Moon - first foot steps

On 20 July 1969, a man first set foot on the Moon. It was an American foot, belonging to Commander Neil Armstrong of the Apollo 11 mission, who uttered the famous words, 'That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind'. Preparations had included a ten-orbit flight round the Moon by Apollo 8 in December 1969, and a 'dress rehearsal' in which Apollo 10's Lunar Excursion Module came within 16 kilometres of the Moon's surface during four orbits, in May 1969.

Neil Armstrong and Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin, pilot of the Apollo 11 LEM, set up measuring equipment on the Moon's surface. They collected 22 kilograms of rock and soil samples for analysis back on Earth. Because lunar gravity is only one sixth that of Earth's, the first Moon-walkers felt as if they were moving in slow motion. After 2 hours on the Moon's surface, Armstrong and Aldrin returned to the LEM. They had a short sleep and then launched the LEM back up into lunar orbit. It docked with the orbiting command module piloted by Michael Collins and returned to Earth.