'Moon landing team named - Commander Neil A. Armstrong (centre), Colonel Edwin E. Aldrin (left), and Lieutenant Colonel Michael Collins (right)'. Photograph by NASA, c.1969.
Fifty years ago today, Commander Neil Armstrong, Col. Edwin Eugene ‘Buzz’ Aldrin and Lt. Col. Michael Collins successfully completed the first mission to land a person on the moon.
To mark this special anniversary we have put together some highlights of the Society's lunar related material from our Collections, including a late 16th century 'lunar clock', celestial maps and illustrations, detailed maps of the Moon, and photographs of the Special Gold Medal awarded to Commander Armstrong in 1970.
The Society recognised Commander Armstrong with this award for being 'the leader of the Apollo 11 Expedition, and the first man to stand on the surface of the moon … for space exploration'. The rare Special Gold Medal he was presented with was illustrated with the cratered moon surface and was presented by the Duchess of Kent. A lead proof of the medal is held in our Collections.
On receipt of the medal, Commander Armstrong said: “Two generations ago, curious men around the world gathered on a few campuses and academies to investigate the world, the miniature world of the adult. Now, curious men from around the world join to learn the mysteries of the gigantic world of the Cosmos around us. They make these investigations to seek knowledge, but as you know, knowledge is not wisdom; that takes knowledge plus experience plus understanding. I thought of these characteristics as I floated silently in orbit about the moon, and looked at landmarks named after the great geographers of history - Kepler, one of the early charters of the skies, and Langrenus, that cartographer of the Court of Spain, and Eratosthenes, who first computed that our earth was a sphere of circumference 25,000 miles. So I accept these medals for myself and my colleagues and for those men in history who have inspired each of us in this room to seek new frontiers, and to understand them." (Geographical Journal, 137(1), Mar. 1971, p.146).
Take a look at our Collections special feature: the Moon.
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