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Man steps on the Moon, 20 July 1969 The Apollo 11 crew back on Earth, with their wives
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1. James Woudhuysen, 'Let’s go back to the moon — and beyond', 29 June 2009, posted on www.spiked-online.com

2. All images are from the Apollo Picture Gallery, posted on www.apolloarchive.com

3. Great Images in NASA, posted on http://grin.hq.nasa.gov

4. www.nasm.si.edu

click here for NASA imagesYuri Gagarin before launch of Vostok 1, 12 April 1961

Mankind dared to put a footprint on the Moon

That's a footprint for every human being to be proud of. Made by Neil Armstrong on the Moon, on 20 July 1969. He is sitting in the centre, after the success of the Apollo 11 mission, with Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin, and their wives. The wives are Janet Shearon Armstrong, Patricia Collins, and Joan Archer, married to Aldrin, who is playing with the shotgun. That first moonwalk was 40 years ago, and the last in December 1972 with Apollo 17. (1) Going back to inhabit the Moon and beyond it to Mars is now long overdue. That is a humanist ambition.

To plan to walk on the Moon was audacious. Of course to achieve the feat the Apollo 11 crew needed more support than their wives. They had widespread political commitment and the necessary resources behind them, organised by the flight and ground crews at NASA. The technology was important, but the social commitment was critical. In July 2009, when environmentalists in the developed world argue against such industrial and democratic daring, and criticise the human "footprint", it is important to celebrate experiment and achievement as inspiring as the Apollo 11 mission success. Humanity makes wonderful footprints.

Thanks to the excellent images made available by NASA's Project Apollo on the Apollo Picture Gallery, (2) the pictures tell the story...

Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins are selected to crew Apollo 11, in February 1969

Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins are selected to crew Apollo 11 for a Moon landing, in February 1969

The first stage of the Saturn 5 rocket for Apollo 11 is prepared

The first stage of the Saturn 5 rocket for Apollo 11 is prepared

Rocket scientist Werner von Braun July 1969

Rocket scientist Werner von Braun at NASA's Mission Control in July 1969, discussing the Apollo 11 mission

The Apollo 11 flight crew

The Apollo 11 flight crew in the NASA control room

The Apollo 11 flight controllers Charles Duke, Jim Lovell, and Fred Haise

Flight controllers Charles Duke, Jim Lovell, who would later lead the crew of Apollo 13, and Fred Haise

The Apollo 11 crew are prepared by the ground crew

The ground crew get Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins ready

Apollo 11 mission launch 16 July 1969

The Saturn 5 multi-stage rocket launches the Apollo 11 mission on 16 July 1969. There are other great images on GRIN. (3)

Earthrise

Earthrise

Neil Armstrong is first to step on the Moon, 20 July 1969

Neil Armstrong is first to step on the Moon, 20 July 1969

Buzz Aldrin leaving the Lunar Module, photographed by Neil Armstrong

The second man to walk on the Moon, Buzz Aldrin, leaving the Lunar Module, as photographed by Neil Armstrong

Buzz Aldrin walks on the Moon 20 July 1969

Buzz Aldrin walks on the Moon 20 July 1969

A footprint for every human being to be proud of

A footprint for every human being to be proud of

Apollo 11 Lunar Module, 20 July 1969

Lunar Module, 20 July 1969

The Lunar Module photographed from the Command Module on 21 July 1969

The Lunar Module photographed from the Command Module on 21 July 1969 before the return to Earth

The crescent Earth, photographed on the return journey

The crescent Earth, photographed on the return journey

Richard Nixon meets Armstrong, Collins, and Aldrin on the USS Hornet

Richard Nixon meets Armstrong, Collins, and Aldrin in quarantine on the USS Hornet, after a successful re-entry through the Earth's atmosphere and "splash down" in the Command Module

The Apollo 11 crew in the mobile quarantine unit are transferred from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet

The crew in the mobile quarantine unit are transferred from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet

The Apollo 11 crew are welcomed in New York

The Apollo 11 crew are welcomed in New York

The Apollo 11 Command Module is recovered for display at the National Air and Space Museum

The Apollo 11 Command Module is recovered for display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (4)

LIFE Special Edition, "To the Moon and Back", 1969

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