Have you heard the phrase, "That's one small step for man, one giant step for mankind?" There is perhaps no greater achievement for humankind than the Apollo 11 moon landing that saw two astronauts achieve a task previously thought to be impossible. The moon landing effectively spurred scientific advancements, opened up the possibilities for space exploration, and boosted the United States in its global competition with the Soviet Union.
Apollo 11 led to five more successful lunar landing missions that allowed for more insight to be gleaned about the complexities of space. However, the Apollo program was an incredibly costly and laborious endeavor that involved more than 400,000 engineers, scientists, and technicians. It is estimated that this program cost an astounding $28 billion - roughly $280 billion in today's dollars.
If you've ever wondered what it was like for the people watching history unfold before their eyes, or for the astronauts involved in the act itself, these firsthand accounts of the moon landing may finally answer your questions.
- 110 VOTES
Buzz Aldrin's First Thought When Looking Back At Earth From The Moon Was 'Magnificent Desolation'
From Redditor u/BuzzAldrinHere:
My first words of my impression of being on the surface of the Moon that just came to my mind was "magnificent desolation." The magnificence of human beings, humanity, Planet Earth, maturing the technologies, imagination, and courage to expand our capabilities beyond the next ocean, to dream about being on the Moon, and then taking advantage of increases in technology and carrying out that dream - achieving that is a magnificent testimony to humanity.
From Redditor u/BuzzAldrinHere:
[When asked, "what went through your head when you first looked back and saw the Earth from space?]
"Where are the billions and billions and billions of people, on what I'm looking at? We're the only 3 that are not back there."
And we didn't get to celebrate. Because we were out of town.
- 25 VOTES
Seeing The Launch Inspired People To Take Up Careers In The Army
From Redditor u/OldRedleg:
My Dad took me to watch the launch. We stood near the countdown clock and watched it go. I remember the feeling of the sound like it was yesterday. I later made a career in Missile and Rocket Artillery with the US Army.
- 39 VOTES
Excited Parents Made Sure The Importance Of The Moon Landing Was Noted
From Redditor u/4JawChuck:
My Dad was very excited, and I remember him holding me to watch it and him telling me that the future holds all kinds of new discoveries and promises.
From Redditor u/GopherBrokes:
Sounds like my dad. The moon landing was so important to him that he proceeded to film the TV screen with an 8mm movie camera.
From Redditor u/mellotronworker:
I was four and was hauled out of my bed by my parents at 3 a.m. (UK time) to watch it. It was spellbinding.
- 45 VOTES
Some Were Unimpressed With How Long It Took
From Redditor u/peg72:
I was eight, and I thought it took a f****** long time after a lot of build-ups. They orbited the moon for days and days before daring to actually land on it.
From Redditor u/brucemo:
I had just turned six years old when Apollo 11 landed on the moon....
When the Eagle finally landed, the television coverage was in grainy black and white with fuzzy audio, and I was not impressed. I remember the day, but my recollection of the coverage was that it was a letdown for six-year-old me.
- 55 VOTES
A Few Deemed It To Be Mankind's Greatest Accomplishment
From Redditor u/Progman3K:
Even though I was a child, I instinctively realized its importance. Even as a child, I knew it was mankind's greatest accomplishment.
From a former Redditor:
This is a good one if you're thinking of man's greatest "enabler" achievement. If you just line everything up side by side without regard to "what allowed for what," the internet probably wins. Or the space age\moon landing stuff... the ability to leave our planet is pretty significant.
From Redditor u/PJL:
To me, man's greatest achievement is the moon landing. But we couldn't have done that without advanced mathematics and engineering, which we couldn't have done without language or agriculture.
From Redditor u/Taurus65:
In the context of the time, this achievement can never be repeated.
- 64 VOTES
It Was Believed it Would Be The Beginning Of Future Space Exploration
From Redditor u/windy444:
I thought that this was going to finally be the beginning of further space travel and that Mars would be the second step in 10 to 15 years. Given that it took about 10 years to get to the moon, Mars would only take a little longer. Who knew that economics would get in the way?