Public interest in the first lunar landing transcended political, economic and social borders the world was briefly united by the courage of the crew, and the wonder of the accomplishment. Prompted by the rivalry of the Cold War, Apollo 11 and the five missions that subsequently landed on the Moon were arguably the finest feats of exploration in human history. But these were more than exercises in flags and footprints, because the missions involved the crews making geological field trips on a low gravity site while wearing pressure suits, carrying life-support systems on their backs and working against an unforgiving time line. The missions delivered not only samples of moonrock, but also hard-learned lessons for how to work on the surface of another planet, and this experience will be crucial to planning the resumption of the human exploration of the Moon and going on to Mars.

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