The first moon landing was 44 years ago, and is seen as one of the pinnacles of human achievement.
But, what a lot of people don’t realise, is that the mission was one of the most dangerous attempted by NASA.
It was so risky that the President prepared for the possibility of Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin not making it back to Earth and being left to die on the moon.
The speech written for President Nixon in this event has been released…
President Nixon’s full speech:
Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.
These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.
These two men are laying down their lives in mankind’s most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.
They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown.
In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.
In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations.
In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.
Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man’s search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.
For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.
The speech is a sobering reminder of just how risky space exploration is, and especially was back in 1969.
Buzz and Neil returned to Earth as global heroes, and Buzz shared some photos this week of the giant leap they made for mankind.