Japanese artist Azuma Makoto recently ventured to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to launch a 50-year-old pine bonsai and a colorful floral arrangement into space. The mission, titled Exobotanica, aimed to explore the transformation of the plants into exobiota (extraterrestrial life) in outer space.
Forty-five years ago today, two human beings first set foot on the moon. On July 20, 1969, the lunar module of Apollo 11 touched down in the Sea of Tranquility, and forever changed how we view our place in the universe. When I think about the fact that four and a half decades ago, at the very moment I am writing this, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were walking on the freakin’ moon, I am humbled and inspired.
I’ve combined some of my favorite photos from Apollo 11 with some of the actual words spoken by Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins.
If you’d like to relive the historic mission moment by moment, word by word, and photo by photo, head over to SpaceLog
(21 July 1966) —- The crew of the Gemini-10 spaceflight, astronauts John W. Young (left) and Michael Collins (right), arrive aboard the recovery ship USS Guadalcanal. The astronauts were picked up from the ocean, by recovery helicopter and flown to the recovery ship to begin postflight medical and technical debriefings. Greeting them are Ben James (standing behind Young), Senior NASA Public Affairs Officer aboard the ship and John C. Stonesifer (left), Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC) Landing and Recovery Division. Photo credit: NASA
Apollo 11 Prepares to Rendezvous After Ascending From the Lunar Surface (21 July 1969) —- The Apollo 11 Lunar Module (LM) ascent stage, with astronauts Neil A. Armstrong and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. aboard, is photographed from the Command and Service Modules (CSM) in lunar orbit. Astronaut Michael Collins, command module pilot, remained with the CSM in lunar orbit while Armstrong and Aldrin explored the moon. The LM is approaching from below. The coordinates of the center of the lunar terrain seen below is located at 102 degrees east longitude and 1 degree north latitude.
Astronomers have long pondered the origins of enormous elliptical galaxies in the young Universe. An object 11 billion light-years away spotted by the Herschel mission may help unravel the mystery.
Two massive spiral galaxies merged to create a giant elliptical galaxy, which were previously believed to form through the absorption of dwarf galaxies over time.
A Japanese Artist Launches Plants Into Space.
“Flowers aren’t just beautiful to show on tables,” said Azuma Makoto, a 38-year-old artist based in Tokyo. His latest installation piece, if you could call it that, takes this statement to the extreme. Two botanical objects — “Shiki 1,” a Japanese white pine bonsai suspended from a metal frame, and an untitled arrangement of orchids, hydrangeas, lilies and irises, among other blossoms — were launched into the stratosphere on Tuesday in Black Rock Desert outside Gerlach, Nevada, a site made famous for its hosting of the annual Burning Man festival. ”I wanted to see the movement and beauty of plants and flowers suspended in space,” Makoto explained that morning.
photos by (click pic) max slastnikov, elmar akhmetov, anton jankovoy, arno balzarini, dave morrow, stephane vetter, miloslav druckmuller (showing the large and small magellanic clouds and comet mcnaught) and leif erik smith (see also: previous astrophotography)
Apollo 11 Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin make the first moonwalk, on July 20, 1969.
In these clips they can been seen planting the U.S. Flag on the lunar surface and experimenting with various types of movement in the Moon’s lower gravity, including loping strides and kangaroo hops.
From the series: Headquarters’ Films Relating to Aeronautics, 1962 - 1981. Records of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1903 - 2006
July 20 1969, Buzz Aldrin salutes the Stars and Stripes.
Neil Armstrong noted “We had some difficulty at first, getting the pole of the flag to remain in the surface. In penetrating the surface, we found that most objects would go down about 5 maybe 6, inches and then it would meet with a gradual resistance. There was not much of a support force on either side, so we had to lean the flag back slightly in order for it to maintain this position”
Aldrin and Armstrong collected samples of lunar soil and rocks from the Tranquility Base area to bring back to Earth.
Armstrong described the lunar landscape as having “a stark beauty all its own. It’s like much of the high desert of the United States” probably referring to the typical terrain around Edwards Airforce Base in Southern California, where he spent much time as a test pilot and preparing for the Apollo 11 mission.