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July 20, 2009 

"Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed"

Eagle, the Apollo Mission's Lunar Module, landed on the moon exactly 40 years today (4:18 ET). You can listen to the audio clip of Eagle's descent to the moon here (150 seconds).

Eagle, and the subsequent lunar modules, were built in Bethpage, New York by Grumman Corporation.

At 10:56 p.m. ET, Neil Armstrong climbed down the ladder and proclaimed: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."


Buzz Aldrin joined Armstrong shortly thereafter. The two astronauts explored the lunar surface for two and a half hours, collecting samples and taking photographs.

They left behind an American flag, a patch honoring the fallen Apollo 1 crew, several scientific instruments and a plaque on one of Eagle's legs that read, "Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon. July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind."

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Let's face it, all rhetoric aside, the trip to the moon was a stunt designed to show up the Russians. It carried a cost our nation could easily afford. A trip to Mars needs to be multinational since no nation can bear the cost alone. It's a different ball game, and when the cost/benefit analyses are done, most nations will find something better to do.
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It is unfortunate that what you call "rhetoric" was an extension of what man has done since the beginning...expolore. For those who were lucky enough to watch it happen, superlatives are not enough.
Consider this: When, since, has a nation been so united in a peaceful goal that captivated her citizens to the degree this did?
Bottle that, and you will understand the "Oh boy" that was uttered by Walter Cronkite that eventful evening.

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