International Moon Day Date in the current year: July 20, 2024

International Moon Day International Moon Day is a United Nations observance celebrated every July 20 to commemorate the anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s landing on the Moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission and to promote international cooperation in space exploration.

Apollo 11 was the American space mission that resulted in the first landing of humans on the Moon. It was part of the Space Race between the Soviet Union and the United States. The Soviet Union was the first country to successfully launch a satellite and to send a human into space, so becoming the first country to land men on the Moon was a matter of pride for the United States.

On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy addressed the US Congress, urging the nation to commit to achieving the goal of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth by the end of the decade. After years of planning and preparation, the Apollo 11 spacecraft was launched on July 16, 1969. The command and service module of the spacecraft entered lunar orbit three days later. On July 20, Commander Neil Armstrong and Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin moved into the Lunar Module Eagle and landed in the Sea of Tranquility. Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the surface of the Moon, and Aldrin joined him 19 minutes later.

The history of International Moon Day dates back to 1971, when President Richard Nixon declared July 20 National Moon Landing Day in order to honor the anniversary of the historic space mission. It was a one-off observance, and no resolutions proclaiming National Moon Landing Day were adopted in the following years.

However, a number of activists promoted the celebration of July 20 as National Moon Day. It was never recognized on the federal level, but lawmakers in some states sponsored bills to recognize Moon Day. In addition, National Moon Day was observed unofficially by astronomy and space enthusiasts throughout the United States.

The observance became recognized internationally thanks to the Moon Village Association (MVA), a Vienna-based NGO that seeks to bring together scientists, engineers, public and private investors, and other stakeholders to build a shared infrastructure on the Moon. During the 64th session of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, the MVA submitted an application for July 20 to be officially recognized as International Moon Day.

On December 9, 2021, the United Nations General Assembly supported the proposal and declared July 20 International Moon Day in its resolution. The main goals of the observance are to commemorate the first human landing on the surface of the Moon and to raise public awareness about the importance of international cooperation in sustainable Moon exploration.

The first global celebration of International Moon Day took place on July 20, 2022. The official theme for the inaugural observance was “Lunar Exploration Coordination and Sustainability”. Various events were held in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Guatemala, India, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

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International Moon Day, international observances, United Nation observances, Apollo 11, landing on the Moon