The moon can be observed from every corner of our blue planet; illuminating the earth with its white, reflective solar light; beaming like a lightbulb in the night sky; its shape changing during its monthly orbit, but never its all too familiar ‘man-inthe- moon’ features — and over the centuries an inspiration to the romantic writers of line and verse.
The moon is a massive chunk of rock in an oval shape (or an oblate spheroid like the earth) and is our nearest celestial neighbour at a distance of 238,855 miles away.
Up until 21st July, 1969, people still believed that the moon might be made of cheese, or at least be inhabited by unknown life forms.
But then came NASA's Apollo 11 mission, an incredible feat of human courage and endeavour and a technological miracle that put a man on the moon for the first time. That first man was astronaut Neil Armstrong, who as Mission Commander famously spoke the immortal words "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind", as he began the first ever lunar walk, and this week in the Black Country Bugle we pay tribute to the reluctant American hero, a recluse in his later years, who has died at the age of 82.
He may not have come from this neck of the woods, or even known the Black Country existed, but in the early hours of Monday July 21st 1969, at 0256 GMT, tens of thousands of us knew exactly who Neil Armstrong was and what he had achieved. Altogether an incredible 600 million people, one sixth of the world's population, watched the drama unfold on TV, as Armstrong's colleague Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin joined him on the moon's surface twenty minutes later.
Were you one of those viewers, maybe still at school just starting your long summer break from the classroom, and can you remember being allowed to stay up late and watch the grainy black and white pictures being broadcast from an alien world as they flickered on the box in the living room, unable to believe your bleary eyes? Or were you the mom or dad in charge that night caught up in the remarkable reality that a human being was actually standing upon the surface of the moon? If you have any memories of that historic moment in our history and wish to share them with other Bugle readers, please send them to Bugle House and we will endeavour to publish as many as possible.