To the moon

On this day in 1969, Apollo 11 blasted off from Cape Kennedy on the first manned mission to the surface of the moon. Commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin landed the Apollo Lunar Module Eagle on July 20, 1969, at 20:17 UTC, and Armstrong became the first person to step onto the Moon’s surface six hours and 39 minutes later, on July 21 at 02:56 UTC. Aldrin joined him 19 minutes later, and they spent about two and a quarter hours together exploring the site they had named Tranquility Base upon landing. Armstrong and Aldrin collected 47.5 pounds (21.5 kg) of lunar material to bring back to Earth as pilot Michael Collins flew the Command Module Columbia in lunar orbit. After rejoining Columbia, they returned to Earth and splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on July 24 after more than eight days in space.