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Buzz Aldrin on the Moon, photographed by Neil Armstrong

Apollo 11 was the fifth crewed mission of NASA's Apollo program. After launching from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 16, 1969, commander Neil Armstrong and Apollo Lunar Module pilot Buzz Aldrin landed Eagle in Mare Tranquillitatis on July 20, at 20:17:40 UTC, while command module pilot Michael Collins remained on Columbia in lunar orbit. Armstrong was the first to exit the spacecraft, stepping onto the surface 6 hours and 39 minutes later, on July 21, at 02:56:15 UTC; nineteen minutes later, Aldrin joined him on extravehicular activity, which lasted 2 hours, 31 minutes and 40 seconds. Armstrong and Aldrin lifted off from Tranquility Base after almost 22 hours on the lunar surface and rejoined Collins in the command module, before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean on July 24.

The mission was planned to the minute, with the majority of the photographic tasks performed by Armstrong with a single Hasselblad camera. Most of the photographs taken on the Moon that include an astronaut are of Aldrin; there are only five images of Armstrong partly shown or reflected, as in this photograph, with Armstrong and the lunar module reflected in Aldrin's helmet visor. "As the sequence of lunar operations evolved," Aldrin explained, "Neil had the camera most of the time [...] It wasn't until we were back on Earth and in the Lunar Receiving Laboratory looking over the pictures that we realized there were few pictures of Neil."

Photograph credit: Neil Armstrong

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