It’s been a week long national celebration leading up to this landmark day. July 20 marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
On July 16, 1969, three NASA Astronauts, Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins were propelled into orbit in a little more than 11 minutes from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center.
Four days later, Armstrong and Aldrin took their first steps becoming the first humans to ever set foot on the lunar surface.
Armstrong’s first words after stepping foot on the moon still ring inspiration to this day.
“It’s one small step for man. One giant leap for mankind,” Armstrong’s words 50 years ago on the moon.
The men spent just about 2 ½ hours walking on the moon. An estimated 650 million people worldwide tuned in to watch the landing on television.
As many people across the country remember those first steps, people in the tri-state were also celebrating in their own way including at the Evansville Museum visiting the exhibits.
History was made, 50 years ago Saturday.
“I remember hearing Armstrong’s “one small step” proclamation,” said Bruce Hatfield. “I was sitting in the living room with my parents and my sister on that particular night when it happened.”
Armstrong’s history making step onto Mare Tranquillitatis (Sea of Tranquility) was the culmination of the work of some 400,000 people over the course of a decade.
Armstrong and Aldrin spent close to 2 ½ hours outside the Lunar Module, known as the Eagle. They collected 47 pounds of moon rocks and planted a United States flag before blasting off to rejoin Collins, who was circling the moon aboard the command module.
It was a moment still remembered back home in the tri-state.
“I think it’s important for all of us to celebrate the science and all the hard work it took to get us to the moon as well as an inspired future space explorers,” said Karen Malone, museum curator of education.
The Evansville Museum hosting its Moon Festival to commemorate the historic moment inspiring both future and current astronomers.
“It was the culmination of something that I had been excited about for years…,” said Hatfield. “I didn’t think it was ever going to happen.”
Even now, NASA’s Apollo 11 mission continues to inspire America’s next steps into space.
“It’s fun,” said Malone. “I’m going to be able to celebrate with Evansville and make it a cool party.”
For anyone still interested in visiting the exhibits, there will be another moon celebration at the museum next weekend.