This week marks 50 years since the Space Race culminated in Neil Armstrong becoming the first man to walk on the moon. We’ve asked those who witnessed this feat to share their enduring memories of this pioneering voyage, and explored Britons’ attitudes to space travel and the scientific discoveries of the future.
The overwhelming majority (84%) of those who were alive in 1969 remember the televised moon landings. Most were glued to their television sets at home, whilst others tell of screenings in school assemblies, rushing to friends’ houses with colour TVs, and patients and nurses alike crowding around screens in hospitals around the country.
Coverage of the moon landing was far more likely to foster ambitions of space travel and scientific discoveries amongst the boys watching at home. Over half (52%) of those who witnessed the moon landings say it made them more interested in space, and in science more generally. That includes two-thirds (64%) of the men who were alive in 1969, but just 43% of women.
Fifty years later, men are still almost twice as likely to want to visit space than their female counterparts- just a fifth (21%) of the women surveyed expressed an interest in space travel, versus 39% of male respondents.
Today, more than one in ten (12%) of Brits believe, or suspect, that the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing and subsequent moon-walk was actually staged. Millennials are the most likely to have doubts about the moon-landings, and over a third (34%) of the 18-34 year-olds surveyed stated this belief. People from North East England were the most likely to believe that the moon landing was faked 19% said they believed the moon landing was fake more so than any other region in the UK.