NASA Moon landing: Read the incredible Apollo 11 transcripts from the surface of the Moon

Three astronauts successfully carried out a mission to the Moon and back in the summer of 1969. Just eight years after President John F Kennedy instructed America to land a human on the Moon, NASA accomplished the mission. On July 16, 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins blasted off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral. Then on July 20, 1969, Commander Armstrong and Lunar Module Pilot Aldrin descended to the Moon.

The two astronauts made their way down to the lunar orb in the Eagle Lunar Module, while Command Module Pilot Collins watched from orbit.

The lunar descent was fraught by the Eagle flying too fast, which resulted in the Lunar Module (LM) heading for the wrong landing spot.

Luckily, Commander Armstrong’s nerves of steel allowed him to manually guide the LM out of a boulder-strewn crater and towards safety.

When the astronauts landed in the Moon’s Sea of Tranquility – Mare Tranquillitatis – the LM had less than 30 seconds of fuel left.

Below are the astronaut conversations that followed.


NASA Moon landing: Apollo 11 crew and mission

NASA Moon landing: Here are the Apollo 11 transcripts from the Moon (Image: NASA)

The Eagle successfully lands on the Moon

After guiding the Eagle to safety, Commander Armstrong informed NASA’s Mission Control in Houston, Texas, of success.

Neil Armstrong: “Engine arm is off. Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.

Charlie Duke, flight controller: “Roger, Twan... Tranquillity. We copy you on the ground. You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We're breathing again. Thanks a lot.”

Buzz Aldrin: “Thank you.”

Charlie Duke: “You're looking good here.”

Neil Armstrong: “Okay. Let's get on with it. We're going to be busy for a minute.”


Neil Armstrong leaves the Lunar Module and steps out onto the Moon

About six-and-a-half hours after the Eagle landed on the Moon, the two NASA astronauts were ready to leave the LM.

Neil Armstrong: “I'm at the foot of the ladder. The LM footpads are only depressed in the surface about one or two inches, although the surface appears to be very, very fine grained, as you get close to it. It's almost like a powder.

That's one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind

Neil Armstrong, Apollo 11

“Okay. I'm going to step off the LM now.

“That's one small step for [a] man; one giant leap for mankind.”

“Yes, the surface is fine and powdery. I can kick it up loosely with my toe. It does adhere in fine layers, like powdered charcoal, to the sole and sides of my boots.

“I only go in a small fraction of an inch, maybe an eighth of an inch, but I can see the footprints of my boots and the treads in the fine, sandy particles.”


NASA Moon landing: Apollo 11 footprint on the Moon

NASA Moon landing: Apollo 11 landed on the Moon on July 20, 1969 (Image: NASA)

NASA Moon landing: Eagle Lunar Lander

NASA Moon landing: The astronauts landed in the Eagle Lunar Module (LM) (Image: NASA)

Apollo 11 prepares for its return journey home

On their homeward-bound journey to Earth, the three astronauts took part in a televised broadcast from inside of their spacecraft.

Buzz Aldrin: “Okay. The more mundane affairs, now that we've left the Moon, I'd like to trace through them a little bit for you; developments that have taken place in the food department. I'm sure you've already [voice cut out] type of a drink container.

“A little later, Mike will show you how the water gun operates with its new filter to take out the hydrogen. Essentially, this water gun is put in in this end and fills up this bag with water, and the drink then dissolves in the water, and this end of the [voice cut out] outfeeding.

“Likewise, we have other foods that are more solid nature. You can probably see this shrimp cocktail meal. [Voice cut out] afternoon while the two of us had salmon salad. [Voice cut out] another early development was the use of bite-size food [voice cut out].”

Charlie Duke: “11, Houston. Buzz, you're breaking up badly. Will you check your Vox? Over.”

Apollo 11 astronauts are greeted by US President Richard Nixon

After safely splashing down in the Pacific Ocean, the three astronauts were put into quarantine but also had a chance to be congratulated by the US President.

President Nixon: “One question, I think, all of us would like to ask. As we saw you bouncing around in that boat out there, I wonder if that wasn't the hardest part of the journey. Was that - did any of you get seasick?”

Neil Armstrong: “No, we didn't. And it was one of the harder parts, but it was one of the most pleasant, we can assure you.”

President Nixon: “Yes, well, I just know that you can sense what we all sense. When you get back now - incidentally, have you been able to follow some of the things that happened when you've gone. Did you know about the All-Star game?”

Neil Armstrong: “Yes, sir. The Capsule Communicators have been giving us daily news stories.”

NASA Moon landing: Apollo 11 returns to Earth

NASA Moon landing: The Apollo 11 crew splashed down on Earth on July 24, 1969 (Image: NASA)

NASA Moon landing: Apollo 11 and President Nixon

NASA Moon landing: Apollo 11 crew speaking to President Richard Nixon (Image: NASA)

Michael Collins: “They daily post us.”

President Nixon: “Were you American League or National League?”

Armstrong: “I’m [a] National League man.”

Aldrin: “I’m non-partisan, sir.”

Michael Collins: “That's right.”

President Nixon: “There's the politician in the group, right.”

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