Lunar and Planetary Institute

Apollo 11 Mission

Apollo 11 mission patch Mission OverviewNavigation arrow
The mission plan of Apollo 11 was to land two men on the lunar surface and return them safely to Earth. The launch took place at Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A on July 16, 1969, at 08:32 a.m. EST. The spacecraft carried a crew of three: Mission Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins, and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. The mission evaluation concluded that all mission tasks were completed satisfactorily.

Orbital View of the Landing Site Landing Site Navigation arrow
The first manned spacecraft landing on the Moon was at 3:17 p.m. EST (20:17:40 UTC) on July 20, 1969, when the Apollo 11 Lunar Module, the Eagle, landed in Mare Tranquillitatis, located at 0°4'5"N latitude, 23°42'28"E longitude. The Eagle landed approximately 50 kilometers from the closest highland material and approximately 400 meters west of a sharp-rimmed blocky crater about 180 meters in diameter.

The Apollo 11 lunar module (LM) on the surface of the Moon. Surface Operations Navigation arrow
The Apollo 11 astronauts had several tasks to accomplish during extravehicular activity (EVA) operations while on the surface. Time permitting, the astronauts planned to collect lunar samples, deploy several experiments, and examine and photograph the lunar surface. The following map of the landing area shows where these activities took place. The EVA lasted approximately 2.5 hours. All scientific activities were completed satisfactorily, all instruments were deployed, and samples were collected.

Astronaut boot print on the Moon Mission Photography Navigation arrow
Apollo 11 represented the first opportunity to observe scientific phenomena on the lunar surface. Both the surface and orbital photography of the mission served not only to document the first lunar landing and the extravehicular activities of the astronauts, but also to identify areas and experiments for study in future missions.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin carries experiments to the deployment area

Science Experiments Navigation arrow
In addition to their sample collection activities, the Apollo 11 crew performed several experiments on the lunar surface. The results of some of these experiments were either radioed to Earth by the crew or returned to Earth for laboratory analysis.

Apollo 11 basalt 10049

Lunar Samples Navigation arrow
Apollo 11 carried the first geologic samples from the Moon back to Earth. In all, astronauts collected 22 kilograms of material, including 50 rocks, samples of the fine-grained lunar "soil," and two core tubes that included material from up to 13 centimeters below the Moon's surface. These samples contain no water and provide no evidence for living organisms at any time in the Moon's history. Two main types of rocks, basalts and breccias, were found at the Apollo 11 landing site.

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