FILE - In this July 20, 1969 file photo provided by NASA shows astronaut Edwin E.
FILE - In this July 20, 1969 file photo provided by NASA shows astronaut Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin Jr. posing for a photograph beside the U.S. flag deployed on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. Aldrin and fellow astronaut Neil Armstrong were the first men to walk on the lunar surface. The trio was launched to the moon by a Saturn V launch vehicle at 9:32 a.m. EDT, July 16, 1969. They departed the moon July 21, 1969. (AP Photo/NASA, Neil Armstrong, File) Neil Armstrong

Why there's Rainbow Beach sand sitting on the moon

WE ALL love to walk along the fine sands of Rainbow Beach, but not many people would know the sand's link to Neil Armstrong's historic first ever moon walk  50 years ago.

Rutile extracted from Cooloola Coast sand deposits back in the '60s had gone into the manufacture of titanium used on the Apollo 11 space craft.

In fact the spindly legs of the lunar module made from our Wide Bay sand, were the first part of the craft to touch the moon and are still up there today.

At the time about 90 per cent of the world's titanium came from Australia.

Queensland Titanium Mines Pty Ltd at Rainbow Beach filled a large part of the export market ensuring our place in space history.

Titanium made from the Wide Bay's sand was used to build the Apollo 11 command ship Columbia, its lunar module lander Eagle and the Saturn five rocket that put the men into orbit.

The space capsules heat shield that protected the craft during re-entry into the earth's atmosphere was also made of titanium alloys.

Sand mining ceased at Rainbow Beach in the mid-1970s due to environmental concerns.

Gympie Times


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