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Q. Why were some spacecraft called Apollo? — Gemma S.
A. Apollo was the messenger of the Greek gods.
Among the myths of the ancient Greeks, Apollo was a god, the son of the god Zeus and Leto, and the twin brother of the goddess Artemis.
Apollo also was known as Delian, a name derived from Delos, where he was born. And he was known as Pythian, from his killing of the fabled python which guarded a shrine on Mount Parnassus. In the legends of Homer, Apollo gave the gift of prophecy to Trojan princess Cassandra.
Apollo was a gifted musician, a master archer and a swift athlete. He was protector of young men, god of agriculture, and god of light and truth. He was said to have taught humans the art of healing. He was a messenger for the gods.
In our time, Apollo was the name NASA gave to a space program which sent astronauts to the Moon between 1969-72. The six pairs of astronauts who walked on the Moon during the Apollo project were known as Apollo astronauts. The project was named for the Greek god.
The kind of huge rocket the Apollo astronauts used to fly to the Moon was known as Saturn. The small capsule in which they landed on the Moon was known as LEM which was short for Lunar Excursion Module.
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