On the 20th July 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin successfully landed the Eagle, the Lunar Module of Apollo 11, on the surface of the moon. The words, “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed” confirmed the safe touchdown at around 8:17pm UTC. Just over 6 hours later Neil Armstrong opened the hatch of the lander and descended the ladder to become the first person to walk on the moon.
Apollo 11 was launched using a Saturn V rocket on the 16th July, meaning the crew travelled for three days before reaching lunar orbit. The Command Module, known as Columbia, stayed in orbit throughout the landing and was piloted by a third astronaut, Michael Collins.
The descent of the Eagle was completed with just 25 seconds of fuel left, after Armstrong took semi-manual control in order to pilot to an area free of boulders. Armstrong and Aldrin spent a total of 21 and a half hours on the moon’s surface, of which 2 and a half hours were outside the spacecraft.
The flight to, and landing on, the moon relied heavily on the Apollo Guidance Computer developed at MIT. Despite being the most advanced computer of its time, the AGC is dwarfed in comparison to the technology we now have at our fingertips. For example, while the AGC was able to process approximately 41.6 instructions per second, the iPhone 6 can handle a mind-blowing 3.36 billion Instructions per Second. In real terms that means that a single iPhone has the processing power of the 120 million Apollo Guidance Computers.