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Pictures | Tue Jul 16, 2019 | 2:45am BST

'A profound spiritual impact': Reflections from the 12 men who have walked on the moon

Neil Armstrong took his first step onto the moon 50 years ago, and since that day on July 20, 1969, 11 men have followed in his footsteps over six different missions in three years (NOTE: that figure doesn't include Apollo 13 because they never landed on the moon). Here's what the 12 astronauts who have walked the lunar surface have said about their awe-inspiring experiences: Pictured: Apollo 11 lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin carries equipment for the Passive Seismic Experiments (in his left hand) and the Laser Ranging Retroreflector (in his right) to the deployment area at Tranquility Base in the Sea of Tranquility on the moon, July 20, 1969. Neil Armstrong/NASA/Handout via REUTERS

Neil Armstrong took his first step onto the moon 50 years ago, and since that day on July 20, 1969, 11 men have followed in his footsteps over six different missions in three years (NOTE: that figure doesn't include Apollo 13 because they never...more

Neil Armstrong took his first step onto the moon 50 years ago, and since that day on July 20, 1969, 11 men have followed in his footsteps over six different missions in three years (NOTE: that figure doesn't include Apollo 13 because they never landed on the moon). Here's what the 12 astronauts who have walked the lunar surface have said about their awe-inspiring experiences: Pictured: Apollo 11 lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin carries equipment for the Passive Seismic Experiments (in his left hand) and the Laser Ranging Retroreflector (in his right) to the deployment area at Tranquility Base in the Sea of Tranquility on the moon, July 20, 1969. Neil Armstrong/NASA/Handout via REUTERS
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Neil Armstrong on seeing Earth during Apollo 11: "It's so small, it's very colorful--you know, you see an ocean and gaseous layer, a little bit, just a tiny bit, of atmosphere around it, and compared with all the other celestial objects, which in many cases are much more massive, more terrifying, it just looks like it couldn't put up a very good defense against a celestial onslaught." Pictured: Earth rises above the moon's horizon during the Apollo 11 lunar mission in July 1969. NASA/Handout via REUTERS

Neil Armstrong on seeing Earth during Apollo 11: "It's so small, it's very colorful--you know, you see an ocean and gaseous layer, a little bit, just a tiny bit, of atmosphere around it, and compared with all the other celestial objects, which in...more

Neil Armstrong on seeing Earth during Apollo 11: "It's so small, it's very colorful--you know, you see an ocean and gaseous layer, a little bit, just a tiny bit, of atmosphere around it, and compared with all the other celestial objects, which in many cases are much more massive, more terrifying, it just looks like it couldn't put up a very good defense against a celestial onslaught." Pictured: Earth rises above the moon's horizon during the Apollo 11 lunar mission in July 1969. NASA/Handout via REUTERS
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Buzz Aldrin on planting the flag during Apollo 11: "We had some difficulty at first getting the pole of the flag to remain in the surface. In penetrating the surface, we found that most objects would go down about 5, maybe 6 inches, and then meet with gradual resistance. At the same time there was not much of a support force on either side, so we had to lean the flag back slightly in order for it to maintain this position. So many people have done so much to give us this opportunity to place this American flag on the surface. To me it was one of the prouder moments of my life, to be able to stand there and quickly salute the flag."  Neil Armstrong/NASA/Handout via REUTERS

Buzz Aldrin on planting the flag during Apollo 11: "We had some difficulty at first getting the pole of the flag to remain in the surface. In penetrating the surface, we found that most objects would go down about 5, maybe 6 inches, and then meet...more

Buzz Aldrin on planting the flag during Apollo 11: "We had some difficulty at first getting the pole of the flag to remain in the surface. In penetrating the surface, we found that most objects would go down about 5, maybe 6 inches, and then meet with gradual resistance. At the same time there was not much of a support force on either side, so we had to lean the flag back slightly in order for it to maintain this position. So many people have done so much to give us this opportunity to place this American flag on the surface. To me it was one of the prouder moments of my life, to be able to stand there and quickly salute the flag." Neil Armstrong/NASA/Handout via REUTERS
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Charles "Pete" Conrad, Apollo 12: "It was really pioneering in lunar exploration. We had planned our traverses carefully, we covered them, and we stayed on the time line. We had a real-time link with the ground, to help guide our work on the surface. Of course, we had practiced a lot beforehand. Working with geologists in the field to learn techniques from them while they learned what we could and couldn't do in the lunar environment." Pictured: Astronaut Charles "Pete" Conrad Jr., Apollo 12 commander, climbs down on to the lunar surface during the first extravehicular activity of the Apollo 12 mission November 16, 1969. NASA/Handout via REUTERS

