July 16, 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11 mission, the first spaceflight that landed humans on the moon. It was a breathtaking engineering and logistical achievement.
On 20th July 1969, the Lunar Module (nicknamed Eagle) touched down the moon after a stressful final few minutes. About four hours later, Neil Armstrong stepped out, just before 11 p.m. ET on the 20th, a Sunday. He was outside for about 2.5 hours, with Buzz Aldrin joining him for about 1.5 hours. They were on the moon for 21 hours, 36 minutes.
Venturing no more than 300 feet from the Module, and working under a 200-degree sun, Armstrong and Aldrin, like tourists everywhere, took lots of photos and video, and gathered souvenirs in the form of moon rocks and soil samples. They also set up a couple of rudimentary experiments, one to measure seismic activity and another as a target for Earth-based lasers to measure the Earth-moon distance precisely. They left behind an American flag, some of the most famous footprints in history, a coin-size silicon disc etched with messages from world leaders and a small plaque
saying “We came in peace for all mankind.”
The Apollo 11 crew brought back 22 kg of lunar material, including rocks, modest core samples and that dusty lunar soil. Those moon rocks and other samples, from all the Apollo missions, helped scientists get a better understanding of the moon’s origins .
Even half a century later, this accomplishment is one of the most significant ones in all of human history.