Student Features

Apollo Moon Landing -- 35th Anniversary
Thirty-five years ago astronaut Neil Armstrong did something no one had ever done before. On July 20, 1969, he set foot on the moon. People around the world watched and listened as Neil slowly climbed down the ladder of the lunar lander. Then, he stepped on the moon's surface where he could look up and see Earth far above him. There he said these well-known words, "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."

Apollo 11 35th Anniversary mission patch
Image above: This patch was created in celebration of the 35th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. Credit: NASA 
In 1961, U.S. President John F. Kennedy had a challenge for NASA. The challenge was to land a man on the moon before the end of the decade (before 1970). The race to meet his goal would require the greatest technological achievement the world has ever seen. The first Apollo missions were spent getting ready for the moon landing. Apollo 8 and Apollo 10 even flew all the way to the moon, around it, and back to Earth. Finally, everything was ready. On July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. They traveled to the moon and arrived in lunar orbit on July 19.

The Apollo 11 astronauts in their spacesuits sitting in front of a large picture of the Moon
Image above: Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin. Credit: NASA 
Neil Armstrong was the first astronaut to step on the moon. He was soon joined by Buzz Aldrin. The two astronauts spent 21 hours on the moon. They did experiments and took pictures. They also brought back 46 pounds of moon rocks.

After their stay on the moon, they blasted off in the top part of the lunar lander. They docked with "Columbia," the Command Module. Columbia was piloted by astronaut Michael Collins who stayed in orbit around the moon waiting for Neil and Buzz. Finally, all three astronauts rode back to the Earth in Columbia. They splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on July 24, 1969.

Sign left on the moon has a picture of the Earth's eastern and western hemispheres
Image to left: While on the moon Neil and Buzz planted a United States flag and left a sign that read, "Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon July 1969, A.D. We came in peace for all mankind."
Credit: NASA 

Learn even more about the Apollo 11 mission by visiting NASAexplores.
+ View site
Adapted from Landing on the Moon
Aldrin and Armstrong with the U.S. flag on the Moon
Apollo 11 Gallery
See close-up pictures of the first moon landing mission.
+ View
Photograph of the Earth taken from the Moon via Apollo 11 mission
Apollo 11 Video
See the launch, landing and return in this short video.
+ View
+ Download viewer
Astronauts in parade after they returned from the Moon
Apollo 11 Photo Index
This collection includes photos from a parade for the astronauts after they returned from the Moon.
+ View
A boot making an imprint in the Moon's dust
One Giant Leap for Mankind
See the first steps taken on the Moon as people on Earth saw them on TV.
+ View
+ View text version
+ Download viewer
Cartoon drawing of a lunar module landing
The Eagle Has Landed
Watch this video of the Eagle landing on the Moon.
+ View
+ View text version
+ Download viewer