Space & Innovation

Moon Landing: Rarely Seen Photos Inside Apollo 11

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon. 45 Years after this historic day, we take a look through archived NASA photos that aren't so commonly seen online.

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PREVIOUS GALLERY: Trans-Lunar: Rarely Seen Photos Inside Apollo 11

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the lunar surface, the first time in history that humans had set foot on another world. Command Module pilot Michael Collins remained in orbit around the moon waiting for the pair to return. During the voyage to the moon and during extravehicular activities on lunar surface, three Hasselblad 500EL cameras were used to chronicle the historic mission. Painstakingly collected David Woods, Ken MacTaggart and Frank O'Brien of NASA's History Division,

photographs recovered from the numerous reels of film from these cameras have been digitized and archived to the online Apollo Flight Journal

. To commemorate 45 years to the day since Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins made history, here is a small selection of photographs from the Journal that aren't so commonly seen online. In this photo, the Apollo 11 Lunar Module "Eagle", carrying Armstrong and Aldrin to the moon's surface, undocks from the Command Module (with Collins inside), to begin the descent phase of the mission.

Special thanks to space historian Amy Shira Teitel


During approach to and orbit around the moon, many photos were taken by the Apollo 11 crew of the moon's familiar, yet alien landscape. Shown here, the view from the Command Module surveys a series of impact craters.

Looking past a thruster on the Lunar Module, the Earth rises over the lunar horizon.

Photograph of Neil Armstrong shortly after touching down on the moon. The location where The Eagle touched down was named "Tranquility Base" after the region it landed in, The Sea of Tranquility.

Aldrin next to a window in the Lunar Module overlooking Tranquility Base.

After Armstrong had descended the ladder from the Lunar Module, Aldrin followed. Here is a photo of Aldrin exiting the lander and making his way down to the surface. It took over 30 minutes for both astronauts to disembark from The Eagle.

The view from the Lunar Module, sunlight bouncing off the lens of the camera.

Before landing on the moon, little was known about the nature of the lunar regolith. So in a series of basic experiments, Aldrin made bootprints in the dirt to see how the grains clumped. Also, he kicked the dirt to see how the particles traveled through the near-vacuum.

Aldrin hops across the lunar landscape to deliver components of the Early Apollo Scientific Experiment Package (EASEP) to their deployment site.

Aldrin sets up the Passive Seismic Experiment (PSE) that was used to gather data about how seismic waves travel through the lunar interior.

Aldrin digs a core tube into the ground to collect samples of lunar material from beneath the surface.

Tranquility Base as seen from near East Crater (Little West Crater).

Aldrin recovers experiments from the Lunar Module's exterior.

Photographed by Armstrong, Aldrin sets up a solar wind experiment near the Lunar Module.

The size of the Lunar Module becomes apparent in this photo of Aldrin standing next to one of the lander's footpads.

A closeup photo of the commemorative plaque and ladder outside the Lunar Module.

One of the lander's footpads and the solar wind experiment in the background.

The Earth hangs over the Lunar Module during the Apollo 11 astronauts' extravehicular activities on the moon's surface.

The American flag as seen from a Lunar Module window, lunar module thruster nozzle in the foreground.

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