The Photograph That Changed The Space Race

The first man to have walked in space was in the year 1965, by a Soviet. Alexei Leonov is the man who had the privilege and opportunity to travel to space. The Soviet Union and America were engaged in programs that would further ensure that more people would go to space. In the year 1969, things took a different turn when ‘Life Magazine’ published an article that will forever be remembered by most Americans. On the eleventh day, of August, the mission known as Apollo 11 was highlighted in the magazine article. It depicted the moonwalk done by Buzz Aldrin. In turn, the impact of the article has been felt in most parts of the world up until now. The media have the power of significantly influencing how people perceive photographs that they see (Rahman 38-40).

Most of the readers who saw the photograph indeed believed that the United States had conquered the Soviets. Moreover, many letters were sent to the publisher of the ‘Life Magazine’ in response to the photos. An example of a letter was the one written by George Mueller, who was an administrator as NASA. He praised the people who were involved in the mission to the moon. The letters were in praise of the American government, which had fostered the mission to the moon. Furthermore, he gave gratitude to the vision, perseverance and dedication, which had been shown (Icons of Progress). The people who were involved in matters concerning this mission gained confidence. In turn, more developments were made by the Americans in an attempt to send more people to the moon and go to other planets. Rich Americans used their money to fund missions to the moon (Stenger).  The missions are known as Apollo 11, as well as 12, had been completed by the United States. The latter missions took place in the moon as opposed to the soviets, who only went around it. The Soviets had used the spacecraft Zond but were not successful in that mission. The challenge that had been set by President Kennedy had indeed been actualized. The space race winners were indeed the Americans. They had made more haste and thus the reason why they arrived first on the moon. Moreover, they even fixed a flag on the moon as a symbol of victory. This is one of the most influential photos that were published in ‘Life Magazine’.

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The photographs made the Russians envious, as they did not have as much luck as the Americans. The Russians did not give up their quest to achieve success in their space programs (Jones). They became more aggressive in their efforts to test and develop their Salyut space station and the Soyuz Spacecraft. Unfortunately, they encountered many problems as they carried out the mentioned tasks. The Soviets also turned their attention to other matters rather than space matters. They became involved in matters such as meteorological research and plant growth in space flights. Furthermore, the equipment built by the Russians were not effective and this leads to many disasters. In fact, some of the crew members of the Soyuz 11 lost their lives, due to mishaps that affected the system. In turn, the Russians were slowly giving up with their space mission objectives. It seems that the Americans had taken control over the matter concerning space and the moon (Jones).

The children of America have also been affected by the photographs in many ways. Children who were not born during that time have information regarding the notable event. In school, the students view the pictures in their history books. In turn, they learn about the achievement that America made when it sent the first humans to the moon (Icons of Progress). Many films have come up portraying similar images, similar to those witnessed in the’ Life Magazine’. Research has found out the over eighty percent of children in the United States have watched films that depict human life on space. Some of the notable films viewed by American children include Apollo 13 and Star Wars (Icons of Progress).

Fashion, which most Americans love, is not being left behind either in portraying the Apolo11 mission. In a recent advertisement by Luis Vuitton, there are former astronauts such as Sally Ride, Jim Lovell and Buzz Aldrin. They are pictured as they are facing the moon in a desert located in California (Morrison). This means that American children will always be made aware of the Apollo 11 mission. The photographs in ‘Life Magazine’ are being adapted to meet the needs of American children. The latter is now fully aware of the mission by making the photographs more easily understood by the younger generation (Morrison).

In conclusion, the photographs that were published by the ‘Life Magazine’ were a powerful tool as has been witnessed. It made America aware of the fact they were indeed a power to be reckoned. They had the knowledge as well as they know how to travel to the moon (Rahman 51). A sense of patriotism among Americans was created after this marvellous incident. The Russians resolved to engage in other missions apart from space matters. Up to, now the photographs are still in the memories of Americans who were privileged to see them. Indeed, the impact of the photographs is vital to the American people.


Work Cited

Rahman, Tahir. We Came in Peace for all Mankind- the Untold Story of the Apollo 11 Silicon Disc. New York: Leathers Publishing, 2007. Print.

Stenger, Richard. “Man on the Moon: Kennedy speech ignited the dream”. CNN. Retrieved December 12, 2011.

Jones, Eric. “Apollo 11 Lunar Surface Journal: Trying to Rest”. NASA.     Retrieved December 12, 2o11

Icons of Progress.  The Apollo Missions. Letter to the editor.  Retrieved December 12, 2011.

Morrison, Black. Apollo 11 moon landing. The cultural impact. The guardian.  Retrieved December 12, 2011.






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