Charles "Pete" Conrad, Apollo 12: "It was really pioneering in lunar exploration. We had planned our traverses carefully, we covered them, and we stayed on the time line. We had a real-time link with the ground, to help guide our work on the surface....more

Charles "Pete" Conrad, Apollo 12: "It was really pioneering in lunar exploration. We had planned our traverses carefully, we covered them, and we stayed on the time line. We had a real-time link with the ground, to help guide our work on the surface. Of course, we had practiced a lot beforehand. Working with geologists in the field to learn techniques from them while they learned what we could and couldn't do in the lunar environment." Pictured: Astronaut Charles "Pete" Conrad Jr., Apollo 12 commander, climbs down on to the lunar surface during the first extravehicular activity of the Apollo 12 mission November 16, 1969. NASA/Handout via REUTERS
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Alan Bean, Apollo 12: "When you're getting ready to go to the moon, every day's like Christmas and your birthday rolled into one. I mean, can you think of anything better?" Pictured: Astronaut Alan L. Bean, Lunar Module LM pilot, deploys the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package ALSEP during the Apollo 12 mission November 19, 1969.  NASA/Handout via REUTERS

Alan Bean, Apollo 12: "When you're getting ready to go to the moon, every day's like Christmas and your birthday rolled into one. I mean, can you think of anything better?" Pictured: Astronaut Alan L. Bean, Lunar Module LM pilot, deploys the Apollo...more

Alan Bean, Apollo 12: "When you're getting ready to go to the moon, every day's like Christmas and your birthday rolled into one. I mean, can you think of anything better?" Pictured: Astronaut Alan L. Bean, Lunar Module LM pilot, deploys the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package ALSEP during the Apollo 12 mission November 19, 1969. NASA/Handout via REUTERS
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Alan Shepard of Apollo 14 on looking at the Earth from the moon: "So it makes it look beautiful; it makes it look lonely; it makes it look fragile. You think to yourself, just imagine that millions of people are living on that planet and don't realize how fragile it is. I think this is a feeling everyone has had and expressed it in one fashion or another. That was an overwhelming feeling in seeing the beauty of the planet on the one hand but the fragility of it on the other." Pictured: Earth is seen from 36,000 nautical miles away, as photographed from the Apollo 10 spacecraft during its trans-lunar journey toward the moon, May 18, 1969. NASA/Handout via REUTERS

Alan Shepard of Apollo 14 on looking at the Earth from the moon: "So it makes it look beautiful; it makes it look lonely; it makes it look fragile. You think to yourself, just imagine that millions of people are living on that planet and don't...more

Alan Shepard of Apollo 14 on looking at the Earth from the moon: "So it makes it look beautiful; it makes it look lonely; it makes it look fragile. You think to yourself, just imagine that millions of people are living on that planet and don't realize how fragile it is. I think this is a feeling everyone has had and expressed it in one fashion or another. That was an overwhelming feeling in seeing the beauty of the planet on the one hand but the fragility of it on the other." Pictured: Earth is seen from 36,000 nautical miles away, as photographed from the Apollo 10 spacecraft during its trans-lunar journey toward the moon, May 18, 1969. NASA/Handout via REUTERS
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Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14: "Yes, there's a lot of awesomeness, there's "Wow!", there's exhilaration. Well, there's the sense of being the first to ever be at this place. That's awesome." Pictured: Astronaut Edgar Mitchell stands by the deployed U.S. flag on the lunar surface, February 5, 1971. NASA/Handout via Reuters

Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14: "Yes, there's a lot of awesomeness, there's "Wow!", there's exhilaration. Well, there's the sense of being the first to ever be at this place. That's awesome." Pictured: Astronaut Edgar Mitchell stands by the deployed U.S....more

Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14: "Yes, there's a lot of awesomeness, there's "Wow!", there's exhilaration. Well, there's the sense of being the first to ever be at this place. That's awesome." Pictured: Astronaut Edgar Mitchell stands by the deployed U.S. flag on the lunar surface, February 5, 1971. NASA/Handout via Reuters
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David Scott, Apollo 15: "As they all tell you, it's beautiful up there," he said in a 2016 interview with Forbes. "When you're on the Moon, you're zoning... I never paid attention to my suit, backpack or anything -- I was doing what I was trained to do in terms of the geology." Pictured: Astronaut David Scott, Apollo 9 command module pilot, is seen inside the Command Module "Gumdrop" March 1969. NASA/Handout via REUTERS

David Scott, Apollo 15: "As they all tell you, it's beautiful up there," he said in a 2016 interview with Forbes. "When you're on the Moon, you're zoning... I never paid attention to my suit, backpack or anything -- I was doing what I was trained to...more

David Scott, Apollo 15: "As they all tell you, it's beautiful up there," he said in a 2016 interview with Forbes. "When you're on the Moon, you're zoning... I never paid attention to my suit, backpack or anything -- I was doing what I was trained to do in terms of the geology." Pictured: Astronaut David Scott, Apollo 9 command module pilot, is seen inside the Command Module "Gumdrop" March 1969. NASA/Handout via REUTERS
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James Irwin of Apollo 15 wrote in his memoirs: "Being on the moon had a profound spiritual impact upon my life... The entire space achievement is put in proper perspective when one realizes that God walking on the earth is more important than man walking on the moon." Pictured: Astronaut James Irwin, lunar module pilot, gives a military salute while standing beside the U.S. flag during Apollo 15 lunar surface extravehicular activity (EVA) at the Hadley-Apennine landing site on the moon, August 1, 1971. NASA/David Scott/Handout via REUTERS

James Irwin of Apollo 15 wrote in his memoirs: "Being on the moon had a profound spiritual impact upon my life... The entire space achievement is put in proper perspective when one realizes that God walking on the earth is more important than man...more

James Irwin of Apollo 15 wrote in his memoirs: "Being on the moon had a profound spiritual impact upon my life... The entire space achievement is put in proper perspective when one realizes that God walking on the earth is more important than man walking on the moon." Pictured: Astronaut James Irwin, lunar module pilot, gives a military salute while standing beside the U.S. flag during Apollo 15 lunar surface extravehicular activity (EVA) at the Hadley-Apennine landing site on the moon, August 1, 1971. NASA/David Scott/Handout via REUTERS
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John Young of Apollo 16 told the Houston Chronicle: "One-sixth gravity on the surface of the moon is just delightful. It's not like being in zero gravity, you know. You can drop a pencil in zero gravity and look for it for three days. In one-sixth gravity, you just look down and there it is." Pictured: Astronaut John W. Young drives the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) during the first Apollo 16 spacewalk at the Descartes landing site on the moon in this April 21, 1972. NASA/Handout via REUTERS

John Young of Apollo 16 told the Houston Chronicle: "One-sixth gravity on the surface of the moon is just delightful. It's not like being in zero gravity, you know. You can drop a pencil in zero gravity and look for it for three days. In one-sixth...more

John Young of Apollo 16 told the Houston Chronicle: "One-sixth gravity on the surface of the moon is just delightful. It's not like being in zero gravity, you know. You can drop a pencil in zero gravity and look for it for three days. In one-sixth gravity, you just look down and there it is." Pictured: Astronaut John W. Young drives the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) during the first Apollo 16 spacewalk at the Descartes landing site on the moon in this April 21, 1972. NASA/Handout via REUTERS
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Charles Duke of Apollo 16 left a personal memento: "I took a picture of my family. Our kids were 5 and 7. And a little picture that had been taken in the backyard by one of the NASA guys, Ludy Benjamin, and we had that encased in Velcro (not Velcro) but--shrink-wrapped. And on the back of this photograph, you know, we'd written: 'This is the family of Astronaut Duke from planet Earth. Landed on the moon, April 1972.' And the kids had signed it, you know, to sort of get them involved with the flight. So, I left that on the moon and took a picture of the picture, and that's one of our neatest possessions now."  NASA/Handout via REUTERS

