On this day, 42 years ago, American astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon.
On July 20, 1969, American astronaut, test pilot, and aerospace engineer Neil Armstrong made history 240,000 miles from Earth. He became the first man to set foot and walk on the moon, and told billions of listeners at home the memorable message: “That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Neil Armstrong was the Commander of the Apollo 11 mission, and journeyed to the moon along with Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr. The world watched as the three astronauts took off from Kennedy Space Center on the morning of July 16. After travelling for 76 hours, the Apollo 11 entered the moon’s orbit on July 19. The next day, the Eagle, the lunar module manned by Armstrong and Aldrin, detached from the command module Columbia and began descent to the moon’s surface.
What followed was one of man’s most iconic accomplishments in the history of space exploration: the lunar module’s touchdown on the southwestern portion of the Sea of Tranquility, and Armstrong’s famous radio message, “The Eagle has landed.”
The mission’s commander ascended from the spacecraft first, followed by Buzz Aldrin, and together they walked around the moon’s surface, did some simple tests, and of course, photographed the terrain using a 70mm Hasselblad camera. They also planted a flag of the United States and left some items on the moon, including a plaque that says, “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot on the moon—July 1969 A.D—We came in peace for all mankind.”
Now, it’s time for us to go back in time and take a look at some compelling photos of the historic trip to the moon by Neil Armstrong and company:
If you’re curious about Armstrong’s iconic photograph of Buzz Aldrin on the moon, head over to Influential Photographs: Man on the Moon, 1969 by Neil Armstrong!
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