Celebrating the Apollo 11 Mission and the First Lunar Samples Returned to Earth

Apollo 11 launch, landing, rock collection, and sample delivery to the Lunar Receiving Laboratory. Picture of lunar rock shown on bottom right.

Apollo 11 launch, landing, rock collection, and sample delivery to the Lunar Receiving Laboratory. Picture of lunar rock shown on bottom right.

Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the surface of the Moon, uttered a statement heard around the world in July 1969…“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Apollo 11 launched on July 16, landed on the Moon on July 20th, and safely returned to Earth on July 24, 1969. This extraordinary mission, 45 years ago, was also the first time astronauts collected and brought back samples from the lunar surface. These precious Apollo 11 samples, and others collected during other Apollo missions to the Moon, continue to help scientists investigate and better understand the history of the Moon. All collected lunar rocks and soils are housed in the specialized lunar curational facilitates maintained by the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) staff at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

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