The Eagle Has Landed
As soon as the Lunar Module had touched down, Armstrong and Aldrin began to check the Module to determine whether or not to stay or whether to lift off and re-join Collins orbiting above in Columbia. Seven minutes later they were given the go-ahead from mission control to ‘Stay a little longer before making such a decision. Aldrin described what they saw on the moon as they looked through the spacecraft window “It looks like a collection of every variety of shape, angularity, granularity… a collection of just about every kind of rock”, “Colour depends on what angle you’re looking at…. rocks and boulders seem as though they’re going to have some interesting colours”.
Armstrong then began reporting to mission control about the final moments of the landing and what he could see of the landing site and said he could see a hill about a mile ahead… “and literally thousands of craters” He came through again “the colour of the surface is grey, very white, and then chalky grey as I look further out. It’s considerably darker grey as I look towards the Sun”. Then Armstrong gave man’s first description of the Earth from the surface of the moon, “its big and bright and beautiful” By 7.30pm the crew of Eagle were eating their first meal on the moon prior to starting preparations for the first moon walk.
ONE SMALL STEP FOR MAN
Then, after the meal, the two astronauts began the task of getting into their moon suits. These suits need to be flexible to allow the wearer to walk, lift and bend, but they also had to be tough enough to protect the astronauts from any sharp rocks should they fall. The suits were fitted with a cooling system, next to the skin, which circulated water through a network of tubes. The outside of the suit was made of inter-leaving layers of aluminium and coated nylon and Teflon fabric. The plastic helmet had a gold coated visor which afforded protection against micro meteorites, thermal radiation and ultraviolet/infra-red rays.
The suit was very heavy but owing to the moon’s low gravity it weighed only about 18 percent of its weight on earth, enabling the astronauts to work with comparative ease, this done they waited for mission control to give them the go-ahead to step out of the lunar module onto the surface of the moon. Permission was given and Armstrong began the cabin depress, the time was 10.36EDT and as the minutes ticked away Armstrong’s reports to mission control got more and more excited, then as he opened the hatch and climbed out onto the ladder he started to describe the scene as he slowly climbed down rung by rung and then he was finally on the last step. “I’m on the foot of the ladder… the Lunar Module foot pads are only depressed in the surface about one or two inches,
Although the surface appears to be very fine, fine grained, as you get close to it… I’m going to step off the lunar module now… That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”.
Although his message was amended in the official record to read “one small step for a man” it in no way diminished its emotional impact. It was 20.56 pm EDT and he then stepped upon the moon.
WE CAME IN PEACE FOR ALL MANKIND
As Armstrong stood upon the surface of the moon he began to describe the scene around him, ” we are in a crater the size of a football pitch…. it looks beautiful from here the Sea of Tranquillity base.” Then Buzz Aldrin handed down a camera which Armstrong fastened to his chest. At this time as he was busy taking photographs, the photograph of the earth which was used for the GB 1984 Greenwich stamp was taken during the Apollo 11 mission.
Mission control wanted him to collect samples of the lunar soil, which he then did. About 20 minutes later. Buzz Aldrin stepped down onto the surface to join Armstrong. After taking more photographs the two astronauts began to get soil and rock samples into boxes and put them into the lunar module. Altogether they collected 22 kilograms (48 lb) of rock and soil samples, then Armstrong set up a TV camera so that the lunar module’s leg could be seen and then he unveiled a plaque that was attached to the Lunar Module’s leg.