50 years since moon landing

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The world is remembering 50 years since humans landed on the moon.

American astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong became the first people to walk on the Moon on 20 July 1969.

As Neil Armstrong walked he spoke the famous words: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

A camera was able to transmit the moment to around 650 million people who were watching on television.

Armstrong was joined by fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin. They spent 21 hours on its surface, including a seven-hour sleep, before returning to Earth.

Why was the Moon landing so important?

The simple reason is that it had never been done before – and it was a big ambition for countries.

In 1962, US President John F Kennedy announced a big ambition, in a speech which is now very famous.

In the run-up to the Moon landing, the US was competing with the Soviet Union. Both were trying to be the first to complete missions exploring the world outside the Earth’s atmosphere.

“We choose to go to the Moon!” he said.

NASA invested lots of money (around $25 billion) and effort into making this happen. The mission would come to be known as the Apollo programme and its goal was to land humans on the Moon and bring them safely back to Earth.

About 400,000 people worked on the project.

The Moon landing in numbers

  • About 400,000 people worked on the Apollo 11 mission
  • It cost Nasa around £25 billion
  • The mission blasted off on 16 July 1969
  • It took four days, six hours and 45 minutes to get to the Moon
  • The lunar module landed on the Moon at 8:17pm on 20 July 1969
  • By the time the crew landed back on Earth, the mission had taken 8 days, 3 hours, 18 minutes and 35 seconds
  • A total of 12 people have walked on the Moon
  • The last people walked on the Moon in 1972

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