If You Believe They Put a Man on the Moon....

Jon Foro on January 25, 2019


Where were you on July 20, 1969, when astronaut Neil Armstrong stepped out of the Apollo Lunar Module* onto the Moon's surface and uttered the immortal, maybe improvised, and possibly flubbed statement "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." If you're like me, you were not yet two years old, and you don't remember. But you knew, and that knowledge fueled excitement over space exploration that overflowed into the vanguard Viking and Voyager programs. But I'm well over median age, meaning that the Moon landings—like the McDLTJarts, and Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific—are, at this point, old news for most humans. As Apollo fades into history—and manned space-exploration remains in its post-Space Shuttle lull—the staggering coolness of the accomplishment diminishes. Or worse: in our conspiracy-addled moment, it becomes easier to decry something so distant as "fake."§

Fortunately, the 50th anniversary is upon us, and you can expect an onslaught of media, including books. (If this seems premature, Apollo 8—the first mission to send astronauts into lunar orbit—launched on December 21, 1968.) Here are 36 of them—old, new, or forthcoming—celebrating this extraordinary achievement.

Apollo in Photographs

Space Race History

Rocket Women

The Apollo 11 Crew

Apollo 8: The First Manned Mission to the Moon

More Books by Apollo Astronauts

The Space Race for Gearheads

Image courtesy of NASA: During the second spacewalk on December 12, 1972, Apollo 17 Mission Commander Eugene A. Cernan is standing near the lunar rover designed by Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama


* Why do we refer to the Apollo Lunar Module as the "Lem"? The machine was initially called the "Lunar Excursion Module," and maybe ALM seemed inappropriate considering the to cost taxpayers at the expense of other programs.
NASA's own style guide advises that Moon be capitalized when referring to Earth's moon.
 That's what everyone heard, but Armstrong maintained (and NASA agrees) that he said "One small step for a man" (which makes more sense), and that the article was dropped in the transmission. There's some speculation that he was completely geeked up because he was about to step onto the Moon (which makes a lot of sense) and dropped the "a" in his delivery.
§ If you're in the "didn't happen" crowd, Buzz Aldrin would like a word.

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