Men on the Moon

Part of the Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration exhibition.

On July 20, 1969, with 600 million people watching on TV, an American crew landed on the Moon--the first people ever to walk on another world. The Apollo 11 mission had three crew members: Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, who piloted the craft that would return them to Earth, while the others became the first two men ever to walk its surface.


Man on the Moon

Only 12 people--American astronauts on Apollo missions--have set foot on the Moon's near-black, powdery surface and no person has been there since December 1972. But today, many scientists and engineers in the U.S. and elsewhere are determined to send people back to the Moon. 

Eventually, a total of six Apollo missions would land men on the Moon, the last arriving in December 1972. The 12 American men (and only men) on these missions are the only humans to set foot on another world--so far.

The Apollo missions to the Moon brought the U.S. national glory--and important scientific results. Over the course of six moon landings, astronauts conducted invaluable geologic research. Using bags like this one, they eventually collected more than 842 pounds (382 kilograms)[1] of Moon rocks, which are studied by lunar scientists to this day. These rocks were the key to demonstrating that the Moon formed from debris created when a Mars-sized object impacted Earth 4.5 billion years ago.

Image credit: Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, Inc., Hutchinson, Kansas & #8232