The Moon landing of 1969 was an incredible human accomplishment. Learn how it resulted in a wealth of fun and fascinating statistics.
- [Instructor] It's been over 50 years since humans first landed on the moon. This seems like a good reason to celebrate this massive accomplishment with, you guessed it, statistics. To get out of the Earth's atmosphere and into space, the astronauts were propelled via a Saturn V three-stage rocket. The Saturn V rocket weighted about 6.5 million pounds. This is about the weight of 2,321 Toyota Corollas. By the way, that was just the rocket. That rocket was used to propel three astronauts and their equipment out of our atmosphere and toward the moon. The total payload was about 100,756 pounds, another 36 Toyota Corollas. And while the exiting payload was over 100,000 pounds, once the astronauts returned to Earth, the returning payload was only 10,873 pounds. The distance to the moon was about 240,000 miles, but once the astronauts exited the Earth's atmosphere, the astronauts orbited the earth one-and-a-half times. And once they got to the moon, the Apollo 11 capsule orbited the moon 30 times before it headed back to Earth. In total, Apollo 11 traveled 953,054 miles in eight days, three hours, 18 minutes, and 35 seconds. This means that its average speed during the eight-day trip was about 4,880 miles per hour. But remember, Apollo 11 orbited the Earth one-and-a-half times, and it still had part of the Saturn V rocket attached. That third stage of the rocket catapulted Apollo 11 toward the moon. It would slow down as it approached the moon, but the initial speed of Apollo 11 as it left Earth's orbit was 24,200 miles per hour. To get some perspective, a commercial airliner travels about 550 miles per hour. From launch to the time the capsule reached the moon's orbit took about 75 hours. Only 50 years earlier, in 1919, it took the United States Military Convoy 62 days to travel 3,300 miles from Washington, DC, to San Francisco. But imagine going on a vacation, taking a 75 hour flight in a tiny capsule, only to stay for 21 hours and 31 minutes. That's how long the astronauts stayed on the actual moon. And, only two hours and 31 minutes were spent outside the ship. In total, the trip took about 195 hours, but only about 1.3% of the trip was spent actually walking on the moon by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. Unfortunately for the third astronaut, Michael Collins, he had to stay in the Apollo 11 capsule the whole time. One final stat: this massive human event captivated the imagination of the entire world. Up until that time, the lunar landing was the most-watched event on television in history. It is estimated that about 650 million people worldwide watched the lunar landing live. Even the most basic statistics help us understand the magnitude of incredible human accomplishments.
Note: Because this is an ongoing series, viewers will not receive a certificate of completion.