Buzz Aldrin walking on the Moon, 20th July 1969

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Buzz Aldrin walking on the moon.
Photograph taken by Neil A. Armstrong of Buzz Aldrin walking on the surface of the Moon. July 20th, 1969.
Credit: NASA // Public Domain

Just 19 minutes after Neil Armstrong’s famous message to Earth: “that’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” Buzz Aldrin became the second man to step foot on the Moon. After two hours and fifteen minutes on the Moon’s surface, the two astronauts spent the night in the Sea of Tranquility crater inside the space module ‘Eagle’. During this time the two astronauts planted the U.S. flag, captured images of the terrain, including pictures of each other, and spoke to President Nixon. 

Apollo 11 was the first successful crewed lunar landing mission. While Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong are immortalized as the first men on the Moon, they had a third crew member Michael Collins (1930-2021) who remained in orbit on the command module as the ‘Eagle’ descended onto the surface. Overall, it took 76 hours for the command module to reach the Moon and a further almost 71 hours to turn to Earth. Upon returning, the crew of Apollo 11 had to be quarantined for 3 months due to fears of a ‘Moon plague’. 

The Moon landing was a feat of engineering, with an estimated workforce of 400,000 integral workers involved in the Apollo missions. An awesome achievement that took place only 66 years after the Wright Brothers had invented the first successful motor-operated airplane. To display the significance of this, some parts of the original Wright Flyer were inside the space shuttle, showing the monumental progress that humans had made in flight in the 20th Century.

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