Walking on the moon – Apollo 11 Landing map

Man walking on the moon - Moon Map Apollo 11 Dennis Maps is used to printing maps of terrain both near (London National Park City) and far, such as Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Crossing of South Georgia. But recently we have excelled ourselves by launching into space and printing a map of the moon! Or to be more precise the Apollo 11 landing map.

Those of us old enough to remember the Apollo 11 manned lunar landing on 20 July 1969 can probably recall where we watched it and the astonished reactions of the older generation, who could scarcely believe the advances in technology during their lifetime.

50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Space Mission

Fifty years ago the American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to land on the moon, in the lunar module the Eagle. As he took the first-ever step onto the surface of the moon Armstrong made the remark that became instantly legendary – ‘That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.’

When Aldrin followed and set foot on the moon he described what he saw as ‘Magnificent desolation.’ The front cover of the Apollo 11 Landing map shows an iconic photograph of Aldrin taken by Armstrong, who is reflected standing next to the Eagle in the visor of Aldrin’s space helmet.

50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Space MissionThe astronauts tried out various methods of moving in the lunar gravity, including kangaroo jumps. The fine-grained lunar soil was quite slippery, and they discovered they needed to plan their movements six or seven steps in advance, but they had no problems keeping their balance.

‘We came in peace…’

The landing site in the Sea of Tranquillity (or Mare Tranquillitatis as it’s known in Latin) is marked on the map by a red cross. Close to it are three craters named after Armstrong, Aldrin, and their crewmate Michael Collins, who remained orbiting the moon in the command module Columbia, conducting experiments and taking pictures.

Collins reported that he never felt lonely during the time of his solo lunar orbit, even while he was out of radio contact as Columbia passed behind the far side of the moon. Instead he said he felt ‘awareness, anticipation, satisfaction, confidence, almost exultation.’

For three hours Armstrong and Aldrin walked around, conducting experiments and collecting moon dust and rocks. They planted a US flag and left a sign on the ladder of Eagle that read ‘Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon July 1969, A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.’ Above this inscription were drawings of the eastern and western hemispheres of Earth, and below it, the signatures of the three astronauts and President Nixon.

The return of Apollo 11

Apollo 11 Moon Landing MapOn 21 July Eagle blasted off from the moon and docked with Columbia. They jettisoned Eagle and blasted out of lunar orbit, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean on 24 July. The flight profile from launch to splashdown is illustrated on the map’s back cover, redrawn from original NASA documentation.

The mission had taken eight days and fulfilled the dream of President John F. Kennedy in 1961 ‘before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.’

The astronauts were put in quarantine for three weeks before being given a clean bill of health. After taking part in ticker-tape parades in New York and Chicago they commenced a global tour, meeting heads of state as the whole world celebrated their safe return. Columbia too went on tour, displayed in state capitals around the United States!

A documentary film, Apollo 11, has been released in honour of the 50th anniversary. It’s made entirely from archival footage, including some previously unreleased to the public, and has already received much critical acclaim.

If you want to buy the Apollo 11 Landing map you can get it from the Ordnance Survey online shop here.