The night the world changed:
July 20, 1969 at 10:17:41pm EDT...

The photo below shows the Moon exactly the way it looked the night Neil Armstrong, from Wapakoneta, Ohio, became the first human to take steps on a world other than the Earth.  The landing site is labeled Apollo 11 and is located in the south-west quadrant of Mare Tranquillitatis (Sea of Tranquility).  The other five  successful landing sites are also indicated on the photo - Apollo 12, Apollo 14, Apollo 15, Apollo 16 and Apollo 17.  If you click on any of the named features in the photo (landing sites or Maria), you'll be taken to a Wikipedia entry for that feature.  If you click HERE you'll be taken to a NASA site where images posted on July 17, 2009 clearly show the Apollo landing sites.  These images have been taken with high-resolution cameras aboard the LRO (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter) currently orbiting the Moon.  The pictures show the Apollo missions' lunar module descent stages sitting on the moon's surface, as long shadows from a low sun angle make the modules' locations evident. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, or LROC, was able to image five of the six Apollo sites, with the remaining Apollo 12 site expected to be photographed in the coming weeks.

In the image below, all labeled features are clickable for additional information

The Moon, from Stow, OH on 7/20/1969 at 10:17:41pm EDT
when Ohio's own Neil Armstrong first stepped foot on another world.
The 35% illuminated waxing crescent Moon was at an altitude of 16 in the west-southwestern sky


Apollo 11 "Columbia"

NSSDC ID: 69-059A

First manned landing on another planet in Mare Tranquillitatis.  Six hours after landing at 4:17:41pm EDT, Ohio's own Neil A. Armstrong became the human to set foot on another world as he stepped off the Lunar Module, named "Eagle" onto the surface of the Moon.  His "small step for a man" allowed him to look up and see Earth in the heavens as no one had done before him. Neil was shortly joined by "Buzz" Aldrin, and the two astronauts spent 21 hours on the lunar surface. Aldrin's description of the Moon's stark landscape as a "magnificent desolation" was certainly fitting.

Armstrong reported "The surface is fine and powdery... I can pick it up loosely with my toe. It does adhere in fine layers like powdered charcoal to the sole and sides of my boots. I can only go in a small fraction of an inch."

The two walked on the moon for over 2 hours before leaving behind scientific equipment, a camera, and an American flag. Their liftoff from the surface of the moon with 46 pounds of lunar rocks was captured on a TV camera they left behind. They then successfully docked with Michael Collins in the Command Module "Columbia". The Lunar Module was jettisoned and the return journey to Earth began.

The Apollo astronauts traveled approximately 384,400 km reaching speeds of almost 12 km per second in order to land on the Earth's only satellite companion, the Moon.  In total, only 12 men have walked on its surface.


The Apollo 11 spacecraft was part of the first mission in which humans landed on the lunar surface and returned to earth. The spacecraft consisted of three modules -- a lunar module (LM), a command module (CM), and a service module, which was linked to the command module to form the command service module (CSM).  After the spacecraft orbited the moon, the LM and CSM separated.  Two astronauts in the LM (Commander Neil A. Armstrong and LM pilot Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin Jr.) landed on the lunar surface at the Sea of Tranquility (0.67 deg N latitude and 23.49 deg E longitude), while one (CM pilot Michael Collins) remained in lunar orbit in the command module. Scientific studies were performed, and soil and rock samples were acquired by the astronauts during a moonwalk. The men returned to the LM, docked the LM and the CSM, and returned to earth. The Apollo 11 spacecraft was launched on July 16, 1969 and was injected into lunar orbit on July 19. The LM (69-059C) landed on the moon on July 20, 1969 and returned to the command module on July 21.  The command module left lunar orbit on July 22 and returned to earth on July 24, 1969. A laser ranging retroreflector and a passive seismograph experiment were left on the moon. The performance of the spacecraft was excellent throughout the mission.

The Apollo 11 Command Module is on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

      Neil A. Armstrong, commander
      Michael Collins, command module pilot
      Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr., lunar module pilot

Launch Information:
      Launch Date/Time: 1969-07-16 at 13:32:01 UTC

Returned to Earth:
      1969-07-24 UT 16:50:35 (12:50:35 PM EDT)

Launch Site/Country:
      Cape Canaveral, United States

On-orbit dry mass:
      28860.00 kg

Launch Vehicle:
Saturn 5

Orbital Information:

Central Body:

Landed on Moon:
20 July 1969 UT 20:17:41 (04:17:41 PM EDT)

Landing Site:
Mare Tranquillitatis - Sea of Tranquility (040'26.69"N - 2328'22.69"E)

Epoch start date/time:
1969.200:00:00:00 (19 July)

Epoch end date/time:
1969.203:00:00:00 (22 July)

Orbital Period: 2.00 h

Project Manager
Lgen S. C. Phillips
Code MA
NASA Headquarters
Washington, DC 20546

Human Crew
Planetary Science
Sponsoring Agencies/Countries
            NASA-Office of Manned Space Flight/United States

Text Courtesy of The National Space Science Data Center


Date and Time of Lunar Landings for All the Manned Missions:

Apollo 11
     Sunday, 7/20/1969 20:17:40 UTC (4:17:40pm EDT)

Apollo 12
     Wednesday, 11/19/1969 06:54:35 UTC (1:54:35am EST)

Apollo 13 - Lunar landing was Cancelled due to an onboard explosion, but returned to Earth safely.
     Launched: Saturday, 4/11/1970 19:13:00 UTC (3:13:00pm EDT)

Apollo 14
     Friday, 2/5/1971 09:18:11 UTC (4:18:11am EST)

Apollo 15
     Friday, 7/30/1971 22:16:29 UTC (6:16:29pm EDT)

Apollo 16
     Friday, 4/21/1972 02:23:35 UTC (Thursday, 4/20/1972 at 10:23:35pm EDT)

Apollo 17
     Monday, 12/11/1972 19:54:57 UTC (2:54:57pm EST)

Note: "UTC" signifies "Universal Time, Coordinated", roughly equivalent to GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).
 UTC is the time system universally used in all astronomical calculations.



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