Newspaper front pages from 50 years ago reveal how the world reacted to the Apollo 11 moon landing
Morgan McFall-JohnsenJul 20, 2019, 17:33 IST
Harry's American Bar launched here 7/21 a new cocktail in honor of the Apollo-11 astronauts. Christened "Moon Shot," it is "guaranteed to make anybody take off" said barman Daniel (L) shaking his bottle while bar owner Andy smiles on holding the first Herald Tribune edition.Bettmann/Getty
On this day 50 years ago, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped through the hatch of a rickety spacecraft, climbed down a ladder, and made history as their feet touched the dusty lunar surface.
The Apollo 11 moon landing made headlines worldwide; newspapers announced the accomplishment in big, bold letters. Many papers covered every step of the crew's journey, running stories about what the astronauts ate in space, how they slept, and what they said to each other while standing on the moon.
Take a look at how the world's papers covered the event.
Aldrin, Armstrong, and Michael Collins launched on July 16, 1969.
During the week the crew spent in space, newspapers across the globe covered their progress.
A paper in Houston, Texas even printed Aldrin's son Andrew's photo the day after the mission launched.
The day of the landing — July 20, 1969 — Sunday morning newspapers reported about the anticipation. Armstrong's son picked up the Houston Chronicle at their home in Houston, Texas.
Armstrong stepped onto the moon at 10:56 p.m. ET on July 20, 1969. About 650 million people watched the historic event live. Apollo 11's success came after eight years of grueling engineering work at NASA and eight other missions in the program.
The following morning, local, national, and international newspaper printed the news in big, bold headlines.
The Las Vegas Sun published some word-for-word dialogue between Aldrin and Armstrong, including Aldrin's now-famous description: "magnificent desolation."
The morning edition of the The Sydney Morning Herald went to press before Armstrong stepped out of the lunar lander and onto the lunar surface. So it covered the landing, as well as the astronauts' sleep habits and meals.
Other papers across the globe printed dramatic headlines, declaring "The New World" or "The Moon Vanquished."
The Eugene Register-Guard offered a more critical angle. "Are we on the moon at this moment for the wrong reason?" William Wasmann, the paper's managing editor, wrote. He said "man's inhumanity to man" would not be solved by exploring space, but that it could demonstrate "the nobility man is capable of."
The Saigon Post, an English-language newspaper published during the Vietnam War, reported the story for Americans stationed in South Vietnam.
But it wasn't the top story everywhere. Soviet newspaper Izvestia put stories about communism in Poland and the Soviet Luna 15 spacecraft above the fold, with a mention of the moon landing at the bottom of the front page (where the arrow is pointing).
The headlines inspired celebrations: This American bar in France offered a "moonshot cocktail."
For the astronauts' hometowns, their safe return was just as exciting as the moon landing. The Wapakoneta Daily News in Ohio celebrated Armstrong's homecoming and announced a party to be held there when he visited the area in September.