This Sunday will be 50 years since Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon. They brought with them items from several countries, some of them from Belgium. This is what our journalists, Luke Gilson, Guillaume Wills and Veronica Forest tell us about 50 years back.
July 18, 1969 The Earth is smaller and smaller in Apollo's windows. Americans are preparing to win this race to the moon. But knowing that we must give a "global" character to their mission, they had the idea to include other countries in this adventure. And especially … Belgium.
Place the US flag. This was one of the priority tasks posed to the astronauts of Apollo 11. Flag, which unfortunately will be exploded a few hours later by the engine of the lunar module during the departure.
But it was not the only flag of the moon. It was our trip.
"In the lunar module, flags of fifty democracies were on the moon. To achieve peace, President Nixon offered each of these peoples the flag of his country with a resin containing a few milligrams of a 22 kilogram rock brought by Armstrong and Aldrinexplains Pierre-Emanuel Paulis, a teacher at the Euro Space Center.
A message from King Bodun will mark astronauts
Apollo 11 will also leave a small disk less than a few centimeters long on the moon, engraved by leaders from around seventy countries. Besides, that of King Bodouen will mark astronauts deeply.
"We are aware of our responsibility for the tasks that can be entrusted to us in the universe, but also for those that remain to be done on earth to bring more justice and happiness to mankind""said King Baldwin.
Another black-yellow-red trace
Two years later, the crew of Apollo 15 will also leave on the moon another black-yellow-red trail.
"This is a small aluminum statue of 12 centimeters long that was created by an artist from Antwerp and was deposited on the moon in honor of the astronauts who died at that time", says Pierre-Emanuel Paulis,
After returning to the ground, the Apollo 11 astronauts will start a world tour and make a "flash" visit to Belgium.
"They will only stay in Belgium for two hours, visit the Netherlands and our country the same day and be admitted to the Laaken Palace"adds Pierre-Emanuel Paulis.
A "no-charge" tour that will end up tiring for astronauts. Armstrong will close. Aldrin will even sink into alcoholism. These three men were well prepared for their mission. NOT at all about what they will live after.
Meanwhile, on the evening of July 18, the trip continues. Apollo 11 is located about 340,000 km from Earth. In just over 48 hours Niel Armstrong stepped onto the moon.