Neil Armstrong photographed just minutes after becoming the first man to walk on the moon, 1969

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the Moon, ushering in a new era on space exploration. We are often subjected to the standard shots taken by Buzz Aldrin of the gray, rocky surface, with some faceless spacemen standing still and posing. That's why this picture, which is rarely seen, is such an immaculate piece of history.

The form of pure joy, accomplishment, and disbelief is a testament to what mankind can achieve. Aldrin snapped this shot of a teary-eyed Armstrong, moments after returning to the spacecraft and removing his helmet.

His ecstasy is evident; This is a man's face so astonishing that he can only smile and cry. Armstrong would later describe his emotional state as "happy, ecstatic and extremely surprised that we succeeded"—and we see it right here.

"It suddenly dawned on me that, that little pea, beautiful and blue, was the earth. I put my thumb up and closed one eye, and my thumb wiped out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I didn't feel like a giant. Felt very, very small".

2:56 UTC On July 21, 1969, Armstrong set the first human foot on another world. With more than half a billion people watching on television, he climbed down the ladder and declared: "It's one small step for one man, one big leap for mankind".

Aldrin is soon joined by him, and offers a simple yet powerful description of the lunar surface: "The Magnificent Desolation". After helping to install the Early Apollo Scientific Experiment Package, Armstrong moved 65 yards (59 m) east of the LM (Lunar Module) to what is known as the East Crater, the largest distance traveled by the LM. Mission.

They leave an American flag, a patch honoring the fallen Apollo 1 crew, and a plaque at one of the eagle's feet. It reads: “Here the people of planet Earth first stepped on the moon. July 1969 A.D. We all came in peace to mankind. ,

Armstrong's final act was to remind Aldrin to leave a small package of commemorative items to the deceased Soviet cosmonauts Yuri Gagarin and Vladimir Komarov, and Apollo 1 astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger B. The time spent on the EVA during Apollo 11 was approximately two and a half hours, the shortest of any of the six Apollo lunar landing missions.

Original caption from the Apollo 11 Image Library:

Buzz snapped this photo of Neil in the cabin after the EVA was completed. Neil has taken off his helmet but hasn't taken off his "Snoopy" hat yet. The circuit breaker panels are illuminated, and there is a small floodlight in the bottom right. A circuit breaker chart is mounted on the wall with gray tape under the rendezvous window in the roof of the cabin.

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