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The First Lunar Landing

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There won't be much of the Moon visible in the sky tonight, only a sliver on this particular day in the lunar cycle. Still, it will be worth stepping outside after dark, looking up, and contemplating what happened 40-years ago today.

At 2:18 our time on the afternoon of July 20, 1969, the Lunar Module named "Eagle" touched down on the Moon at Tranquility Base. A few hours later, just before 9 p.m. Utah time, Neal Armstrong descended from Eagle's ladder and set foot on the lunar surface with those immortal words:

"That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."

It was a monumental moment in the history of exploration and the overall human experience. Those old enough to remember will never forget where they were, or how they sat glued to television screens with a prayer in their heart that all would go well. And it did! Flawlessly! A tribute to human ingenuity and the innate drive to explore!

A glance at a sliver of the Moon tonight won't be quite as exhilarating as those events of four decades ago, but it can be a reminder of humankind's often successful quest to know what lies beyond the next horizon.

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