Apollo 11: the first humans on the moon

On July 20 1969, American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin became the first people to walk on the Moon. They had arrived in lunar orbit the day before with the third member of the Apollo 11 mission, Michael Collins, after a three-day flight from Earth. 

Collins stayed in lunar orbit aboard the command module Columbia while Armstrong and Aldrin descended to the surface in the lunar module Eagle.

They spent a little less than a day on the surface, of which about 2 and a half hours was spent outside the lunar module. Their moonwalks took them no more than 100 metres away from the vehicle.

After the astronauts returned safely to Earth, another five NASA crewed lunar missions followed in their footsteps. The last, Apollo 17, landed on December 14 1972.

No human has been back since.

The Russian space agency Roscosmos has announced plans for a mission around 2030. NASA, meanwhile, has turned its eyes to Mars.

Buzz Aldrin climbs down the steps of the lunar module. Credit: NASA
Buzz Aldrin prepares to deploy some scientific equipment. The Passive Seismic Experiments Package is in his left hand; the Laser Ranging Retro-Reflector is in his left. Credit: NASA
Buzz Aldrin after deploying the science packages. In the background is the lunar module Eagle. Credit: NASA
Buzz Aldrin poses for a photograph beside the United States flag. Eagle is on the left, and the footprints of the astronauts are clearly visible in the soil of the moon. Credit: NASA
This is the only photograph of Neil Armstrong on the moon – most of the time he was behind the camera. He was snapped by Buzz Aldrin in the process of taking a series of panoramic photos. Credit: NASA
Back to Buzz Aldrin. Armstrong can be seen here, too, if you look closely: reflected in the mirror-like visor of Aldrin’s spacesuit. Credit: NASA
A footprint, one of Buzz Aldrin’s, left behind on the Moon. Credit: NASA

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