EARTH - July 20 marks the 45th anniversary of perhaps the greatest achievement of man.
On this date in 1969, three astronauts were orbiting the moon. Mission commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin had blasted off from Earth three days earlier, aboard Apollo 11. Their mission was to become the first human beings to set foot on the moon.
That mission was completed on the 20th of July 1969 when Wapakoneta native Armstrong stepped off the lunar module onto the surface of the moon.
As he took the final step from the LEM, Armstrong said, “That’s one small step for man. One, giant leap for mankind.”
Armstrong and Aldrin spent some 15 hours on the moon, gathering samples of the lunar surface and perhaps most important to those of us still on planet Earth, taking photographs.
The mission proved the ingenuity of man, taking a rocket ship to the moon, just 66 years after the Wright Brothers’ historic first heavier-than-air flight and less than ten years since then-President John F. Kennedy challenged Americans to, send a man to the moon and return him safely to Earth, before the decade was out.
Forty-Five years have passed since Armstrong left that first human footprint on the moon but it still stands as man’s most significant achievement.