Apollo 11 Moon landing mission facts you probably didn't know

In 1969, it took 400,000 people to put Apollo 11’s Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the Moon.

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America is now marking the 50th anniversary of the first human steps on the Moon. Armstrong, who died in 2012, and Aldrin made history when they landed on the Moon 50 years ago Saturday as Mike Collins orbited overhead in their command module.

To celebrate the achievement, here are some facts about the historic Apollo 11 mission.

Armstrong almost died during training for the Apollo 9 mission, Reuters reported. He was “carrying out a simulated lunar module landing” when Armstrong lost control of the vehicle, Reuters reported. He was able to eject while 200 feet in the air but the vehicle crashed and burned.

The American flag on the Moon was customized, allowing it to “fly” in space, Reuters reported. The flag was custom built with an aluminum rod that allowed the flag to stay in a position. However, the flag is not believed to still be upright.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin Jr. poses for a photograph beside the U.S. flag on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. (Neil Armstrong/NASA via AP)

The crew was quarantined for three weeks after returning to Earth in order to prevent contamination. The Houston Chronicle reported scientists were worried the astronauts would bring Moon bugs to Earth. However, later on, it was determined that nothing could live on the Moon and the quarantines were stopped after Apollo 14.

Aldrin compared the smell on the Moon to a mix of charcoal and water. The smell is believed to have come from “the broken electron bonds between atoms,” according to Popular Science.

The crew’s first meal on the Moon was bacon and coffee, according to Business Insider. The astronauts also ate a lot of dehydrated vegetables and were able to eat their food with a spoon versus out of a bag.

Former President Richard Nixon had a speech prepared if Armstrong and Aldrin did not make it back to Earth. The speech, titled “In Event of Moon Disaster,” was released to the public 30 years after the Moon landing.

From left, Neil Armstrong, commander; Michael Collins, module pilot; Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin (NASA via AP)

On Friday, President Trump marked the anniversary by meeting with the former Apollo 11 astronauts. The group included Aldrin, Collins and the family of Armstrong. Aldrin tweeted about the meeting.


“Just had an excellent meeting with President Donald Trump! We discussed America’s future in space, ways to address space challenges and the need to keep exploring beyond the horizon. Keep America Great in Space!!” he wrote.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.