking he’d actually need to pay it out.

Saturday, July 19, 1969: Apollo 11 began orbiting the moon, getting ready for a landing. Armstrong and Aldrin would each be carrying enough oxygen for three hours, but their scheduled stays on the moon’s surface would be two hours 40 minutes, and two hours 10 minutes, respectively, while they conducted experiments and gathered rock samples.

Monday, July 21, 1969: At 7:56 p.m. (MST) Sunday, July 20, 1969, Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the moon. He uttered the famous phrase, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” although debate over the years indicates the word “a” was actually said, but not transmitted properly or heard, meaning that phrase was: “One small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” On July 21, Armstrong and Aldrin blasted off from the moon’s surface and later reconnected with the command ship that Collins had been commanding while circling the moon.

The Herald reported that in Calgary, streets were generally quiet as people gathered around television sets to watch the historic event. Some folks, however, threw moon-landing parties and when Armstrong took his first steps on the moon, there were shouts of joy, confetti was thrown in the air and horns were honked downtown. People who were in restaurants and hotel lobbies gathered around TVs to watch the event, while at the Palliser Hotel, the visiting Toronto Argonauts had a television set up in the penthouse so they could watch the moonwalk while eating a meal.

Tuesday, July 22, 1969: The Apollo 11 astronauts were heading home. Program leader Wernher von Braun said it was too early to celebrate, “but I think we are probably over the hump.”

Thursday, July 24, 1969: The astronauts landed safely, just one mile from a planned target point in the Pacific Ocean. The trip lasted eight days, three hours and 10 minutes. “Once the astronauts were given biological garments to put on and were sprayed with disinfectant, they were lifted into the rescue helicopter and were on the (carrier) Hornet’s flight deck within an hour.” The men were then put in a mobile quarantine facility; President Nixon was on hand to talk to them through a special telephone set-up. He congratulated them, invited them to a future White House dinner and said this was the greatest week in the history of the world “since the creation.”

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China tests Mars lander in international co-operation push – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Samuel McNeil, The Associated Press


Published Thursday, November 14, 2019 11:42AM EST

HUAILAI, China – China showed off its Mars spacecraft during a landing test Thursday as the country pushes for inclusion in more global space projects.

The demonstration of hovering, obstacle avoidance and deceleration capabilities was conducted at a site outside Beijing simulating conditions on the red planet, where the pull of gravity is about one-third that of Earth.

China plans to launch a lander and rover to Mars next year to explore parts of the planet, one of four scheduled missions. The U.S. and Europe are also sending rovers to Mars next year, and the United Arab Emirates plans to launch an orbiter.

China’s burgeoning space program achieved a lunar milestone earlier this year by landing a spacecraft on the mysterious far side of the moon.

It has developed rapidly, especially since it conducted its first crewed mission in 2003, and has sought co-operation with space agencies from Europe and elsewhere.

The U.S., however, has banned most space co-operation with China out of national security concerns, keeping China from participating in the International Space Station.

Despite that, China’s ambitions continue to grow as it seeks to rival the U.S., Russia and Europe in space and cement its position as a regional and global power. It is gradually constructing its own larger, more permanent space station in which it has invited foreign participation.

The lander on Thursday successfully avoided ground obstacles during a simulated low-gravity descent, according to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, the Chinese space program’s main contractor.

The refrigerator-sized craft was lowered gently on 36 cables through the air for about a minute and used onboard jets spraying rust-colored fumes to alter its downward course.

“After the probe is launched, it will take about seven months to reach Mars, and the final procedure of landing will only last about seven minutes, which is the most difficult and the most risky part of the whole mission,” said the Mars mission’s chief designer, Zhang Rongqiao, standing before the 140-meter (460-foot) -tall testing facility.

Many Mars-bound spacecraft launched by the U.S., Russia and other countries have been lost or destroyed over the years. Only the U.S. has pulled it off and has made eight successful landings.

The remote test site lies an hour north of the Great Wall from Beijing.

Guests at Thursday’s event came from 19 countries and included the ambassadors of Brazil, France and Italy.

