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The incredible Journey of Mankind to the Moon

It was 45 years ago, on July 16, 1969, that Apollo 11 was launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to the moon, and the history books. It was the first time man would stand on another planet, and despite the fact that it's the closest one to us, the mission was, and still is, an amazing feat.

Apollo 11
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The Saturn V rocket that carried the astronauts into space was 363 feet (100 meter) tall and weighed 6.4 million pounds (2.9 million kilograms). It was the largest production model of the Saturn family of rockets.

Apollo 11
Flickr: nasacommons

Thousands of reporters showed up to watch the launch of Apollo 11. It was a media event that had the whole world watching and hoping for its successes.

Apollo 11
Flickr: nasacommons /creative commons

Many people camped out to see the launch, it was a chance to see history in the making.

Apollo 11
Flickr: nasacommons

The Apollo 11 crew included Commander Neil Armstrong (left), Command Module Pilot Michael Collins (center), and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin (right).

Apollo 11
Flickr: nasacommons /creative commons

Edwin Aldrin, who legally changed his first name to Buzz after the mission, shows the interior of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module prior to landing on the moon. The picture was taken by Armstrong shortly after take-off.

Apollo 11
Flickr: nasacommons

The lunar module in the picture was known as “Eagle”, giving us the famous line "the Eagle has landed". It separated from the “Columbia” command module on July 20.

Apollo 11
Flickr: nasacommons /creative commons

The Eagle landed on July 20 and man first walked on the moon. According to the original mission plan, the astronauts were to take a five hour rest after landing, but they couldn’t sleep and got ready to go outside instead. Luckily for them, there was no one around to put them to bed.

Apollo 11
Flickr: nasacommons /creative commons

Armstrong and Aldrin were the first people to walk on the moon in July 21. This picture, taken by Armstrong, shows Aldrin outside the lunar module “Eagle” after the landing. During this time, Michael Collins was still on the “Columbia”, traveling around to the dark side of the moon. During the 48 minutes of each orbit he was out of radio contact with Earth, he was the loneliest man in the history of mankind.

Apollo 11
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The astronauts conducted experiments on the lunar surface and explored the Sea of Tranquility. One of the pictures they took was of this footprint, to show the mark they have made on the moon. In 2009, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter took high resolution pictures of the surface. The footprints were still there and still easily seen.

Apollo 11
Flickr: nasacommons /creative commons

The astronauts spent about two and a half hours on the surface. Not a lot when you think of all the time and effort it took to get there, but for the astronauts it felt like eternity.

Apollo 11
Flickr: nasacommons

The three astronauts splashed down southwest of Hawaii in July 24, 1969. There was much fear that they would not make it back alive and the President even had a special speech prepared.

Apollo 11
Flickr: nasacommons

The astronauts were greeted as heroes and had many parades and events in their honor. In total, they visited 24 countries and 27 cities in 45 days, 45 years ago.

Apollo 11
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