Gotta Watch: How we got to the moon
Apollo 11's lunar module, the Eagle, ascends.
November 16th, 2011
11:06 AM ET

Gotta Watch: How we got to the moon

The first moon landing was one of the nation’s most historic must-see events. An estimated 600 million people around the world tuned in to see Apollo 11 touch down on the moon. Today, the astronauts who flew to the moon are making a rare joint appearance to receive the Congressional Gold Medal, along with former senator and astronaut John Glenn. You’ve no doubt seen the moon landing footage. Now go behind the scenes and learn more about what it took to get Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to the moon.

Cutting edge – The computer on the lunar module had 36kb of memory—that’s less than a calculator holds now. Check out the giant technological leaps we’ve made since that historic trip.

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Spacesuit seamstresses – The complex spacesuits that the astronauts wore made the difference between life and death for the Apollo 11 crew. See the initial drawings of the suits and meet the women who sewed them. You can also read more about this story here.

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An astronaut’s life – LIFE photographer Ralph Morse shares rare photos of the astronauts and their families in the 1960s before the famous Apollo 11 mission. See the unusual family portrait he took at three minutes into the video.

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Filed under: Gotta Watch • NASA • Shuttle • Space
soundoff (178 Responses)
  1. Mike

    And now we can't put people in space. We hitch rides with the Russians. Thank you congress . . .

    November 16, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      Biggest joke ever. and the biggest lie to the american people. Shame on Nasa

      November 16, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • The Guy

      @ Mike – Im sure the Russians are laughing their butts off about that.
      @ Aaron – The biggest joke has to be your statement, and the biggest lie was from all the crackpots that came up with these theory's that you apparently bought into. Simple scientific proof shows we were there. You can aim any independently owned laser at specific coordinates at the moon and get a return beam from a reflector placed there by us. Russia has photoed our landing sights. Do some research of your own and don't be a dope.

      November 16, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • SgtSerge

      Posting this here so everyone can see, here is a link to images of the lunar landing site....
      Preatty clear to see. I will be waiting for the morons to continue to doubt, so you can confirm how dumb you really are 🙂
      Have a nice day Tin Foil Hat People!!!!!

      November 16, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ronpaulisinsane

    we never went to the moon. it was all staged

    November 16, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • yep

      Ummm you're insane.

      November 16, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • TheUnallied

      Don't you watch mythbusters??

      November 16, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • What?

      Yea, sure it was. Crawl back in your hole.

      November 16, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Guy

      It would seem you don't watch mythbusters either. They proved that it was not faked.

      November 16, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • BobZemko

      I hope you have not nor plan on reproducing.

      November 16, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • SgtSerge


      The pictures from the landing sites are available for all to see. They had to abandon equipment at each landing site, the equipment is still there. The Russian images clearly show the landing zones.

      That simple people, the images are very clear and on the internet for everyone to see..... Like Obama's birth cert. this is just a bunch of people that think they are smarter then the rest of the world, but yet in the face of facts can't decide anything for themselves, so they stick to what they know, that is knowledge without proof or reason.

      Stupid is pretending you know something, and avoiding all facts...... SAD!

      November 16, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • The tin foil hat destroyer

      The moon landings were real. Your alleged brain is a hoax.

      November 16, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • SgtSerge

      Posting this here so everyone can see

      Here are the pics from the lunar landing site

      November 16, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • JJ

      Here come thr trolls.

      November 16, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Stan

    And I wonder how much it cost in 2011 dollars for all the parts of the first moon landing mission? Probably way less than it would cost to do the same thing today, even after adjusting for inflation.

    November 16, 2011 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  4. WildWest

    I agree it was staged. Has anyone been there since? NO>>>>

    November 16, 2011 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Dreamisover

      Here's a clue: the USSR absolutely hated us and was extremely jealous of this feat. You don't think that
      if we faked it, they wouldn't have been sreaming to the world "The US faked it and here's the proof"?
      Face it, we were once really that good – now were populated by people who don't even understand algebra
      let alone can deal with the concept of orbital mechanics....

      November 16, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      Actually 5 more Apollo missions landed on the moon after the initial landing. The rest of the missions were canceled and we have been stuck in earth orbit since then. The reason lack of money and direction for the space program.

      November 16, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Dreamisover, how original.. I've heard that "explanation" so many times on so many forums in almost the exact phrasing. Stop repeating things you're told and try a little critical thought of your own. You're assuming Russia would do something when you have absolutely zero idea how Russian government/intelligence chooses to operate. You think people (especially in the 70's) would trust Russian media for one second? Why would they waste their time? Give me a break.

