On July 20, 1969 – 50 years ago to this day – Neil Armstrong made history by becoming the first man to walk on the lunar surface, shortly followed by Buzz Aldrin during NASA’s Apollo 11 mission. The monumental event, which was watched by millions on live TV, brought the world to a standstill as the lunar module Eagle touched down after a four-day journey through space. Mr Armstrong then made his way onto the lunar surface, shortly followed by his colleague Buzz Aldrin – and delivered his legendary “one small step” speech that marked the end of the Space Race with the Soviet Union.
However, Buzz Aldrin technically got the first words in on the Moon’s surface.
As the lander touched down, Mr Aldrin said: “Okay, contact light.
“Okay, engine stop.”
The radio then went queit for around 15 seconds, before Mr Armstrong added: “Houston, Tranquility Base here.
“The Eagle has landed.”
Mission Control in Houston then burst into cheers, before they responded: “Roger, Tranquility.
“We copy you on the ground.
“You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue.
“We’re breathing again, thanks a lot.”
It was not until several hours later that the ladders touched down on the Moon and Neil Armstrong stepped off.
Broadcasting live to those back on Earth, he said: “I’m at the foot of the ladder.
“The footpads are only depressed in the surface about one or two inches, although the surface appears to be very, very fine grained, as you get close to it.
“It’s almost like a powder.
“Okay. I’m going to step off the LM now.
“That’s one small step for [a] man; one giant leap for mankind.”
Mr Armstrong continued, mesmerised by the situation.
He added: “Yes, the surface is fine and powdery.
“I can kick it up loosely with my toe. It does adhere in fine layers, like powdered charcoal, to the sole and sides of my boots.
“I only go in a small fraction of an inch, maybe an eighth of an inch, but I can see the footprints of my boots and the treads in the fine, sandy particles.”
During their time inside the lunar module, Buzz Aldrin admitted he made a toast to his faith.
During his time alone, Mr Aldrin called back to Mission Control to inform everyone that they deserved a moment to think about what they had just achieved.
He said: “I’d like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way.”
Then Mr Aldrin, who was an elder at the Webster Presbyterian Church, admitted he had snuck a small bottle of consecrated wine and a piece of bread on board.
He then turned off his radio and performed a communion in a touching gesture to his faith.
He told Guideposts magazine in 1970: “I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me.
“In the one-sixth gravity of the moon the wine curled slowly and gracefully up the side of the cup.
“It was interesting to think that the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the first food eaten there, were communion elements.”