Apollo 11 landing

In the final minutes of the Apollo 11 LM’s descent to the surface, Armstrong noticed that the intended landing site was too rocky and took manual control of the descent in order to find a better spot. The LM had never been flown in this manner, and Armstrong didn’t have time to discuss it with mission control.

We’ve all heard recordings of those final minutes of the LM descent. But we’ve never seen exactly what Armstrong saw until now. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter team has reconstructed Armstrong’s view of the surface in those final minutes.

Pairing the audio recording with this footage is edge-of-the-seat exciting, as you imagine Armstrong coolly working the LM down while the voices at mission control have no idea of this extra drama under way at the time.

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