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One giant leap.

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This summer marks the 40th anniversary of the first time astronauts successfully landed on the moon. On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts Neff Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first people to walk on the surface of Earth's nearest neighbor. Millions watched on television as Armstrong took his first lunar step and uttered these famous words: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

NASA plans to celebrate the anniversary with lectures by astronauts and fun activities, at its Lunar Science Institute near San Jose, California. The institute was launched last year to study the moon.

The moon orbiting around our planet lacks an atmosphere. It also has less gravity (force of attraction) than Earth. Its surface is dotted with extinct volcanoes and impact craters. But since astronauts have landed just six times on the moon, only a small portion of the lunar landscape has been explored. There is so much left to discover there, says Greg Schmidt, deputy director of NASA's Lunar Science Institute.

That's why NASA plans to send astronauts back to the moon around 2020 and establish permanent lunar colonies within a few years after that. "Young students now will be the astronauts who will live and do research in these settlements," says Schmidt.

WHAT WOULD YOU WEIGH ON THE MOON?

Your weight is a measure of the force of attraction between you and Earth. Gravity on the moon is 1/6 of that on Earth. Use the graph to find out your weight on the lunar surface.

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Title Annotation:GRAPH IT/MOON
Author:Goudarzi, Sara
Publication:Science World
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 11, 2009
Words:259
Previous Article:In the pink.
Next Article:Sky lights.
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