Today in history: First man on the Moon

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Courtesy of NASA

On lunar soil: Buzz Aldrin’s boot print on the surface of the moon on July 20, 1969.

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong said his famous words while taking his first steps on the Moon, “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”
The Apollo 11 crew made history on this day, 52 years ago, when they landed and stepped foot on the surface of the Moon. This mission completed a promise made by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 in the midst of the Space Race.

“This nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before the decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the earth,” said President Kennedy during a speech on May 25, 1961.
Apollo 11s crew included Neil Armstrong as the Commander, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. as the Lunar Module Pilot and Michael Collins as the Command Module Pilot.
This legendary mission officially launched on July 16, 1969, at 9:32 a.m. EDT, from Cape Kennedy in Florida.
It took four days for the crew to successfully land on the Moon. NASA estimates that a total of 650 million people watched as Armstrong took his first steps on the Moon.
According to NASA, Armstrong and Aldrin spent 21 hours and 36 minutes on the surface of the Moon.
Take-off from the Moon was initiated and Apollo 11 entered a lunar orbit until re-entry efforts began on July 24.
The three astronauts successfully landed in the Pacific Ocean later that same day and went into a 21-day quarantine following their return to Earth.
This quarantine would allow the three history-makers to recover and ensure that no illnesses would arise.
Apollo 11 made history and unlocked great knowledge of the Moon. Some of the samples brought back to Earth were over three billion years old.
The astronauts on the mission made history and are still seen as American heroes to this day.
For more images from the Apollo 11 mission, click here.