Fifty years back, NASA’s Apollo 11 space mission changed our world and thoughts of what is conceivable by effectively landing people on the surface of the moon—and bringing them home safely—for the first time in history. Today’s video Google Doodle celebrates this snapshot of human accomplishment by taking us through the journey to the moon and back, described by somebody with firsthand knowledge of the epic occasion: previous astronaut and Apollo 11 command module pilot Michael Collins.
A group of nearly 400,000 individuals from around the globe worked on Project Apollo—for the most part factory workers, scientists, and engineers who never left the ground. Within those 400,000 were the space mission’s astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, and Michael Collins. Their notable journey started when a Saturn V rocket launched from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center on July 16, 1969. Subsequent to accomplishing orbit around the moon, the lunar module, known as “the Eagle,” isolated for a 13-minute journey to the surface. In the mean time, astronaut Michael Collins remained behind in the command module, which would eventually bring all three astronauts back home to Earth.
En route to the moon’s surface, Armstrong and Aldrin lost radio contact with Earth, the locally available PC demonstrated unfamiliar error codes, and fuel ran short. As millions viewed on TV with anxious expectation, they effectively guided the module to a safe landing on the crater dubbed the “Sea of Tranquility” on July 20, 1969.
Not long after, Armstrong became the first human to step foot on the moon, expressing the now notorious words “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Returning securely to Earth on July 25, 1969, the Apollo 11 group were followed by 10 additional astronauts, with the final space mission occurring in 1972. Incalculable scientific breakthroughs—from CAT scans to freeze-dried food—took place thanks to the space mission to the moon.
Space investigation proceeds right up ’til today, with achievements, for example, the International Space Station and plans for a space mission to Mars. Most recently, NASA’s Artemis program—named for Apollo’s sister in Greek mythology—intends to bring the first woman to the moon.