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Crater 308 stands out in sharp relief in this photo from lunar orbit. Image Credit: NASA

44 Years Ago Today Apollo 14 Touched Down on Moon

moon landing

Image Credit: NASA

On Feb. 5. 1971, the Apollo 14 crew module landed on the moon with Captain Alan Bartlett Shepard, Jr. (USN), commander; Major Stuart Allen Roosa (USAF), command module pilot; and Commander Edgar Dean Mitchell (USN), lunar module pilot, said NASA.

NASA Released a photo that shows Shepard stands by the Modular Equipment Transporter (MET), a cart for carrying around tools, cameras and sample cases on the lunar surface.

Shepard can be identified by the vertical stripe on his helmet. After Apollo 13, the commander’s spacesuit had red stripes on the helmet, arms, and one leg, to help identify them in photographs.

The mission on Apollo 14 was undertaken in July 1969, a little over eight years since the flights of Gagarin and Shepard, which prompted President Kennedy’s challenge to put a man on the moon before the decade is out.

On the morning of July 16, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins atop Saturn V lift off from the Kennedy Space Center at 9:32 a.m. EDT and about 12 minutes later, they were in Earth orbit.

After one and a half orbits, Apollo 11 received a “go” for what mission controllers call “Translunar Injection” – in other words, it’s time to head for the moon. Three days later the crew was in lunar orbit, according to NASA.

A day after that, Armstrong and Aldrin climb into the lunar module Eagle and began the descent, while Collins was orbiting in the command module Columbia. Armstrong piloted the Eagle down in the Sea of Tranquility, moving past an area littered with boulders. During the final seconds of descent, Eagle’s computer was sounding alarms, said NASA account.

At 10:56 p.m. EDT Armstrong set the first human foot on the moon proclaiming: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

They explored the surface for two and a half hours, collecting samples and taking photographs and left behind an American flag, a patch honoring the fallen Apollo 1 crew, and a plaque on one of Eagle’s legs.

It reads, “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon. July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.”

Armstrong and Aldrin blast off and dock with Collins in Columbia and the crew splashed down off Hawaii on July 24.

In an interview years later, Armstrong praised the “hundreds of thousands” of people behind the project. “Every guy that’s setting up the tests, cranking the torque wrench, and so on, is saying, man or woman, ‘If anything goes wrong here, it’s not going to be my fault.'”

In the next three and a half years, 10 astronauts followed them to land on the moon, said NASA.

Saturn V launches with Apollo 11 on July 16, 1969 Smoke and flames signal the opening of a historic journey as the Saturn V clears the launch pad.  Image Credit: NASA

Saturn V launches with Apollo 11 on July 16, 1969
Smoke and flames signal the opening of a historic journey as the Saturn V clears the launch pad.
Image Credit: NASA

Buzz Aldrin climbs down the Eagle's ladder to the surface of moon.  Image Credit: NASA

Buzz Aldrin climbs down the Eagle’s ladder to the surface of moon.
Image Credit: NASA

Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong working at an equipment storage area on the lunar module. This is one of the few photos that show Armstrong during the moonwalk.  Image Credit: NASA

Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong working at an equipment storage area on the lunar module. This is one of the few photos that show Armstrong during the moonwalk.
Image Credit: NASA

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