The US successfully landed the first people on the Moon back in July 20 1969 and then managed to bring them back home. However, President Richard Nixon was not always confident of a safe return, and even prepared a few words with speechwriter William Safire. The speech details how America would be grief-stricken had the first two men to step foot on the Moon, Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin and Neil Armstrong, not returned in NASA‘s Apollo 11 Mission, alongside Michael Colin.
This is the full speech from President Nixon in the memo titled ‘In Event of a Moon Disaster’: “Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.
“These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.
“These two men are laying down their lives in mankind’s most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.
“They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown.
“In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.
“In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.
“Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man’s search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.
“For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.”
Thankfully, the mission was a resounding success and 50 years on, NASA is set to celebrate the historic achievement.
Now the space agency is looking to put humans on the Moon for the first time since 1972.
NASA has decided it has unfinished business on our lunar satellite and wants to set up a permanent base on the Moon, with the missions hopefully taking place in 2024.
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine made the announcement that he wants to set up a lunar colony and called on “the best and brightest of American industry to help design and develop “human lunar landers”.
The base would be used as a checkpoint between Earth and Mars while also allowing astronauts to study the Moon in close detail.