Who: Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first of twelve to walk on the Moon.
What: First manned landings on the surface of the Moon.
Where: Sea of Tranquility, the Moon.
Why: Part of the Space Race, national prestige at beating Russians.
When: 20th July 1969, 20:18 UTC.
“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” – Neil Armstrong’s first words on the lunar surface.
The Moon landings were one of the most defining moments in human history. Fulfilling the national goal set by John F Kennedy to ‘land a man on the Moon and return him safely’ before the end of the decade, the landings inspired billions, and heralded the greatest success of the human race. Launching from Kennedy Space Center on July 16, the Lunar Module (LM) carrying Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin separated from the Command Service Module (CSM), leaving Michael Collins in orbit, and touched down just after 8pm UTC on the 20th July 1969. They stayed on the lunar surface for just over twenty hours before taking off, rejoining Collins and the CSM and returning to Earth, leaving behind various paraphernalia, including a US flag (now bleached white by the solar radiation) and a commemorative plaque (just in case aliens can read English). In part due to the magnitude of the event, many conspiracy theories debating the landings’ authenticity have sprung up, despite the logical explanations to their claimed discrepancies, and having forgotten the notion that the Soviets were monitoring it and accepted and congratulated the landings, even with all their high-tech tracking equipment, and that millions of people saw the three astronauts get into a rocket over thirty-five stories tall and blast off into the sky, and return several days later in a burned up space capsule.