Next week, NASA will celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of its most important missions – Apollo 11.
The mission saw humans set foot on the moon for the first time, collecting invaluable samples of lunar soil that have taught us much of what we know about our lunar satellite.
While Neil Armstrong is probably the most well-known of the astronauts on the mission, Apollo 11 actually blasted off with three men on board.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Apollo 11 astronauts, including who they were, and where they are now.
Neil Armstrong joined NASA’s astronaut programme in 1962, and was command pilot for his first mission, Gemini VIII, in 1966.
For the Apollo 11 mission, Armstrong was the spacecraft commander.
Stepping our of the Eagle lunar module at 02:56 UTC on July 21, Armstrong became the first person to ever step onto the moon.
As Armstrong stepped onto the moon, he said: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leaps for mankind,” a quote that has become well-known around the world.
He then explored the lunar surface for around 2.5 hours, collecting samples of lunar soil and taking photos.
Following his safe return to Earth, Armstrong remained with NASA until 1971, after which he joined the University of Cincinnati as a professor of aerospace engineering.
Sadly, Armstrong died on August 25, 2012, at the age of 82, following complications from a heart bypass operation.
Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin
Joining Armstrong on the Apollo 11 mission was Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin .
Aldrin joined NASA in 1963, and served as the Lunar Module Pilot during the Apollo 11 mission. This meant that he was responsible for piloting the Eagle lunar module to the moon’s surface, and back to the command module.
Aldrin stepped onto the moon around 20 minutes after Armstrong, and also spent around 2.5 hours exploring the lunar surface.
While Armstrong was the first man on the moon, you may notice that many of the photos from the mission show Aldrin on the moon.
This is due to the fact that Armstrong was tasked with taking photos, while Aldrin was more focused on collecting samples.
Aldrin retired from active duty in 1972, and returned to the Air Force in a managerial role.
He still makes regular TV appearances today, and even competed on Dancing with the Stars in 2010!
While he didn’t set foot on the moon himself, Michael Collins was still a key part of the Apollo 11 mission.
Collins made two spaceflights during his career – one in 1966 on the Gemini mission, and the Apollo 11 mission in 1969.
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