The giant leaps for mankind: Six manned moon missions

Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin's boot and footprint in lunar soil. (Photo: NASA)

The United States of America ran six manned moon missions from 1961 to 1972, under NASA's Apollo programme. The USA is the only country to have sent astronauts to explore the lunar surface. Here is a list of all the instances man set foot on the Moon:

Apollo 11: Neil Armstrong and Edwin Buzz Aldrin
The most controversial moon-landings of all time, this was the first instance man had stepped on the Moon.
Apollo 11 landed in the area named Mare Tranquillitatis - commonly known as the Sea of Tranquility - on July 20, 1969.
Neil Armstrong was the captain of the mission, and Edwin Aldrin co-piloted the mission. They stayed on the Moon for 21 hours and 36 minutes, collected samples, conducted experiments and took pictures.

Neil Armstrong works at the LM. (Photo: NASA)
Neil Armstrong works at the LM. (Photo: NASA)

Apollo 12: Charles Conrad and Alan Bean
The second moon landing- Apollo 12 - landed on November 19, 1969, and was crewed by Commander Charles Conrad and pilot Alan Bean, with the orbiting module piloted by Richard Gordon.
The astronauts stayed for 31 hours and 31 minutes and took parts of Surveyor 3 - unmanned spacecraft- for later examination, along with their other lunar experimentations.

Apollo 12 landing. (Photo: NASA)
Apollo 12 landing. (Photo: NASA)

Apollo 14: Aland Shepard and Edgar Mitchell
Apollo 14 - the third manned moon mission - surfaced on the moon on February 5, 1971, 21 km north of the Fra Mauro crater. The mission was crewed by Commander Aland Shepard and pilot Edgar Mitchell, and the command module piloted by Stuart Roosa.
They stayed 33 hours and 31 minutes on the lunar surface to collect samples, and apart from the usual experiments and photographs, Shepard even struck two gold balls on the surface.

Ed Mitchell (left) goes toward the LM mockup while Al Shepard works with the telescoping crossbar at the top of the flag. (Photo by NASA)
Ed Mitchell (left) goes toward the LM mockup while Al Shepard works with the telescoping crossbar at the top of the flag. (Photo by NASA)

Apollo 15: David Scott and James Irvin
This space mission landed on the moon on July 30, 1971, in a place called Mare Imbrium area, close to the Montes Apenninus - a rugged mountain range on the northern part of the Moon's near side. This moon mission was the first to use the 'Lunar Rover' which allowed the spacemen to cover a larger area for exploration.
The mission was crewed by Commander David Scott and pilot James Irvin and the orbiting module piloted by Alfred Worden.

Irwin salutes the American flag while standing beside the Lunar Module and rover. (Photo: NASA)
Irwin salutes the American flag while standing beside the Lunar Module and rover. (Photo: NASA)

Apollo 16: John Young and Charles Duke
Commanded by John Young and piloted by Charles Duke, Apollo 16 landed on April 21, 1972, near the Descartes area north of the Dolland crater. The orbiting module was manned by Thomas Mattingly.
The astronauts stayed for 71 hours and 21 minutes and treaded around 27 kilometers in the Lunar Rover vehicle.

Commander of the Apollo 16 lunar landing mission, John W. Young, salutes the United States flag during the mission’s first extravehicular activity. (Photo: NASA)
Commander John W. Young, salutes the United States flag during the mission’s first extravehicular activity. (Photo: NASA)

Apollo 17: Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt
The Apollo 17, landed land in the valley of Taurus Littrow, close to the south-eastern edge of the Mare Serenitatis crater on December 11, 1972.
Crewed by Commander Eugene Cernan and lunar module pilot Harrison Schmitt - the first scientist on the Moon - the mission is the last manned mission to the moon till date.
The astronauts travelled for around 30 kilometers for 75 hours.

Gene is standing west of the flag, saluting. (Photo: NASA)
Gene is standing west of the flag, saluting. (Photo: NASA)

 

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