UNLESS you have been living on the Moon, so to speak, for the past few weeks you will know that today is the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the Moon.

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin Jnr became the first human beings to set foot on our nearest celestial body.

Millions of words have since been written about their mission, and hours upon hours of documentaries have been made about every aspect of the Apollo project. There really isn’t anything left to tell about Apollo 11, so we’re not going to bother with the details that have been recounted ad nauseam and ad infinitum. Being The National, we are going to do things differently.

DON’T be daft, though in a very real sense, the Moon landings did have an effect on Scotland.

But after we tell of the admittedly tenuous link between Scotland and that magnificent Apollo achievement, we at The National are going to relate one rather important aspect of the story.

READ MORE: Moon landing links to Scotland highlighted by VisitScotland map

For at the heart of the history is an inscrutable object that has yet to yield all its many secrets – the Moon. Thus the subject of today’s profile, dear readers, is the Moon itself.

LET’S get the “kilt” out of the way first. Neil Armstrong was proud of the fact that his ancestors hailed from Scotland – from Langholm, in fact, though the family originated in County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland.

Maybe it was that touch of the Borders Reivers in his DNA that made Armstrong, if we can paraphrase the Marquess of Montrose, dare to put his all to the touch and win it all. He could and probably should have aborted the landing, but he went for it in the final seconds and made history.

The National:

In 1972, he came to the Muckle Toon to be made its first Freeman. Armstrong told his adoring audience: “The most difficult place to be recognised is in one’s own home town, and I consider this now my home town.”

A global superstar, Armstrong was actually a mild-mannered, reserved man who made few public appearances, but he went out of his way to visit Langholm and won himself a nation of fans.

THE Apollo programme gave the US an undoubted lead in the space race, but the USSR, China and Europe began to catch up, with other nations also anxious to get a share of the space action.

Thanks to the European efforts in particular, Scotland now has a growing investment in space and a thriving space-related industry.

READ MORE: Moon landing: BBC broadcaster nearly talked over Neil Armstrong

Earlier this year the UK Government’s Department for International Trade announced that the Scottish space sector is projected to be worth up to £4 billion by 2030.

The UK Government said it so it must be true: “Scotland’s space industry comprises a significant proportion of space endeavours in the UK as a whole, valued at £15bn, and is growing at a rate of 3.3% per annum. Nearly 20% of the UK’s 41,900 space sector jobs are based in Scotland.”

Glasgow builds more small satellites than any other city in Europe. Sutherland will be the home of the UK’s first spaceport, and of now, according to the industry’s promoters, “the space industry in Scotland has over 130 organisations, with 7600 employees at the cutting edge of their specialisms – backed by strong relationships with researchers in Scottish universities and research pools.”

WITH active plans to set up colonies on the Moon, it is inevitable that one day, a Scot will set foot on our satellite.

It could be you, so here’s what you need to know about the Moon.

THE Moon orbits the Earth at an average distance of 384,402km (238,856m) or 1.28 light seconds – the nearest star, Alpha Centauri is 4.3 light years away.

In space terms, the distance from the Earth to the Moon is infinitesimally small.

The National:

The Moon was most probably formed by a huge impact from another celestial body, known as Theia, smashing material away from the still-forming Earth some 4.5bn years ago – the so-called giant impact theory.

The Moon is in synchronous rotation with the Earth so that we always see only one side. Its very presence and gravitational pull gives us one huge feature of life on Earth – tides.

The Moon has an iron-rich inner core, and a crust which is on average 50km (31m) thick. Lacking an atmosphere – we still don’t really know why – the Moon is heavily cratered as there is nothing to burn up meteorites. There are some 300,000 craters visible from Earth.

The surface of the Moon is made up of compounds such as silica – the most common chemical composition at 45% of the surface – and alumina, lime and iron oxide.

No water exists on the surface, but scientists hope to find evidence of ice buried in lunar rocks and mountains.

The Moon’s gravity is about one-sixth that of Earth. Therefore, anyone heading out to the Moon who weighs 100kgs will weigh only 17kgs when they get there. Moon travel is not recommended as a dietary method, as you have to come back to Earth and immediately regain all that weight.