Forty-seven years ago to the day, 20 July 1969, Neil Armstrong & Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin Jr. climbed down from the Lunar Module Eagle & became the first men to set foot on the Moon, while Michael Collins orbited overhead in the Command Module Columbia. In Armstrong's words, "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for Mankind." Each Lunar Module that landed on the Moon carried a plaque bearing an image of the Western & Eastern Hemispheres & the astronaut crew's names & signatures. Apollo 11's plaque, affixed to a leg of the Lunar Module Eagle, bore the following inscription:
HERE MEN FROM THE PLANET EARTHThe plaques affixed to the Lunar Modules Intrepid, Aquarius, Antares, Falcon, & Orion—Apollos 12, 13, 14, 15, & 16—were more plain, lacking any special inscription. For Apollo 17, the Challenger's plaque was inscribed:
FIRST SET FOOT UPON THE MOON
JULY 1969, A.D.
WE CAME IN PEACE FOR ALL MANKIND
HERE MAN COMPLETED HIS FIRSTAmerican astronauts first set foot upon the Moon, fulfilling President Kennedy's 1961 goal of "landing a man on the Moon & returning him safely to Earth" by decade's end, on 20 July 1969, forty-seven years ago today.
EXPLORATIONS OF THE MOON
DECEMBER 1972, A.D.
MAY THE SPIRIT OF PEACE IN WHICH WE CAME
BE REFLECTED IN THE LIVES OF ALL MANKIND