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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.