“This event is the first public appearance of China’s Mars exploration mission, also an important measure for China to pragmatically carry out space international exchanges and co-operation,” the China National Space Administration said in a statement.

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Genes borrowed from bacteria allowed plants to move from sea to land – Folio – University of Alberta

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Natural genetic engineering allowed plants to move from water to land, according to a new study by an international group of scientists from Canada, China, France, Germany and Russia.

“This is one of the most important events in the evolution of life on this planet—without which we as a species would not exist,” said University of Alberta genomicist and study co-investigator Gane Ka-Shu Wong

“The movement of life from water to land—called terrestrialization—began with plants and was followed by animals and then, of course, humans. This study establishes how that first step took place.”

The movement of plants from water to land was made possible when genes from soil bacteria were transferred to algae through a process called horizontal gene transfer. Unlike vertical gene transfer, such as the transfer of DNA from parent to child, horizontal gene transfer occurs between different species.

New algae species discovered

“For hundreds of millions of years, green algae lived in freshwater environments that periodically fell dry, such as small puddles, riverbeds and trickling rocks,” explained Michael Melkonian of the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany. “These algae mingled with and received key genes from soil bacteria that helped them and their descendants to cope with the harsh terrestrial environment and eventually evolve into the land plant flora that we see today.”

The study is part of an international project focused on sequencing the genomes of more than 10,000 plant species. The discovery was made in the process of sequencing two particular algae—including a newly identified species called Spirogloea muscicola.

“The approach that we used, phylogenomics, is a powerful method to pinpoint the underlying molecular mechanism of evolutionary novelty,” said Shifeng Cheng, first author and principal investigator from the Agricultural Genome Institute at Shenzhen at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

The study, “Genomes of Subaerial Zygnematophyceae Provide Insights Into Land Plant Evolution,” was published in Cell.

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China tests Mars lander in push for inclusion in more international space projects – The Globe and Mail

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A lander sits before being lifted for a test at a facility in Huailai, China, on Nov. 14, 2019.

The Associated Press

China invited observers to a successful test Thursday of its Mars lander as the country pushes for inclusion in more global space projects.

The demonstration of hovering, obstacle avoidance and deceleration capabilities was conducted at a site outside Beijing simulating conditions on the Red Planet, where the pull of gravity is about one-third that of Earth.

China plans to launch a lander and rover to Mars next year to explore parts of the planet in detail.

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China’s burgeoning space program achieved a lunar milestone earlier this year by landing a probe on the mysterious far side of the moon.

It has developed rapidly, especially since it conducted its first crewed mission in 2003 and has sought co-operation with space agencies from Europe and elsewhere.

The U.S., however, has banned most space co-operation with China out of national security concerns, keeping China from participating in the International Space Station.

Despite that, China’s ambitions continue to grow as it seeks to rival the U.S., Russia and Europe in space and cement its position as a regional and global power. It is gradually constructing its own larger, more permanent space station in which it has invited foreign participation.

The lander on Thursday successfully avoided ground obstacles during a simulated low-gravity descent, according to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, the Chinese space program’s main contractor.

The refrigerator-sized craft was lowered gently on 36 cables through the air for about a minute and used onboard jets spraying rust-coloured fumes to alter its downward course.

“After the probe is launched, it will take about seven months to reach Mars, and the final procedure of landing will only last about seven minutes, which is the most difficult and the most risky part of the whole mission,” said the Mars mission’s chief designer, Zhang Rongqiao, standing before the 140-meter-(460-foot-) tall testing facility.

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Recent rover crashes on the moon by Israel and India highlight the difficulties of safe landings from space.

The remote Comprehensive Testing Ground for Landing on Extraterrestrial Bodies run by CASC lies an hour north of the Great Wall from Beijing.

Guests at Thursday’s event came from 19 countries and included the ambassadors of Brazil, France and Italy.

“This event is the first public appearance of China’s Mars exploration mission, also an important measure for China to pragmatically carry out space international exchanges and co-operation,” the China National Space Administration said in a news release.

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