This year marks 50 years of the Apollo 11 moon landing, widely regarded as one of humankind’s greatest achievements. The Royal Australian Mint has issued a coin set in celebration of its anniversary.
A Triumph of Man and Machine
- On July 21st 1969, the world watched as Neil Armstrong uttered the immortal words, “That’s one small step for man. One giant leap for mankind,” as he set foot on the lunar surface for the first time. The journey to the moon and back is a testament to humankind’s resilience, perseverance and cooperation. Several scientists from different parts of the world worked together to make this dream come true.
- New South Wales, Australia, is home to the CSIRO Parkes radio telescope, one of three that played an integral role in getting the television pictures of man first walking on the moon to the world. “What started with Parkes perhaps not getting any pictures ended up with them getting the entire picture and the majority that the world saw. And all this happened during a wind squall,” says John Sarkissian, a CSIRO Operations Scientist. The Royal Australian Mint partnered with United States Mint to commemorate this collaboration announced a two-coin collectable series on Wednesday. The set is limited edition, with only 10,000 pieces being minted.
Coin collectable set
The set comes with 2 dome-shaped coins of half a dollar (USA) and $5 (Australia) denominations. The Australian coin depicts the Earth in colour, prominently featuring Australia facing the moon with the journey of the Apollo 11 crew traced in the sky. The other side features the CSIRO Parkes radio telescope pointed towards the moon as it received signals of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. Iconic words from Neil Armstrong’s journal are etched in the background, and this side also has an image of Queen Elizabeth II.
The United States coin is also dome-shaped, a homage to the dish of the Parkes telescope, and one side depicts a footprint on the lunar surface. The other side depicts a close-up of the famous “Buzz Aldrin on the Moon” photograph. The words ‘Mercury’, ‘Gemini’ and ‘Apollo’ on the coin mark three milestones in the efforts of the United States Space Program. The Mercury missions (1961 to 1963) determined whether a man could survive in space, while the Gemini missions tested long term survivability and operations in space. The Apollo mission’s primary objective was landing a man on the moon.
Specifications of Coins in Lunar Landing Set:
U.S. Mint 50c
Composition: 8.33% Nickel, Balance Copper
Weight: 11.34 Grams
Diameter: 1.205 Inches / 30.61 mm
Composition: 0.999 Fine Silver
Weight: 28.34 Grams (1 Ounce)
Diameter: 1.560 Inches / 39.62 mm
Check out another set of 6 coins by the Royal Australian Mint celebrating over 50 years of the moon landing.