A First Step for the Ages: NASA Helps Inspire the Next Generation of Explorers

Nearly 50 years ago, humanity achieved what seemed impossible. Human presence graced the surface of Earth’s moon. At the height of tremendous social, political, and cultural change, the Apollo 11 lunar landing became the first manned mission to land on the moon and a marked a monumental milestone in human history by displaying the possibilities of human creativity, perseverance, innovation, and ingenuity. More that 500 million people huddled around television sets to witness one of the greatest achievements ever accomplished by mankind. This historical triumph opened the floodgates of inspiration to develop the technological capacity to engage in space exploration to investigate our universe and completely alter the ways humans live on earth. The unwavering efforts of thousands of determined and committed citizens to transport humans to the moon ushered in a new era of innovation and helped unleashed wave of technological breakthroughs that continue to resonate generations later. In anticipation of the historic 50th Anniversary of the infamous Apollo Lunar Landing, younger generations will have the opportunity to learn more about the event and the story of one of NASA’s most iconic figures, mission Commander Neil Armstrong.

Left) The crew of the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission, led by mission Commander Neil Armstrong, leave the Kennedy Space Center’s Manned Spacecraft Operations Building during the prelaunch countdown on July 16, 1969. Armstrong is followed by crewmates Michael Collins, command module pilot, and Buzz Aldrin, lunar module pilot. (Right) A still image from the 2018 Universal Pictures movie First Man, filmed at the Operations and Checkout Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, depicts this scene with actor Ryan Gosling portraying Armstrong.
Credits: NASA/Universal Pictures

First Man is a motion picture that helps capture the story of the Neil Armstrong and the Apollo 11 lunar landing that occurred on July 20, 1969. To enhance levels of accuracy and authenticity, NASA lent its expertise and unique resources by collaborating with the film’s screenwriter, providing access to its centers and notable sites, such as the Vehicle Assembly Building, Mission Control Center for research and on-site filming. Selected scenes from First Man were shot at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Please check out the following educator resources for engaging learners in Moon related activities and content.

Access the Moon Munchies Educator Guide here.

Access Field Trip to the Moon Educator Guide here.

Access Exploring the Moon Educator Guide here.

Please visit the NASA Apollo Missions website to learn more about the Apollo program.

To learn more about NASA’s plans to build an innovative and sustainable exploration program visit Moon to Mars.

Dr. Samuel Garcia Jr.
Educator Professional Development Specialist, NASA STEM EPDC
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory