As we approach the 46th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, let us take a moment to look at 16 rarely-seen photos from just before take-off to returning to Earth as heroes.
Nearly half a century since Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first human beings to set foot on a celestial body that wasn’t Earth, the Apollo 11 mission still captivates the hearts and minds of all those who love looking up at the stars.
Despite the belief that some hold that space has failed to captivate a global audience in the same way since the Apollo 17, the final Apollo mission in 1972, recent events have somewhat challenged this belief.
Just this week, for the first time in history mankind has been able to look at the surface of our solar system’s most distant former planet, Pluto, which rather than make everyone tune into their TVs, saw people go online and witness the first photos released on social media.
Likewise, in November 2014, the European Space Agency (ESA) became the first organisation to, somewhat successfully at least, land a spacecraft on a comet hurtling through space and send us back scientific data, which was equally heralded as a major achievement online and in traditional media.
Back in 1969, there was no social media of course, but the then relatively recent availability of satellite TV was enough to broadcast three feeds across the world and to a reported 125m people in the US alone.
So in honour of the achievements of NASA, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, here are 16 pretty incredible photos giving insight into their mission.
All images are courtesy of the NASA Project Apollo Archive.
Apollo 11 team doing a complete test run days prior to the launch on 20 July 1969
Getting to grips with the lunar lander
Apollo 11 ready for take-off
The eagle has landed…
A heroes’ welcome … behind quarantine
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