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Tranquility Base (Latin: Statio Tranquillitatis) was the name given by American astronaut Neil Armstrong to the landing site on the moon where the Apollo 11 Lunar Module Eagle made the first moon landing, and thus where humans first walked on another world.
The lunar coordinates of Tranquility Base are 00°41′15″N, 23°26′00″E, in the south-western corner of the lunar plain called the Sea of Tranquility (Mare Tranquillitatis), near the craters Sabine and Ritter, and a rille unofficially called "U.S. Highway Number 1".
Armstrong appears to have created the name on his own. His use of "Tranquility Base" surprised NASA Mission Control personnel, who had not heard it before. During simulations, the crew always referred to themselves and their vessel as "Eagle", both before and after landing.
Unlike most names bestowed on lunar landmarks by Apollo astronauts, the International Astronomical Union officially recognizes the designation "Tranquility Base". It is listed on lunar maps as Statio Tranquillitatis, in order to fit with the Latin names that are ubiquitous on lunar maps.
As the site of the first human landing on a heavenly body, Tranquility Base has cultural and historic significance. The U.S. states of California and New Mexico have listed it on their heritage registers, since their laws require only that listed sites have some connection to the state. Despite the location of Mission Control in Houston, Texas declined to grant similar status to the site as its historic preservation laws limit such designations to properties located within the state.
The U.S. National Park Service has declined to grant it National Historic Landmark status as it fears doing so would be a violation of the Outer Space Treaty's prohibition on any nation claiming sovereignty over the moon or any other heavenly body. It has not been proposed as a World Heritage Site since the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which oversees that program, limits nations to submitting sites within their own borders.
Interest in according the site some formal protection related to its historic status grew four decades later when the Google Lunar X Prize for private corporations that successfully build spacecraft and reach the moon. A $1 million bonus has been offered for any competitor that visits a historic site on the moon. One team, led by Astrobotic Technology, announced it would attempt to land a craft at Tranquility Base. Although it canceled those plans, the ensuing controversy led NASA to request that any other missions to the moon, private or governmental, human or robotic, keep a distance of at least 75 meters (246 ft) from the site.
- (Spoken just after touchdown) Armstrong: "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed." — Capcom Charles Duke: "Roger, Twan... [correcting himself] Tranquility. We copy you on the ground. You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We're breathing again. Thanks a lot." Jones, Eric M. (1995). "The First Lunar Landing - Corrected Transcript and Commentary". NASA. Retrieved 2009-07-15.
- Failure is Not an Option. History, 24 August 2003.
- Chang, Kenneth (January 10, 2012). "To Preserve History on the Moon, Visitors Are Asked to Tread Lightly". The New York Times. Retrieved January 11, 2012.
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