What We’re Watching: America Rules the Waves & An Istanbul Do-Over

US warships steaming toward Iran – A US aircraft carrier group is now headed to the Middle East following warnings from Washington that Iran and its proxy forces have given "troubling and escalatory" indications of a possible attack on US forces in the region. It's not immediately clear what these indications are, but we're certainly watching for any dangerous escalation in US-Iranian military tensions. Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw the US from the Iranian nuclear agreement.

The Istanbul Do-Over – Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wanted another chance to win local elections in Istanbul, and he'll get one on June 23. A Turkish court ruled on Monday that a previous vote, which the opposition won by a margin of about 14,000 votes out of more than 8 million cast on March 31, must be re-run. We'll be watching not only for the new election result but for how Erdogan, the opposition, and residents of Istanbul react to them – if you call a do-over, you better be sure to win when it's done over, right?

What We're Ignoring: The UK's Newest Royal & A Deep, Deep Hole

Baby Sussex – The Signal team sends hearty congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex—that's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle for all you Americans—on the birth of their first child, a boy. But given that this kid is only seventh in line of royal succession, he better be doing card tricks by Thursday or we won't have much further interest in him. (Trivia fans: per our friend Dave Lawler at Axios, seventh in line to the US presidency is Attorney General William Barr — how's that for an expert weaving of news flows?)

Jumping down the deepest hole on Earth – You probably know that there was a Cold War race to the moon, but less familiar is the fierce scramble to the center of the Earth. By the time the USSR fell, Soviet scientists had drilled the deepest hole in the planet, more than 7 miles under the Siberian tundra, in an unfinished bid to reach all the way to the earth's mantle. The Kola Superdeep Hole has been capped since then, but Japanese scientists now want to take the plunge. We are doing our best to ignore this extraordinary story, because we fall down WAY too many fascinating rabbit holes in our line of work as is...

Technology has played a big role in accelerating globalization. While it's our business to advance technology, we also believe that technology should respect and even help protect the world's timeless values. That conviction has led us to announce a new and fourth pillar to Microsoft's AI for Good portfolio – our $125 million, five-year commitment to use artificial intelligence to tackle some of society's biggest challenges. This new pillar will focus on AI for Cultural Heritage. Read more at Microsoft On The Issues.

China is poised to roll out a nationwide social credit scoring system by next year. What grade would you get?

"The Iranian people want to be South Korea, not North Korea" - Karim Sadjadpour sits down with Ian Bremmer.

This Saturday, July 20, will mark the 50-year anniversary of the day a human being first stepped onto another world. A moment born out of Cold War political pressures, it's easy to forget a half century later how much bitter controversy the project provoked at home and the intensity of the worldwide fanfare that followed its success.

The moon mission's primary purpose was to defeat the Soviet Union. By the time John Kennedy became president in 1961, the Soviet Union had advanced far ahead of the United States in the race for achievement in space. In October 1957, the Soviets launched Sputnik, the world's first satellite. A month later, a dog named Laika became the first living creature to travel beyond Earth's atmosphere. In April 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin orbited the Earth, the first human to do so.

In early May, Alan Shepard became the first American in space, spurring Kennedy to announce a far more ambitious plan. On May 25, Kennedy famously pledged that by the end of the decade Americans would go to the moon and return safely to the Earth.

Kennedy was assassinated in November 1963, but new President Lyndon Johnson quickly signaled his intention to see the promise kept. The Soviets held their space lead through 1965, by landing an unmanned craft on the Moon.

The moon mission stoked controversy in the United States. A review of polls reveals that only in 1969 did a majority of Americans support the project. Many people argued that the billions spent on a moonshot should go toward the war in Vietnam or to fight poverty in America's inner cities. "No hot water, no toilets, no lights. But Whitey's on the moon," sang musician and activist Gil Scott Heron. It didn't help when a fire during the Apollo 1 mission killed three astronauts and destroyed their space module.

But when Neil Armstrong became the first person to step onto the moon on July 20, 1969, the event took on a life of its own. It was a decade framed by two images of respected TV anchorman Walter Cronkite—shaken to the core on air by the 1963 murder of President Kennedy and then speechless with awe as Americans bounded across the surface of the moon.

A decade that included confrontation with the Soviets in Cuba, the assassinations of John Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and Robert Kennedy, a failing war in Vietnam, race riots in American cities, and violent chaos at the 1968 Democratic Party convention ended with an accomplishment a quarter million miles away, that was watched live by 94 percent of Americans who owned a TV.

Americans weren't the only ones watching. About 650 million people around the world watched the moon landing live on TV, making the event the first truly global televised event. Nine weeks later, astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins began a world tour.

Concerns that planting an American flag on the moon's surface would seem an act of obnoxious nationalism faded as the three men were greeted by overflow crowds in 27 cities in 24 countries over 39 days. An estimated one million people greeted them in Dhaka (then Pakistan) and some 1.5 million turned out in Mumbai (then Bombay).

Fifty years later, moon missions are still a mark of national prestige. Russia, China, India, the EU, Japan, and Israel have all sent probes to orbit the Moon or landed vehicles on its surface. But none of them matches that first "giant leap for mankind."

Next up: Mars? For thoughts on the next space race, click here.

Bonus fact: An iPhone has more than 100,000 times the processing power of the computer that landed Apollo 11 on the moon.