Where were you when Apollo 11 landed? Not born yet

July 19, 2009 By SETH BORENSTEIN , AP Science Writer
FILE - In this July 20, 1969 file photo, Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong steps down from the lunar module lander and becomes the first man to set foot on the moon. A huge shadow of the Lunar module is cast on the moon's surface. Photo was made from 16mm color film made with a Mauer camera at 6 and 12 frames per second. (AP Photo/NASA, file)

(AP) -- Most Americans have never known a world where man hasn't been to the moon. It used to be a given that people knew where they were when man first walked on the moon on July 20, 1969, watching the black-and-white images on television. But now most Americans don't know where they were because the majority of Americans hadn't been born yet.

The median age of Americans, as of last year, was 36.8, meaning more than half of U.S. residents are younger than 40, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. No figures have been calculated for this year yet.

Five years ago, when celebrated the 35th anniversary of the landing, the median age of Americans was 36.1, so most residents were at least alive when Armstrong made his giant leap for mankind.

That changed sometime between July 2005 and July 2006, according to the Census Bureau.

Six current astronauts were not alive when Armstrong walked on the moon, including Christopher Cassidy, a crew member of the ongoing mission on the .

"It tells us time passes," Smithsonian Institution space curator Roger Launius said. "You've got under 40 people all over the place."

Time also passes for the Apollo 11 astronauts. Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins were 38 when Apollo 11 landed on the moon; Buzz Aldrin was a few months older at 39.

So all three have now lived most of their lives since what is considered the crowning achievement of a lifetime.

It has been a challenge to "carry on with the rest of your life," said Aldrin, who battled depression and alcoholism. He said there is "this uneasiness and this uncertainty as to what I really ought to be doing."

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: NASA honors Apollo moon walker Buzz Aldrin

Related Stories

NASA honors Apollo moon walker Buzz Aldrin

March 17, 2006

NASA will honor former astronaut Buzz Aldrin for his involvement in the U.S. space program with the presentation of the Ambassador of Exploration Award.

Apollo astronauts relive experiences at ceremony

July 18, 2009

(AP) -- It was a reunion of reunions. Twelve Apollo astronauts reminisced, traded stories and poked fun at each other Friday night as the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing and moonwalk approached.

Apollo 11 crew: Aldrin likes spotlight, 2 shun it

July 19, 2009

(AP) -- In the 40 years since Apollo 11, some of the key players, most notably Neil Armstrong, have steered clear of the increasingly bright glare of the moonlight cast by the historic lunar landing. Others have embraced ...

Recommended for you

Camera on NASA's Lunar Orbiter survived 2014 meteoroid hit

May 26, 2017

On Oct. 13, 2014 something very strange happened to the camera aboard NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC), which normally produces beautifully clear images of the lunar ...

SDO sees partial eclipse in space

May 26, 2017

On May 25, 2017, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, saw a partial solar eclipse in space when it caught the moon passing in front of the sun. The lunar transit lasted almost an hour, between 2:24 and 3:17 p.m. EDT, ...

Jupiter's complex transient auroras

May 25, 2017

Combined observations from three spacecraft show that Jupiter's brightest auroral features recorded to date are powered by both the volcanic moon Io and interaction with the solar wind.

Methanol detected for first time around young star

May 25, 2017

Methanol, a key building block for the complex organic compounds that comprise life, has been detected for the first time in the protoplanetary disk of a young, distant star. This finding could help scientists better understand ...

New Neliota project detects flashes from lunar impacts

May 25, 2017

Using a system developed under an ESA contract, the Greek NELIOTA project has begun to detect flashes of light caused by small pieces of rock striking the moon's surface. NELIOTA is the first system that can determine the ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

dan42day
not rated yet Jul 20, 2009
I was in orbit around Proxema Centauri refueling for the last leg of my trip to earth.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.