45th anniversary of the epic Apollo 11 mission

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"One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." That historic sentence signaled a new era and inspired a planet.

This month marks the 45th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 mission which landed the first humans on the moon and ushered in a new age of exploration. Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins launched from Cape Canaveral on July 16, 1969 with their sights set on the moon. Armstrong and Aldrin successfully land on the lunar surface and began their exploration on July 20, 1969. They spent more than 21 hours on the surface taking samples, exploring the terrain, and conducting some simple experiments before their departure.

Through the early 1970s, NASA had multiple missions to the moon. New discoveries where made and heroic acts where undertaken but we have not stepped foot back on the moon for some 30 years.

We must look back to that historic day where three brave souls ventured into the unknown and went where no man had gone before. That first mission united our planet for a short time and inspired millions. Humanity's exploration of space has furthered our knowledge of the universe and has also given us new technologies and new ways of thinking.

It must have been an amazing sight to look back at our small blue world from a foreign one. To see our world, not with borders drawn on its surface separating and defining us, but as one amazing planet we call home.

We salute you Neil, Buzz and Michael. Your mission changed us all.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.