As Madeline pointed out yesterday, today marks the 50th anniversary of human space flight. On April 12, 1961, Russian Yuri Gagarin was launched into orbit to become the first man in space. Gagarin spent 108 minutes traveling around the Earth in the Vostok 1 spacecraft before returning home.
Today’s Google logo celebrates Gagarin’s achievement, sporting a fairly simple design with a retro propaganda poster feel. Interestingly, this is the second Doodle to honor Gagarin; on April 12, 2007, Google celebrated the 46th anniversary of the cosmonaut’s triumph. The 2007 Doodle was not animated, but today’s Doodle launches a rocket when you hover over it with your mouse. Your toddlers are sure to be endlessly amused by watching the spaceship blast off, and your older children might be interested to learn about some of the following space facts, courtesy of NASA:
- Alan Shepard became the first American to fly in space on May 5, 1961, just a few weeks after Gagarin.
- Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon on July 20, 1969.
- Twenty years to the day of Gagarin’s first flight, NASA launched space shuttle Columbia. It was the first time in history a new spacecraft was launched on its maiden voyage with a crew aboard.
- The average space shuttle is longer than three school buses and weighs more than 13 elephants!
- The combined mileage for all five NASA orbiters that have carried astronauts is over 513 million miles – enough distance to reach Jupiter.
You can learn more about space shuttles on NASA’s amazing website, honoring 30 years of shuttle flights.
Source and Image: Search Engine Roundtable