Buzz Aldrin

Forty-two years after the first moon landing, and with a new lunar X Prize looming, we take a look back at a few of the key Apollo missions, and specifically at the Lunar Modules that brought the astronauts to and from the surface of the moon.

This now-legendary photo, taken by Neil Armstrong, shows Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin descending a ladder from the Eagle lunar lander on to the moon's surface. Aldrin acted as pilot of the Lunar Module on the Apollo 11 mission.

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Photo by: NASA / Caption by: ,

The Eagle prepares to land

Here's a shot of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module Eagle, with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin tucked inside, in a landing configuration as the Eagle approaches the moon. The rods dangling from the lander's "feet" are probes designed to detect the lunar surface. That would signal the crew to shut down the descent engine.
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Photo by: NASA / Caption by: ,

Buzz Aldrin next to Lunar Module

This photo shows Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin in front of the Lunar Module.
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Photo by: NASA / Caption by: ,

Neil Armstrong moon walk

Neil Armstrong works at an equipment storage area on the Lunar Module. This is one of the only photos that shows Armstrong during the moon walk, according to NASA.
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Photo by: NASA / Caption by: ,

Buzz Aldrin in Lunar Module

This photo, taken on July 20, 1969, shows Buzz Aldrin in the Lunar Module. Aldrin piloted the module during the Apollo 11 mission.
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Photo by: NASA / Caption by: ,

Apollo 11 Lunar Module controls

This interior view of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module shows some of the displays and controls. Mounted in the small, triangular window is a 16mm data acquisition camera, which had a variable frame speed of 1, 6, 12, and 24 frames per second, according to NASA.
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Photo by: NASA / Caption by: ,

Aldrin gazes at Tranquility Base

With the lunar lander in the background, Buzz Aldrin does the moon walk, after just having deployed one of the "scientific experiment packages" the astronauts brought to study the lunar environment.

Read more about the Apollo 11 mission here.

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Photo by: NASA / Caption by: ,

Apollo 12 crew members

This photo, taken on October 22, 1969, shows astronauts Charles Conrad Jr. (left) and Alan Bean in the Apollo Lunar Module Mission Simulator during simulator training for the Apollo 12 mission at the Kennedy Space Center. Apollo 12 launched on November 14, 1969, and made its own lunar landing five days later.

Read more about the Apollo 12 mission here.

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Photo by: NASA / Caption by: ,

Apollo 13 Lunar Module

This interior view of the Apollo 13 Lunar Module, taken on April 17, 1970, shows the so-called mailbox, which was a jerry-rigged setup the Apollo 13 astronauts built so they could purge carbon dioxide from the Lunar Module using lithium hydroxide canisters from the command module. The "mailbox" was designed and tested on the ground at the Manned Spacecraft Center in an effort to help get the troubled crew back home safely.

Read more about the Apollo 13 mission here.

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Photo by: NASA / Caption by: ,

Apollo 17's Moonship

Apollo 17's Lunar Module, called Challenger, ascends in lunar orbit. The hatch is clearly visible in the front, along with a round radar antenna at the top and small reaction control thrusters on either side.

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Photo by: NASA / Caption by: ,

Driving on the moon

Apollo 17 Mission Commander Eugene Cernan takes a moonbuggy, more properly called the Lunar Roving Vehicle, out for a spin during the first extravehicular activity of that mission.

Read more about the Apollo 17 mission here.

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Photo by: NASA / Caption by: ,

LLRV test flight

Before any landers could shoot for the moon, of course, some serious testing needed to be done here on Earth.

In this 1965 photo, the NASA Lunar Landing Research Vehicle (LLRV) is seen above the airfield during test flights at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center.

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Photo by: NASA / Caption by: ,

LLRV

Bell Aircraft Company, the only U.S. firm with experience with vertical takeoffs and landings, designed the LLRV in 1963. The LLRV is seen here test-firing its engines on the tarmac at Dryden Flight Research Center in 1964.
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Photo by: NASA / Caption by: ,

Joe Walker

Joe Walker, who became the first civilian to reach space when he flew aboard the hypersonic X-15 in 1963, is seen here piloting the LLRV during test flights at Dryden Flight Research Center.
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Photo by: NASA / Caption by: ,

LLRV test flights

The LLRV is seen in flight in 1964 during tests preparing for the upcoming Apollo lunar module moon landings.
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Photo by: NASA / Caption by: ,

LLRV No. 2

The Lunar Landing Research Vehicle No. 2 is seen sitting on the ramp in this photograph taken December 8, 1966.

As 1966 came to a close, LLRV No. 1 had already taken 198 flights, while LLRV No. 2 was being assembled and completed. The first flight of LLRV No. 2 took place in early January 1967.
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Photo by: NASA / Caption by: ,

LLRV No. 1

Flight chase vehicles, such as the Bell 47 Helicopter seen hovering here, played a crucial role in the LLRV tests and acted as a second set of eyes for the research pilot, warning of any potential problems and collecting flight data.
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Photo by: NASA / Caption by: ,
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