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When the astronauts of the Apollo 11 mission returned to Earth, they had almost 22 kilograms of rock from the surface of the moon in their baggage. Josef Zähringer from the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg was one of the first researchers allowed to analyze the material in the US. Two months later, Heinrich Wänke's team at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz also received a grain.
Thursday, September 18, 1969, late afternoon. At Frankfurt airport, a pale, tired-looking man gets off the plane. His name: Dr. Hans Voshage. His destination: the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry. In his carry-on luggage: 105.9 grams of moon. Value: priceless. Voshage now embarks on the final stage of his trip, the drive to Mainz. It is less than 48 hours since he left Mainz to jet off to Houston, Texas, to pick up the valuable cargo and bring it to Germany. On the evening of September 18, 1969, Voshage enters the institute where the impatient Director Heinrich Wänke and his staff are waiting for him. It takes only a few minutes for the scientists to begin with their first measurements. The second exploration of the moon commences.
Flashback - Sunday - July - Central - Time
Flashback: Sunday, July 20, 1969, 9:18 p.m. Central European Time. With its last drop of fuel, the Eagle lunar module touches down in the Sea of Tranquility. A few hours later, Neil Armstrong is the first human being to set foot on the moon, followed 20 minutes later by Buzz Aldrin. Six hundred million people watch the fuzzy television pictures that show two grainy figures skipping across the screen like kangaroos in slow motion. In the studios of the Westdeutscher Rundfunk broadcasting station in Cologne, Heinrich Wänke watches the screen. The scientist is one of the experts presenting the "giant leap for mankind"...
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