Space is the place for Chinese social media users this weekend as netizens commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing.
On popular microblogging platform Weibo, a trending hashtag translating to “human moon day” marked the remembrance of the historic extraterrestrial event, which saw a U.S. space crew touch down on the moon’s surface on July 20, 1969. The anniversary has also been an opportunity for the Chinese internet to showcase the lighter side of the moon, with a video compilation of astronauts stumbling while walking on the heavenly body's surface going viral as well.
A number of netizens emphasized the inclusion of the word “human” in some of the hashtags related to the topic, hailing the 1969 achievement as one for all mankind, while others stressed that the space mission had paved the way for many technological developments that are often taken for granted today. A tribute to the lives lost in various space explorations from the past was also widely shared online.
A man looks at a statue of an astronaut on display to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing in Chongqing, July 18, 2019. IC
In the decades since U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong uttered, “That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” various nations have advanced their own lunar missions — including China, which plans to explore the moon’s polar regions by 2030.
In January, China landed its own Chang’E-4 spacecraft on the far side of the moon in a mission that has helped corroborate theories about the makeup of the lunar mantle. NASA has even assisted its Chinese counterpart, the China National Space Administration, in providing images of the landing site of the spacecraft, among other forms of collaboration related to the initiative. But the rare partnership may be an isolated incident rather than the start of a new period of cooperation, as NASA is prohibited from working with China without congressional approval.
Editor: Layne Flower.
(Header image: Toys resembling astronauts stand on display at the Hong Kong Space Museum in an exhibition commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing in Hong Kong, July 3, 2019. Li Zhihua/CNS/VCG)