      November 16, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Isildain

      If it was, staged, wouldn't it stand to reason that we would have "gone back" probably several times? Do you REALLY think that it was staged? If so, it would go down as the grandest conspiracy in the history of the world (or that the world would ever see). Since it only takes 1 person to undo a conspiracy, I find it extraordinary that nobody has come forward to prove the moon-landing was a hoax, especially after 40 years.

      November 16, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Dreamisover

      Save your breath man – conspiracy nuts abound everywhere in this country these days...if they can't put an evil government spin on something, it not worth talking about...

      November 16, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Saiyan5

      One idiot mentioned " The moon landing was real because five other landing took place after Apollo 11 ".
      Bug Bonny went to the moon too, i seen it on cartoon network. how's that?

      November 16, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • HamsterDancer

      I'm always surprised that so many people still go for the conspiracy theory on this. There is science and tons of info to back up everything conspiracy enthusiasts come up with.Though for me the most obvious one is simple human psychology.
      If more than 5 people are keeping a secret it will easily be exposed because more people than that don't keep a united mindset on it. They break into subgroups and develop different thoughts on the subject, which causes them to leak the info to other people sometimes in innocent ways to spouses or friends, all the way up to spilling the whole thing for money.
      Think of all the scientists, engineers, astronomers, accountants, office workers who would have to have iron clad mouths. Hell, even the people who drove trucks and delivered food to the astronauts on the fake movie set. In over 40 years not one single person who knew the "facts" of 5 fake moon landings has ever come up with all the paper trails that would have to be there. The Watergate and Irangate conspiracy wouldn't have involved nearly as many people yet they fell apart within a few years of starting let alone forty.

      November 16, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • BobZemko

      It's scary to think that there are people like you breathing our air, serving on juries and reproducing.

      November 16, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      HamsterDancer, I can refute your "humans can't keep secrets" hypothesis in one word: Military.

      Try again.

      November 16, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • HamsterDancer

      Bill, I refute your refute.
      The vast majority of military secrets are projects or missions that from the get-go are intended to be secret. The basis to the moon landing conspiracies is that this was intended to be a massive multi-billion dollar hoax on the American people and the world that would look real from the beginning. A "fake" front has to be permanently maintained forever, not only with the people initially included but every single person who has come through NASA and the government who could possibly have access to the "real" info.
      Even top secret projects like the stealth bomber or the Navy Seal bin Laden mission eventually become declassified. A fake moon landing conspiracy with all the hundreds. perhaps thousands of conspiracists must maintain theirs forever. With how inept our government is at even the most simple things, do you actually believe they have keep this secret with near perfection all this time?

      November 16, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doug

      If you think this was faked, see the myth busters article on this conspiracy theory. Artifacts left on the moon are visible and detectable by 3rd party scientists (and no, I'm not including the myth busters on that – I think they are marginally professional at best).

      I like a good conspiracy theory as much as the next guy (lone gunman, anyone?) – but this one, well, I'm not *that* loony, lol.

      November 16, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Physics-lite

    Oh we and we will return, and we will go to Mars then. Go USA!

    November 16, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  6. Portland tony

    For The amount of money spent on war and its aftermath, since the Apollo project, we could have colonies of humans on other solar systems, developed a cure for all disease and raised the quality of life for all 7 billion of us and still have cash in the bank

    November 16, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • petridish

      "Colonies of humans on other solar systems"! We might be there is there had been no dark ages that held back science for hundreds of years.

      November 16, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • AGuest9

      Sad, but true. But, we made Korea safe for megalomaniacs, and Vietnam safe to make our clothing. We freed the Iraqi people so that they can either kill one another because of territorial or religious differences, or be over-run by Iran. Money well wasted – MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

      November 16, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Dreamisover

      Yeah, as I recall that was the argument for stopping the Apollo program in the first place – the money would be
      better spent here on earth...we could use all that NASA $'s to erradicate poverty and lift people out of slums.
      Well, they shut down Apollo in 1972.......and now we have more slums than we did 39 years ago

      November 16, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • AGuest9

      We DID use NASA's $s to erradicate poverty and lift people out of slums – in Henry Kissinger's China.

