Fifty-two years ago on July 20, 1969, humanity stepped foot on another celestial body and into history.
Fifty-two years ago on July 20, 1969, humanity stepped foot on another celestial body and into history.

52 years of Apollo 11 mission: Here's Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin describe what it's like to be on Moon

The mission made Armstrong the first person to step on the Moon, while Buzz Aldrin was second as he joined his astronaut friend almost 19 minutes later. The spaceflight was piloted by another Nasa astronaut Michel Collins.
By hindustantimes.com, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JUL 20, 2021 09:52 AM IST

Tuesday marks 52 years of the Apollo 11 mission that carried three US astronauts to the Moon and landed them on the surface of the planet's satellite for the first time in human history. Mission commander Neil Armstrong and pilot Buzz Aldrin landed Apollo Lunar Module Eagle on July 20, 1969, as they took giant leaps for mankind.

The mission made Armstrong the first person to step on the Moon, while Buzz Aldrin was second as he joined his astronaut friend almost 19 minutes later. The spaceflight was piloted by another Nasa astronaut Michel Collins.

Astronaut poses for a photograph beside the deployed United States flag during an Apollo 11 extravehicular activity (EVA) on the lunar surface.(NASA)
Astronaut poses for a photograph beside the deployed United States flag during an Apollo 11 extravehicular activity (EVA) on the lunar surface.(NASA)


Here are some quotes by the astronauts from past briefings and interviews as they describe the "lunatic" experience":

"I was surprised by the apparent closeness of the horizon," Armstrong said after mission while describing his experience, as per an AFP report. "I was surprised by the trajectory of dust that you kicked up with your boot, and I was surprised that even though logic would have told me that there shouldn't be any, there was no dust when you kicked. You never had a cloud of dust there," he added.

Image source: NASA
Image source: NASA


Armstrong said that he was "absolutely dumbfounded" when he "shut the rocket engine off and the particles that were going out radially from the bottom of the engine fell all the way out over the horizon." "When I shut the engine off, they just raced out over the horizon and instantaneously disappeared, you know, just like it had been shut off for a week. That was remarkable," he said.

Earth rising over the Moon's horizon was taken from the Apollo 11 spacecraft. The lunar terrain pictured is in the area of Smyth's Sea on the nearside.(NASA)
Earth rising over the Moon's horizon was taken from the Apollo 11 spacecraft. The lunar terrain pictured is in the area of Smyth's Sea on the nearside.(NASA)


Clarifying doubts regarding mobility restrictions on Moon, Armstrong said there is no "trouble to walk around." "There seems to be no difficulty in moving around ─ as we suspected. It's even perhaps easier than the simulations of one-sixth g that we performed in the various simulations on the ground," the astronaut told the Mission Control shortly after descending from Apollo 11's lunar module.

Footstep of Buzz Aldrin on Moon. (NASA)
Footstep of Buzz Aldrin on Moon. (NASA)


In a later technical debrief, Armstrong said balancing while walking on Moon was not "difficult." "However, I did some fairly high jumps and found that there was a tendency to tip over backwards on a high jump. One time I came close to falling and decided that was enough of that."

In his book "Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon", Aldrin has also written about the experience. He wrote that he "started jogging around" a bit moments after he landed on the lunar surface. "It felt like I was moving in slow motion in a lazy lope, often with both of my feet floating in the air. One of the pure joys of being on the Moon was our somewhat light-footed mobility," Aldrin wrote in his book.

Neil Armstrong working inside the module.(NASA)
Neil Armstrong working inside the module.(NASA)


Following the death of Armstrong in 2012 and Collins in 2021, Aldrin is not the last surviving crew member of the Apollo 11 mission.


(With inputs from agencies)

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