Buzz Aldrin on the moon
NASA Apollo 11 Astronaut Buzz Aldrin Walking on the Moon

Photo details: Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, lunar module pilot, walks on the surface of the Moon near the leg of the Lunar Module (LM) “Eagle” during the Apollo 11 extravehicular activity (EVA). Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, commander, took this photograph with a 70mm lunar surface camera. While astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin descended in the Lunar Module (LM) “Eagle” to explore the Sea of Tranquility region of the Moon, astronaut Michael Collins, command module pilot, remained with the Command and Service Modules (CSM) “Columbia” in lunar orbit.

Sending astronauts to the moon seemed like an amazing thing in 1969. They landed 40 years ago today. Like millions of others, I was glued to the TV set.

When Sputnik was launched by the U.S.S.R. in 1957, it was a shock to the scientific community and to the U.S. psyche, and the “space race” was on. A few years later, newly elected U.S. President John F. Kennedy announced the goal of putting a man on the moon within the decade. On July 20, 1969, it happened. It was an amazing accomplishment, not without high risks, and the country was justly proud of NASA and the space program.

The NASA web site is commemorating the Apollo 11 trip to the moon. There are times that the site seems to be overloaded and/or overwhelmed with visitors today. You can view moonwalk video, listen to Apollo 11 onboard audio recordings, listen to real time mission audio that tracks everything as it happened 40 years ago, and a lot more.

Earthrise. The crew of Apollo 8 captured this view of Earth about five degrees above the lunar horizon on Dec. 22, 1968.