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52nd Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing

A look back at Apollo and a look into the future of moon exploration
Obit Michael Collins
Michael Collins
Apollo 11 Splashdown and Recovery
Artemis I
Posted at 3:58 PM, Jul 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-20 10:31:27-04

BALTIMORE — On July 20th, 52 years ago, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped out onto the lunar surface.

Their fellow crew mate, Michael Collins, stayed in orbit around the moon.

Aldrin is the last crew member alive to celebrate this anniversary.

Collins died in late April, after battling cancer, according to a statement released by his family.

Michael Collins
In this photo provided by NASA, astronaut Michael Collins wears the space helmet for the Apollo 11 moon mission, July 20, 1969. He’ll be in the command module when fellow astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin Jr. descend on the lunar surface in the lunar module to take a walk on the moon early Monday. (AP Photo/NASA)

As NASA, and the world, remembers the historic moment in 1969 - the organization is also looking to the future.

Brian Odom, the acting NASA Chief Historian, says, "We're going to go back to the Moon, to pick up where we left off."

He's referring to the Artemis program, named for Apollo's twin sister in Greek mythology.

"We've only explored about 5% of the moon," says Odom. "There's a lot left to pick up on.. apply those lessons learned, then go on to Mars."

And the money toward that push forward is an investment in the future.

"Everything we do in space has a tangible benefit back on Earth," Odom says.

As a historian, Odom was also able to talk about that tangible benefit from Apollo 11, given the time that's passed since.

"The first satellites designed to study the space environment and test initial capabilities in Earth orbit that we've done over the past decades, you know, contributed this critical knowledge and capabilities and, you know, developing Global Positioning Systems advancing and weather forecasting," he tells us.

It also sparked inspiration across the globe.

Pete Yancone is the Senior Educator at the Maryland Science Center, and he remembers watching the moon landing.

Remembering the Moon Landing

Yancone also remembered how incredible it was that the whole world was able to watch along.

"In 1969, live TV from other parts of the planet was possible, but not routine - and the notion of getting live television from the moon? Remarkable," he says.