First Two Moon Walkers
The first two men who walked on the moon were part of the Apollo 11 mission. Neil Armstrong was the first person to walk on the moon on July 21, 1969. Broadcast on television, he famously said, “That’s one small step for man, one giant step for mankind.”
Armstrong piloted the Lunar Module to the moon but had problems finding the spot where NASA wanted him to land because of large rocks and boulders in the are. Buzz Aldrin was close by his side and overseeing the details of the flight. Aldrin also had the chance to walk on the moon. Apollo 11 also saw the man plant a United States flag and launch an experiment to see how far away the moon was from the earth.
Two more men walked on the moon as part of the Apollo 12 mission. Though Pete Conrad is one of the more famous of the two, he was joined by Alan Bean. Lightning strikes nearly ended their mission as soon as it started, but the two astronauts worked together to recover their systems and get back on track. They spent a total of two days on the moon in November of 1969 and brought back pieces of the Surveyor 3 spacecraft for research purposes. Though NASA had plans to send more men to the moon as part of the Apollo 3 mission, technical difficulties ended those plans.
Alan Shepard was one of the next two men to walk on the moon as part of the Apollo 14 mission along with Edgar Mitchell. Their spacecraft launched at the end of January in 1971 and landed on the fifth of February. They landed on a part of the moon originally designed for the Apollo 13 mission. The two men brought a cart from the earth that the used to gather and collect samples for scientists to study back home. Shepard is best known for creating a golf club from some of the supplies they brought with them and using it to golf on the moon. Mitchell attempted to throw a javelin made from the handle of a lunar scoop too.
Later That Year
At the end of July of 1971, NASA launched Apollo 15, which brought James Irwin and David Scott to the moon. They spent three days on the moon and worked in an area between two large mountains. This made is the first mission to go beyond the moon’s plains. Apollo 15 is also known as the first moon landing to include an extra-vehicular activity vehicle or EVA. The men used that vehicle to explore more of the moon and spent more than 18 hours gathering moon rocks before they returned home.
Charles Duke and John Young
As part of the Apollo 16 mission, Charles Duke and John Young had the chance to walk on the moon. They almost missed their chance because of issues with the engine. Duke and Young were the first two astronauts to explore the highlands. During the nearly three days they spent on the moon, they each walked on the moon. Their walks lasted for more than 20 hours.
Last Moon Walkers
The last two men to walk on the moon were Harrison Schmitt and Eugene Cernan also known as Jack and Gene. They were part of the Apollo 17 mission and used the rocket called Saturn V to reach their destination. Gene made history when he left behind the initials of his youngest daughter on the moon.
NASA stopped expeditions to the moon due to budget cuts and because scientists believed they knew everything they needed to know from the previous missions. A total of 12 men from the United States walked on the moon since the first expedition in 1969.