On July 20, 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin completed the seemingly impossible mission to the Moon. The pair made history when they set foot on the lunar surface, bringing an end to the Space Race by burying the US Flag in the dusty surface, before Armstrong delivered his “one small step” speech. Meanwhile, orbiting around the Moon, Michael Collins could only wait patiently, hoping his colleagues would return safely.

A series of incredible snaps, unearthed from The Daily Mirror’s picture archives reveal the events that followed.

The picture set starts at a pub in Kings Heath, Birmingham, which changed its name to “Man on the Moon” to celebrate the moment.

Punters can be seen celebrating in numbers, sprawling out to the streets.

Then, another photo shows Dr Stuart Agrell, of Cambridge University, riding the London Underground holding a bag containing samples from the Moon.

These were collected by Armstrong and Aldrin during the mission, but remained in quarantine at NASA’s Lunar receiving Laboratory at Houston until they were deemed safe.

Around 3.5 ounces of Moondust was studied at the Institute of Geological Sciences in Kensington, London, in September 1969.

The samples were put on display during a press conference, and Dr Agrell appears to be thrilled by the event.

Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins took off on an international tour following their two weeks in isolation.

A series of iconic snaps show the trio at a press conference at the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square, London, in November 1969.

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They arrived at Heathrow Airport to a hero’s welcome, before a meeting with Prime Minister Harold Wilson and the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

On July 16, 2019, 88-year-old Michael Collins returned to Florida’s Kennedy Space Centre after half a century.

Mr Collins was the only original member of the crew there after Aldrin, 89, did not attend, and Armstrong, who was their commander, passed away in 2012.

Speaking at launchpad 39A, where the crew’s powerful rocket made history on July 16, 1969, Collins described how he felt during take-off.

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He said: “The shockwave from the rocket power hits you, your whole body is shaking. 

“This gives you an entirely different concept of what power really means.

“You’re suspended in the cockpit as you lift off.

“From then on it’s a quieter, more rational, silent ride all the way to the Moon.

“We crew felt the weight of the world on our shoulders, we knew that everyone would be looking at us, friend or foe.”

He added that he wished his fellow astronauts could have joined him at the site.



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