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Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Moon Landing: T Plus 1 Day - First Footsteps

Americans would have us believe that Neil Armstrong stepped onto the surface of the Moon on 20 July 1969 because they saw it happen in their late evening. However British audiences saw it happen in the early hours of 21 July 1969. Since NASA operates on Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), which to all intensive purposes is Greenwich Mean Time, they also consider that the first footsteps on the Moon took place on 21 July.

After the early design illustration of the Lunar Module shown yesterday, today we are showing the rather more accurate Airfix illustration. As with all the best Airfix box covers this was painted by Roy Cross and shows both astronauts on the Moon's surface in this 1/72nd scale kit. However, it was painted prior to any of the landings taking place and the most obvious inaccuracy in it is the lack of gold foil surrounding the Lunar Module's descent stage.

Rather less accurate, but considerably larger and probably more fun to build, was Lego's Space Module toy which was based on the Lunar Module. This was released in early 1975 and so includes a Lego version of the Lunar Rover vehicle which was carried to the Moon on the final three Apollo lunar missions. The astronauts are based on the large early 1970s Lego figures since this toy predates the style of Lego "mini-fig" people that are so prevalent now and which were used in the science fiction Lego Space sets produced in the late seventies.

The kit may not look as accurate as the company would produce today but that is because they used then existing Lego bricks to design it rather that the more modern concept of producing specialist bricks for specific kits. Indeed, Lego did release a smaller but much more accurate version of the Lunar Module in 2004 complete with mini-fig astronauts.

Yesterday - The Eagle Has Landed
Tomorrow - The Return Trip Begins

• Coinciding with Jeremy's countdown to the 40th Anniversary of the first Moon Landing, downthetubes is publishing "Moon Landing 40th Anniversary: A Comics Celebration" - a gallery of illustrations and comic art inspired by space exploration.
Contributions are very welcome: if you don't want to join our forum and upload art but would like to join in with the celebrations, simply send your work to Please ensure images are no larger than 2MB in size and include a brief bio and web link so we can give you deserved credit.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Werner von Braun
Nazi inventor of Werner’s Originals, abducted by the Americans after the Second World War to kickstart their sweet industry.

Sound a Russian spaceman makes when he sneezes inside his helmet.

After the Russians sent a dog and the Americans sent a monkey into space, the Italians planned to send a chicken.

What Italians eat the chicken for.

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