      November 16, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Philly Al

      PT, you hit the nail on the head. There were supposed to be three additional landing missions after Apollo 17. Congress pulled the funding for Apollos 18, 19 and 20, to pay for the ever increasingly expensive Vietnam quagmire (which was escalated because of the Gulf of Tonkin "incident", manufactured by a lying President from Texas. Sound familiar?) We bankrupted our treasury by being the policeman of the world and getting involved in other countries civil wars, while our "Captains of Industry" shipped our manufacturing jobs to China, making them an economic giant while greatly decreasing the US tax base. This is what the combination of greed and huge egos will accomplish. Our country could have done so much better.

      November 16, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bob June

    Now we contract to the Russians to support our Space Program. The President is always talking about jobs, however, the space program has been cut and jobs have gone to Russia. The value of the Space Program goes much further than the tangible results. It encourages math and science in our schools and colleges. The development of technical products for US production is being lost.
    Bob June

    November 16, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  8. Bob June

    I forgot to mention that we will be spending several Billion dollars to Russia for Space Program support. This country would rather support un-employment and welfare rather a program that provides vast benefits.
    Bob June

    November 16, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Dreamisover

      Amen brother...the latest heavy lifting launch vehicle (capable of returning to the moon) was scrapped by
      the Obama administration – they said we couldn't afford it...ironically the whole program cost almost exactly
      the same amount of money as the Cash for Clunkers Program – really unbelievable, you know?

      November 16, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Cedar Rapids

      They also said it was way behind target, would be way over budget and might not even actually achieve what they wanted it to achieve dreamisover

      November 16, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bill

    I laugh every time I see their awful low-budget looking footage that they "lost" Hahaha... Most historic event in American history and they lose the videotapes. Keep drinking that kool-aid, America.

    November 16, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Dreamisover

      Hey, ask India if we landed on the moon....their moon-orbiting vehicle photographed all 6 of our landing sights and
      equipment last year...or are they in on the big bad conspiracy too? Look it up....

      November 16, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      What is your fetish for assuming nations would blow the whistle on other nations' hoaxes on their respective populations? Any specific hypothesis for this or you just pulling it out of thin air?

      Yes look it up, I'll go ask the Indian government for the truth... Is that your idea of a joke?

      November 16, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • DeathOnABicycle

      The same Kool Aid you drank when you checked Yes for Obama and still believe his BS? Yeah, you keep drinking yours there candy ***!

      November 16, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Guy

      You can point a big enough laser at the moon (specific coordinates) and get a return beam by a reflector pad that placed there. Gee, I wonder if it magically appeared or if someone put it there? Think about it dope. Its science, not magical lies.

      November 16, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • BobZemko

      Bill, still having a problem making a synapse connection?

      November 16, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bill

    People, just take off the blinders and go watch the original footage on Youtube. It is a joke. Fakest looking toy props and green-screen setups you will ever see. Just look at it objectively if you can after 40 years of people on TV saying "We went to the moon, we went to the moon, we went to the moon."

    Yes, maybe we have gone to the moon, but that footage sure as hell was not real. It was a hoax, period.

    November 16, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • DeathOnABicycle

      You need to get back to your occupy Wall Street Post since there are no jobs for Liberal Arts students these days. Or you could always practice the phrase, "Would you like to Super Size that order?"

      November 16, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • JJ

      They didn't use green screens in 1969. lol

      November 16, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • BBJ

      But they did use front screen projection.

      November 16, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    What Dreamisover said about the present state of education is certainly true.

    November 16, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Saiyan5

    The fight is still on to see what country will put the first man to the moon.

    November 16, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • JJ

      Such a troll.

      November 16, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Earl Weaver

      If you were any more stupid, we'd have to water you twice a week.

      November 16, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Cybersport

    I feel sorry for the people who claim we never went to the moon. It was perhaps the greatest technological achievement in history

    November 16, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob D

      I don't feel bad for them at all, but I understand your point. To deny the greatest technological achievement of humanity is at once pathetic and insulting. But, given the number of morons that you find posting on these news sties, there's no lack of such people out there. Personally I prefer being able to explore the universe with the other people who understand it, and wish I could go walk on the moon myself!

      November 16, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • cwfusto

      "36k worth of memory, and now look at how far we've come..." yet with all the technology we haven't been back to the moon....
      I believe strongly that we went to the moon, and I believe strongly there is a very valid reason we haven't been back and technology isn't the reason holding us back.

      November 16, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  14. DeathOnABicycle

    Not very humble there horace, but tell you what, I'll help you!

    November 16, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. pgher truly are an idiot.

    November 16, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
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