At 10:56p.m., July 20, 1969, Neil A. Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the surface of the moon. The entire planet watched as Armstrong came down the ladder of the lunar landing module. They watched the first step on the moon by a human via a small television that was mounted on the side of the lander.
Upon descending that last step, Armstrong uttered that famous line “That’s one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind.”
Minutes later, Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. also descended the same ladder and became the second human to set foot on the celestial body.
Neither astronaut encountered difficulty in moving around the surface, but the fine dust did cling to the space suits and, consequently, made a bit of a mess inside the lander.
The landing itself was a bit harrowing for both mission control and the astronauts. Problems with the landing radar forced Armstrong to land the craft manually. The landing was nearly a disaster, with only thirty seconds of fuel remaining in the tanks.
Among the highlights of the astronauts stay on the moon were planting the American flag, gathering rock and soil samples, and the longest long distance phone call placed by then President Richard M. Nixon. The two also placed several scientific instruments and a reflector that was designed to reflect laser beams back to earth for measuring the distance between the earth and the moon. Ironically, 39 years after it was placed there by Armstrong and Aldrin, the reflector was used to prove that the two men had actually set foot on the moon.
Armstrong and Aldrin spent a total of 21 hours on the moon before reuniting with the Columbia and Michael Collins. The three astronauts returned to earth on July 24 and brought with them 46 pounds of lunar rocks.
This feat is the second most important event in human history. What’s the first? Well, I’d say that has to be the invention of the printing press. Without the printing press, nothing that has happened since could have happened.