WASHINGTON, July 20, 2009 (AFP) – The United States this week marks the 40th anniversary of the historic first moon walk, with President Barack Obama kicking off events by meeting at the White House Monday with the crew of the Apollo 11 mission. The crew became the first to accomplish the dream of ages and walk on the surface of the moon — an endeavor now remembered at a time when future US dominance in space has become far less certain. “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” said astronaut Neil Armstrong as he stepped down from the lunar lander onto the moon’s Sea of Tranquility on July 20, 1969, as an estimated 500 million people on Earth crowded round televisions and radios. In addition to the White House reception, a host of events planned include a news conference in Washington Monday with astronauts from the Apollo program and a simulcast to science centers across the United States about the Apollo legacy and the future of space exploration. Celebrations will be held from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida, where the Apollo 11 mission blasted off, to mission control at Johnson Space Center in…
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