THE MOON FOR ALL MANKIND
– THE MALTA MOON
The moon is our closest celestial body and by far the brightest object in the night sky. It has fascinated man since antiquity.
The International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009) celebrates the four hundred year anniversary since Galileo Galilei turned his telescope toward the night sky. He was the first to observe our moon in detail and some of the maps that he made have been preserved.
The year 2009 is also the fiftieth anniversary of the first unmanned lunar landing and the fortieth anniversary of the first manned landing.
Malta is an archipelago of small islands in the Mediterranean with a population of just over four hundred thousand people. It has a rich history and is home to the oldest free- standing stone structures in the world. It is claimed that these temples, which are thousands of years old, were aligned to the solstice, demonstrating that a strong astronomical tradition has existed in Malta since antiquity.
The IYA2009 Malta committee has been very busy organising several astronomy events, and has put an emphasis on the moon and its exploration by robotic and manned spacecraft. These efforts have included the issuing of a stamp set commemorating Galileo, Apollo 11 and astronomer William Lassell’s famous telescope in Malta. A highlight of the activities was a successful visit to Malta by the Apollo 17 lunar module pilot, the geologist and former U.S. Senator Harrison Schmitt. In addition, the IYA2009 Malta committee has presented several talks, seminars, exhibitions and observing sessions.
During the committee’s early meetings, the chairman Dr Gordon Caruana-Dingli proposed that Malta should co-ordinate an international project for IYA2009. Mr Leonard Ellul-Mercer, who is a keen astrophotographer, had long wished to produce an astronomy image involving various countries. After discussions with Dr Alex Gatt, Dr Caruana-Dingli proposed forming an image of the moon composed of images taken by countries all over the world. Mr Ellul-Mercer then divided an image of the moon into numbered segments and all IYA2009 single points of contact with an email address were invited to take part. The response was overwhelming, with 40 countries submitting images from five continents -- one country for every year that has passed since Apollo 11 landed on the moon! Most of the images were taken during the May or June full moons of 2009, but some were far older, such as Italy’s four hundred year old sketch by Galileo Galilei. The IYA2009 Malta committee also included an image from the European Space Agency's SMART-1 spacecraft. These images were then painstakingly processed and pasted as a collage on the background of a full moon imaged by Mr Ellul-Mercer. This took up many hours of Mr Ellul- Mercer’s time, especially after he decided to produce an audiovisual production of the project. Lynn Faure specifically composed and played the music for the animated feature.
The project commemorates the Russian Luna 2, which was the first unmanned spacecraft to land on the moon. The Moon For All Mankind also commemorates the Apollo programme that culminated in the first manned lunar landing on 20 July 1969, followed by another five landings. Other countries that have launched spacecraft to the moon include Japan, Europe, China and India. These probes are also featured in the image.
The font used in the project is Futura, the same font used on the plaque that was fixed to the Apollo 11 lunar module Eagle, which read:
“HERE MEN FROM THE PLANET EARTH FIRST SET FOOT UPON THE MOON JULY 1969, A.D. WE CAME IN PEACE FOR ALL MANKIND”
This served as the inspiration for our project, The Moon For All Mankind.
Download The Moon for all Mankind images
Animation on YouTube
HQ animation on YouTube
The Hitchhiker's guide to the moon