Special Report

These Are the 12 People Who Walked on the Moon

Source: NASA / Getty Images

1. Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)
> Birthplace: Wapakoneta, Ohio
> Time on moon: 21 hours, 36 minutes
> Duration of moon mission: Apollo 11 (July 16-24, 1969)
> Number of space flights: 2: Gemini VIII, Apollo 11

Neil Armstrong, born on his grandparents’ farm in Wapakoneta, Ohio, entered the pantheon of American heroes by becoming the first human to walk on the moon on July 20,1969. Armstrong’s words as he stepped on the moon, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” are among the most quoted of all time. The rocks Armstrong collected on the lunar surface proved invaluable in determining the age of the moon.

Armstrong was a private man who did not exploit his fame. He said after the Apollo 11 mission that he would not fly in space again. He held various jobs at NASA and taught aerospace engineering at the University of Cincinnati in the 1970s. He published his autobiography “First Man” in 2005, and a motion picture based on the book was released last year. After 13 years out of the public eye, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum put Armstrong’s spacesuit on display earlier this month.

Source: Photo by Space Frontiers/Getty Images

2. Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin (1930-)
> Birthplace: Montclair, New Jersey
> Time on moon: 21 hours, 36 minutes
> Duration of moon mission: Apollo 11 (July 16-24, 1969)
> Number of space flights: 2: Gemini XII, Apollo 11

Even though Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin did not achieve immortality as the first man to walk on the moon, the fact that he was second gained him everlasting fame. Aldrin walked on the moon nine minutes after Armstrong’s historic walk. Later he would receive Holy Communion while on the moon, which rankled atheists.

Aldrin had difficulty managing the attention that came after the historic trip, and over the next 15 years battled alcoholism and depression. He has written books about his experiences, including his autobiography “Return to Earth” and “Men from Earth.” In an opinion piece he wrote for the Washington Post in May, Aldrin said in order for humanity to survive, people have to migrate to Mars.

Source: NASA on The Commons / Flickr

3. Charles “Pete” Conrad (1930-1999)
> Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
> Time on moon: 10 hours and 26 minutes
> Duration of moon mission: Apollo 12 (Nov. 14-24, 1972)
> Number of space flights: 4: Gemini V, Gemini XI, Apollo 12, Skylab II

Charles “Pete” Conrad flew four space flights, the most of any of the moon walkers except for John W. Young. By the time he served as commander of Apollo 12, Conrad, who fought to overcome dyslexia, had already flown on two Gemini missions, establishing a space endurance record of eight days in space on Gemini V, and helping to set an altitude record on Gemini XI. Conrad also served as commander of Skylab 2, the first U.S. space station.

The free-spirited Conrad enjoyed fast cars and faster planes. He made a bet with a journalist that the first words astronauts spoke on the moon were not scripted. To prove this, when he got on the moon, he said, “Whoopie! Man, that may have been a small one for Neil, but that’s a long one for me.” Conrad’s life ended tragically when he was killed in a motorcycle accident in California.

Source: NASA / Johnson Space Center / Wikimedia Commons

4. Alan Bean (1932-2018)
> Birthplace: Wheeler, Texas
> Time on moon: 10 hours and 26 minutes
> Duration of moon mission: Apollo 12 (Nov. 14-24, 1972)
> Number of space flights: 2: Apollo 12, Skylab II

Alan Bean was the lunar module pilot of Apollo 12, the second mission to land on the moon. Bean and fellow astronaut Pete Conrad explored the Ocean of Storms, the largest dark spot on the moon, and set up various scientific experiments. They also were the first astronauts to install a nuclear power generator on the moon. Later, Bean served as commander of Skylab 3, spending 59 days in orbit.

Bean had been painting before he flew into space, and he said he was encouraged by his fellow astronauts to capture his lunar experiences on canvas, thus making him the “first artist on another world.” He later expanded his artistic horizon by becoming a sculptor, incorporating bits of Apollo 12 and moon dust in his creations.

Source: nasacommons / Flickr

5. Alan B. Shepard Jr. (1923-1998)
> Birthplace: East Derry, New Hampshire
> Time on moon: 9 hours and 17 minutes
> Duration of moon mission: Apollo 14 (Jan. 31-Feb. 9, 1971)
> Number of space flights: 2: Freedom 7, Apollo 14

Alan B. Shepard Jr. was the oldest person to set foot on the moon, at 47 years old. As spacecraft commander for Apollo 14, he and Edgar D. Mitchell traveled over the rugged Fra Mauro region of the lunar surface, setting up scientific equipment and experiments while collecting about 100 pounds of rocks and soil. Long before his lunar experience, Shepard had already entered the history books.

The World War II veteran and admiral was part of group of seven Mercury astronauts chosen by NASA in 1959. He became the first American in space two years later, flying aboard Freedom 7. Shepard would gain immortality for his quote expressing frustration at the delays for launching Freedom 7, saying “Why don’t you fix your little problem and light this candle?”

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