Charles Duke of Apollo 16 left a personal memento: "I took a picture of my family. Our kids were 5 and 7. And a little picture that had been taken in the backyard by one of the NASA guys, Ludy Benjamin, and we had that encased in Velcro (not Velcro)...more

Charles Duke of Apollo 16 left a personal memento: "I took a picture of my family. Our kids were 5 and 7. And a little picture that had been taken in the backyard by one of the NASA guys, Ludy Benjamin, and we had that encased in Velcro (not Velcro) but--shrink-wrapped. And on the back of this photograph, you know, we'd written: 'This is the family of Astronaut Duke from planet Earth. Landed on the moon, April 1972.' And the kids had signed it, you know, to sort of get them involved with the flight. So, I left that on the moon and took a picture of the picture, and that's one of our neatest possessions now." NASA/Handout via REUTERS
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Eugene Cernan, Apollo 17: "It's a realization, a reality, all of a sudden you have just landed in another world on another body out there [somewhere in the] universe, and what you are seeing is being seen by human beings, human eyes, for the first time. Where you or no human beings have ever been before." Pictured: NASA astronaut Eugene A. Cernan makes a short checkout of the lunar rover during the early part of the first Apollo 17 extravehicular activity at the Taurus-Littrow landing site December 11, 1972. Harrison H. Schmitt/NASA/Handout via REUTERS

Eugene Cernan, Apollo 17: "It's a realization, a reality, all of a sudden you have just landed in another world on another body out there [somewhere in the] universe, and what you are seeing is being seen by human beings, human eyes, for the first...more

Eugene Cernan, Apollo 17: "It's a realization, a reality, all of a sudden you have just landed in another world on another body out there [somewhere in the] universe, and what you are seeing is being seen by human beings, human eyes, for the first time. Where you or no human beings have ever been before." Pictured: NASA astronaut Eugene A. Cernan makes a short checkout of the lunar rover during the early part of the first Apollo 17 extravehicular activity at the Taurus-Littrow landing site December 11, 1972. Harrison H. Schmitt/NASA/Handout via REUTERS
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Harrison Schmitt, a geologist by training, on studying the moon for Apollo 17: 
"Earth history beyond 3 billion years ago is very difficult for us to look at here on Earth. In fact, Earth history beyond half a billion years ago is somewhat difficult to look at. You have to go to very special places. On the Moon, we just start looking at history at 3 billion years and go back from there. So, it's a pitted and dusty window into our own past. No question about that."
"That's a problem that NASA photography (in spite of all their wonderful work) has a hard time believing, some of the colors. And you see it most in the pictures of the orange soil that we found on Apollo 17, in that there's an international red or orange on that leg of that gnomon, and they refused to print to that color. And so, the orange soil never looks as orange to you in a picture as it did to us while we were on the Moon." Pictured: Scientist-astronaut Harrison H. Schmitt is stands next to a huge, split boulder during the third Apollo 17 extravehicular activity (EVA) at the Taurus-Littrow landing site on the moon during the Apollo 17 mission December 13, 1972.NASA/Handout via REUTERS

Harrison Schmitt, a geologist by training, on studying the moon for Apollo 17: "Earth history beyond 3 billion years ago is very difficult for us to look at here on Earth. In fact, Earth history beyond half a billion years ago is somewhat difficult...more

Harrison Schmitt, a geologist by training, on studying the moon for Apollo 17: "Earth history beyond 3 billion years ago is very difficult for us to look at here on Earth. In fact, Earth history beyond half a billion years ago is somewhat difficult to look at. You have to go to very special places. On the Moon, we just start looking at history at 3 billion years and go back from there. So, it's a pitted and dusty window into our own past. No question about that." "That's a problem that NASA photography (in spite of all their wonderful work) has a hard time believing, some of the colors. And you see it most in the pictures of the orange soil that we found on Apollo 17, in that there's an international red or orange on that leg of that gnomon, and they refused to print to that color. And so, the orange soil never looks as orange to you in a picture as it did to us while we were on the Moon." Pictured: Scientist-astronaut Harrison H. Schmitt is stands next to a huge, split boulder during the third Apollo 17 extravehicular activity (EVA) at the Taurus-Littrow landing site on the moon during the Apollo 17 mission December 13, 1972.NASA/Handout via REUTERS
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