Purple Moon Magilligan Co.Derry Ireland 03/11/08
Galileo first discovered the moon , through his telescope. He saw it had mountains and dark areas that he called “Mare” or “Seas” which are relatively flat areas that are nevertheless drier than the most arid Earthly desert. Nineteenth century astronomers thought that the Moon might have life, much like the Earth.
Soviet Union first succeeded in landing (unmanned craft) 1966. The USSR was first to accomplish both a lunar hard landing (crash impact) and a soft landing enabling the gathering of scientific data from the surface. During the time of the Cold War, such contests to be the first on the Moon was one of the most visible facts of the Space Race.
Soviet Union (after USA Apollo manned Landings) achieved sample returns of lunar soil via the unmanned Luna 16, Luna 20 and Luna 24 Moon landings. Luna 17 and Luna 21 were successful rover missions.
Japan executed a controlled impact onto the Moon when its lunar orbiter Hiten impacted the Moon’s surface on 10 April 1993, and the European Space Agency performed another controlled impact with the orbiter SMART-1 on 3 September 2006. India performed a controlled impact when its Moon Impact Probe, part of the Chandrayaan-1 mission, hit the lunar surface on 14 November 2008. Also, the Chinese lunar orbiter Chang’e 1 executed a controlled crash onto the surface of the Moon on 1 March 2009.
On July 20, 1969, man landed on the moon. Two astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin managed to land a small spacecraft called the Eagle. Fellow astronaut Mike Collins remained in the main spaceship, the Columbia, as it orbited the moon.