In this July 20, 1969 file photo from NASA, Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot, is photographed walking near the lunar module during the Apollo 11 extravehicular activity.
A look in photos back at the moment the whole world watched on July 20, 1969, when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first made that giant leap for mankind. The Cold War and Vietnam were heating up and the country was tearing itself apart as the '60s reached a climax, but for one moment, as Walter Cronkite broke out in a gleeful sigh of relief, none of it mattered.
We, the human race, had tread upon another planet, you know, if it really happened. We were no longer bound by Earth's pull.
Many more lunar landing photos after the jump ...
Astronaut Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin Jr. poses for a photograph beside the U.S. flag deployed on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. The crinkles to emulate the flag blowing in the wind are artificial - since there's no wind to blow in.
Most of Africa and portions of Europe and Asia can be seen in this photograph taken from the Apollo 11 spacecraft during its translunar coast toward the moon, during the month of July, 1969. Apollo 11 was already about 98,000 nautical miles from earth when this picture was made. NASA file
Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin, the first men to land on the moon, plant the U.S. flag on the lunar surface. Photo was made by a 16mm movie camera inside the lunar module, shooting at one frame per second. NASA file
Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., are aboard this spacecraft as it lifts off the pad at Cape Kennedy, Fl., July 17, 1969. Armstrong and Aldrin became the first men to walk on the Moon.
This July 20, 1969 file photo released by NASA shows Apollo 11 astronaut Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr. removing a scientific experiment from the Lunar Module "Eagle" during the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission. As an estimated 500 million people around the world waited with bated breath crowded around fuzzy television screens and radios, Armstrong stepped down the lunar module's ladder and onto the lunar surface.
In this May 25, 1961, file photo, President John F. Kennedy speaks in the House of Representatives before a joint session of Congress in Washington. In the background are Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson and House Speaker Sam Rayburn. During the address, Kennedy issued the challenge, ". . .I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth." AP
In this July 1969 file photo, Astronaut Edwin Aldrin walks by the footpad of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module. NASA
Neil Armstrong steps down from the lunar module lander and becomes the first man to set foot on the moon. A huge shadow of the Lunar module is cast on the moon's surface. Photo was made from 16mm color film made with a Mauer camera at 6 and 12 frames per second.NASA
In this Aug. 21, 1967 file photo, NASA personnel are shown around the console in Mission Control at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, Texas, just before reaching a decision to allow Gemini 5 space flight to continue for another day. Facing the camera from left are, Richard D. Glover, Electrical, Environment and Communication Officer; Elliott H. See Jr., member of backup team; and Paul Haney, voice of Gemini. Seated at console from left are, Eugene Kranz and Christopher C. Kraft, flight director. Many of these men were on hand in 1969 for the Apollo 11 flight, including Flight Director Kranz. NASA
Astronauts Neil Armstrong, left, Michael Collins, center, and Edwin A. Aldrin, are pictured in this 1969 Apollo II crew portrait. With the 30th anniversary of his first steps on the moon just days away on July 20, 1999, Neil Armstrong is as reticent and reclusive as ever. Fellow astronauts wish Armstrong would speak about Apollo 11 and other space issues, but they respect his decades of silence. AP
Picture taken by the Lunar Module of the Apollo 11 Command and Service Modules in lunar orbit on July 21, 1969. The lunar terrain below is the northeastern portion of the Sea of Fertility. NASA
Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., lunar module pilot, descends steps of Lunar Module ladder as he prepares to walk on the moon. He had just egressed the Lunar Module. NASA
In this July 20, 1969 file photo, a footprint left by one of the astronauts of the Apollo 11 mission shows in the soft, powder surface of the moon. NASA
Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, Apollo 11 commander, is seen inside the Lunar Module while the LM rested on the lunar surface. Astronauts Armstrong and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module Pilot, had already completed their extravehicular activity when this picture was made. NASA
In this July 20, 1969 file photo, Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong, right, trudges across the surface of the moon leaving behind footprints. The U.S. flag, planted on the surface by the astronauts, can be seen between Armstrong and the lunar module. Edwin E. Aldrin is seen closer to the craft. The men reported the surface of the moon was like soft sand and they left footprints several inches deep wherever they walked. NASA
The Apollo 11 lunar module rises from the moon's surface for docking with the command module and the trip back to earth. The earth can be seen rising in the background. NASA
U.S. Navy pararescueman Lieutenant Clancey Hatleberg disinfects Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin in a life raft during recovery operations on July 24, 1969 at the successful completion of their lunar landing mission. NASA
A crowd watches as the Apollo 11 crew lands on the moon, on giant video screens in Central Park, New York. AP
In this July 20, 1969 photo provided by NASA and taken by Lt. Michael Collins through the window of the lunar command module, the Apollo 11 lunar module decends to the surface of the moon carrying astronauts Neil Armstong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin. Monday, July 20, 2009 is the 40th anniversary of Armstrong's and Aldrin's historic first steps on the moon. NASA
In this 1969 photo provided by Northrop Grumman Corporation, technicians build the ascent stage of a lunar module, the spacecraft that transported astronauts from the surface of the moon back to the orbiting command module before their return to Earth, at the Northrop Grumman plant in Bethpage, N.Y. Monday, July 20, 2009 is the 40th anniversary of mankind's historic first steps on the moon.
In this July 12, 1969 file photo, the spot on the moon where Apollo 11 astronauts will aim for in their landing in the first attempt by man to land on the moon is pointed out by Rocco Petrone, director of launch operations at the space complex, Cape Kennedy, Fla. AP
In this July 21, 1969 file photo provided by NASA, mission control personnel watch the moon walk by Apollo 11 astronauts, in Houston. NASA
In this July 5, 1969 file photo, Astronaut Neil Armstrong, left, the first man scheduled to walk on the moon, displays a plaque that will be attached to a landing leg of the lunar module descent stage and will be left on the moon by the Apollo 11 astronauts as Col. Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin, center, holds the Apollo 11 insigna at a news conference at the Space Center. Command Module pilot Lt. Col. Michael Collins is at right. AP
In this Aug. 13, 1969 file photo, amid ticker tape and American flags, Apollo 11 astronauts wave to welcoming New Yorkers during parade up lower Broadway on Wednesday, in New York. The spacemen, from left, are Michael Collins, Edwin Aldrin, Jr., and Neil A. Armstrong. AP
Buzz Aldrin (born Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr.), Lunar Module pilot on the Apollo 11 moon landing mission.
Neil Armstrong, commander of the Apollo 11 moon landing mission.
Michael Collins, command module pilot of the Apollo 11 moon landing mission.
In this 1969 file photo, Apollo 11 astronauts stand next to their spacecraft in 1969, from left: Col. Edwin E. Aldrin, lunar module pilot; Neil Armstrong, flight commander; and Lt. Michael Collins, command module pilot. AP