Photograph of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin during Geological Training in the Quitman Mountain Area
Original caption: HUDSPETH COUNTY, TEXAS. GEOLOGY TRAINING - These two Apollo 11 astronauts are photographed during a geological field trip to the Quitman Mountain area near the Fort Quitman ruins in far west Texas. Neil A. Armstrong (on right) is the Apollo 11 prime crew commander; and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. is the Apollo 11 prime crew lunar module pilot. Armstrong is studying a rock sample. Aldrin holds a camera which he used in simulating taking pictures of actual lunar samples on the surface of the moon.
Color Photograph Files
The mission plan of Apollo 11 was to land two men on the lunar surface and return them safely to Earth. The spacecraft carried a crew of three: Mission Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins, and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., was launched by a Saturn V from Cape Kennedy on July 16, 1969, and after three days until they entered lunar orbit. Collins was awaiting on Lunar orbit while the Eagle Lunar Module with Armstrong and Aldrin and has landed in Moon's Mare Tranquillitatis at 3:17 p.m. EST on July 20, 1969. Immediately after landing on the Moon, Armstrong and Aldrin prepared the LM for liftoff as a contingency measure. Following the meal, the astronauts began preparations for the descent to the lunar surface. Armstrong emerged from the spacecraft first. While descending, he released the Modularized Equipment Stowage Assembly on which the surface television camera was stowed, and the camera recorded humankind's first step on the Moon. A sample of lunar surface material was collected and stowed to assure that, if a contingency required an early end to the planned surface activities, samples of lunar surface material would be returned to Earth. Astronaut Aldrin subsequently descended to the lunar surface. The astronauts collected lunar samples, deployed several experiments, and made photographs of the lunar surface. Two and a quarter hours later, the astronauts reentered the Lunar Module, after which the astronauts slept. The ascent from the lunar surface began 21 hours and 36 minutes after the lunar landing. In about four days, the Command Module entered Earth atmosphere and landed in the Pacific Ocean.