Lunar Crew Recalls Flight
These are excerpts from a NASA interview this spring at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.:
What's the most vivid memory you have of the mission?
Neil Armstrong: Apollo 11 is filled with vivid experiences. One that comes to mind in my case is the flying through the moon shadow and seeing the sun eclipsed by the moon as we approached it. That was a very spectacular sight.
Michael Collins: The thing I remember most visually is the ascent stage of the lunar module, the ascent stage of Eagle, in front of my window and then in the background, seeing the lunar horizon and seeing the Earth pop up above it, so that you had the horizon, the lunar module, and the Earth all in a row. I thought that was something that would rarely be seen again and I remember that most vividly. [See photo, p. 13.]
Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin: ...I've had occasion to challenge my memory and think back on those first few seconds when Neil and I touched down....And we gazed out the window and it was just a magnificent view. And that's the most impressive memory that I carry now because I refer back to it so many times.
What was the most personally rewarding part of the mission?
Mr. Armstrong: The final descent to the lunar surface was, for me, the highlight of the flight. It was very challenging, with a lot of unknowns and it was - for a pilot - it was a wonderful experience.
Mr. Collins: There's so many things that can go wrong on a trip to the moon and back. It's sort of a long and fragile daisy chain of events. And I can remember being in the mobile quarantine facility, the little house trailer aboard the aircraft carrier after we landed in the Pacific, and thinking, ``Gee, none of them did. None of those little links broke.'' And to me, that was the amazing part, that everything worked in sum as well as it did.
Mr. Aldrin: The most rewarding part was having it be the major event in my life, which changed my life entirely and gave me an opportunity to reorder priorities and try to course off for the future based on that new life of being a representative of the human race, having done a very significant thing....