How Many People Have Walked On The Moon?

12th Sep 2022
How Many People Have Walked On The Moon?

In the course of space exploration, landing on the moon remains its most striking event. From 1969 to 1972, Apollo spacecraft landed on the moon six times, and Neil Armstrong was only the first to make a Moon landing. Let’s find out how many men have walked on the moon and who they were.

Who was the first man on the moon

On 21st July 1969, at 02:56:15 UTC, the whole world clung to TV screens to see a fantasy become reality — the first man walking on the Moon. A few hours earlier, Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin had successfully landed on the southwestern region of the Sea of Tranquillity. The third astronaut, command module pilot Michael Collins was waiting for them in lunar orbit.

The first person to step on the Moon was Neil Armstrong. As he did so, he uttered a line that has become legendary: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” How old was Neil Armstrong when he went to the Moon? The exact answer is 38 years, 11 months, and 15 days old. Fifteen minutes later, Armstrong was joined by Aldrin, who became the second astronaut on the Moon. Jumping down the stairs of the Lunar Module, he looked around and said, “Nice view! Gorgeous desert!”

The astronauts stayed on the Moon’s surface for 2 hours 31 minutes 40 seconds. They collected almost 22 kg of lunar soil samples and installed a US flag with research equipment at the landing site. The maximum distance they traveled from the module during their walk on the Moon was 60 m, and the total time on the Moon, taking into account their stay in the module, was just under 22 hours.

Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin are walking on the Moon
Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking on the Moon

Apollo 12: Consolidating the result

The tird and fourth astronauts to walk on the Moon were Pete Conrad and Alan Bean on 19th November 1969. Their task was to perform precision landing manoeuvres and retrieve parts of the Surveyor 3 probe for return to Earth. They spent 31.5 hours on the Moon, during which they made two exits to the surface with a total duration of 7.8 hours.

The mission was successful. However, at the beginning of the first outing, the astronauts damaged the camera broadcasting their actions live on Earth television, and the TV companies decided to resort to simulation. While the real voices of Bean and Conrad were heard off-screen, two actors dressed in spacesuits pretended to walk on the Moon. Later, this fact inspired the lunar conspiracy theory supporters to claim that nobody had landed on the Moon.

How many men walked on the Moon during the Apollo missions?

A dozen. After Apollo 12, four more missions successfully reached the Moon and completed their assigned tasks on its surface. Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell from the Apollo 14 mission became the fifth and sixth people on the Moon. Apollo 15 gave a once-in-a-lifetime possibility to walk on the Moon’s surface to David Scott. James Irwin, John Young and Charles Duke from the Apollo 16 mission were the ninth and tenth on the list of Moon Walkers. Last but not least were the Apollo 17 astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt.

Apollo 13 failed to reach the moon due to an accident during the initial flight stage. Astronauts James Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise were on the verge of death several times, but thanks to coordinating their actions with the ground crew, they returned to Earth unharmed. For more details about this mission, read our full article What really happened to Apollo 13.

How many people have ever walked on the surface of the Moon?

The twelve Apollo astronauts are the only people who have walked on the moon. They were all Americans, which was one of the main conditions for participating in those missions. Today, some of these heroes are no longer alive, but their names will forever remain in the history of space exploration. Here they are — the first men on the moon!

Let us take a look at the list of astronauts, who walked on the moon, how old were they at that time, what the Lunar mission was and when these missions took place.

Photo Name Born Died Age Lunar Mission Lunar EVA dates
1 Neil Armstrong Neil Armstrong August 5, 1930 August 25, 2012 (aged 82) 38y 11m 15d  Apollo 11  July 21, 1969
2 Buzz Aldrin in a space suit Buzz Aldrin January 20, 1930   39y 6m 0d
3 Pete Conrad, austronaut Pete Conrad June 2, 1930 July 8, 1999 (aged 69) 39y 5m 17d Apollo 12 November 19–20, 1969
4 Alan Bean, austronaut Alan Bean March 15, 1932 May 26, 2018 (aged 86) 37y 8m 4d
5 Alan Shepard, astronaut Alan Shepard November 18, 1923 July 21, 1998 (aged 74) 47y 2m 18d  Apollo 14 February 5–6, 1971
6 Edgar Mitchell, astronaut Edgar Mitchell September 17, 1930 February 4, 2016 (aged 85) 40y 4m 19d
7 David Scott, astronaut David Scott June 6, 1932 39y 1m 25d Apollo 15 July 31 – August 2, 1971
8 James Irwin James Irwin March 17, 1930 August 8, 1991 (aged 61) 41y 4m 14d
9 John Young John Young September 24, 1930 January 5, 2018 (aged 87) 41y 6m 28d Apollo 16  April 21–23, 1972
10 Charles Duke Charles Duke October 3, 1935   36y 6m 18d
11 Eugene Cernan Eugene Cernan March 14, 1934 January 16, 2017 (aged 82) 38y 9m 7d Apollo 17 December 11–14, 1972
12 Harrison Schmitt Harrison Schmitt July 3, 1935   37y 5m 8d

How many men have walked on the moon & are still alive?

As we may see, only four of the famous Moon walkers are still alive nowadays:

  1. Buzz Aldrin from Apollo 11 mission, age 92;
  2. David Scott from Apollo 15 mission, age 90;
  3. Charles Duke from Apollo 16, age 86;
  4. and Harrison Schmitt from Apollo 17, age 87.

How many countries have had a man walk on the Moon?

No country has managed to repeat the United States’ achievements. And the US itself stopped landing on the Moon due to the excessively high costs and low scientific value of the missions. In fact, many people are right to believe that after Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and the rest of the Apollo astronauts, there was nothing else to do on the Moon. After all, the United States completed its main task — they became the first nation to walk on the Moon. Lunar exploration continued, but these were all robotic missions without human intervention.

How many countries have sent spacecraft to the Moon?

Launching a machine hundreds of thousands of kilometres from Earth turned out to be a much easier task compared to sending a living being. The first spacecraft to the Moon, Pioneer 3, was launched by the United States in 1958. Due to the lack of speed, it did not reach lunar orbit, passed by the Moon, and burned up when entering the Earth’s atmosphere a day after its launch.

A year later, the USSR managed to land a craft, Luna 2, on the Moon (the first Luna suffered the same fate as Pioneer-3). The robotic missions’ competition between the two superpowers continued until 1976, and, in terms of quantity, the USSR won. Japan joined the lunar race only in the 1990s, and the European Space Agency, China, and India — in the 2000s. Israel was the last country to send its Bereshit lander to the Moon in 2019. But unfortunately, this mission was not completed, as the spacecraft crashed on impact.

What is next?

Return humans to the Moon! In 2019, exactly 50 years after the first man walked on the moon, US President Donald Trump announced the launch of the new Artemis Lunar Program. By 2030, NASA should build a permanent base on the Moon, where astronauts will live and work, like on the ISS. This base will also be the starting point for future missions to Mars.

The first steps in the program have already been taken. NASA signed agreements with aerospace companies and startups to deliver cargo to the Moon. It also launched the Capstone to explore the lunar orbit. New space transport systems, namely SLS and Starship, designed to replace the Saturn V rocket used in the Apollo missions, are being prepared for launch.

But most importantly, NASA is not trying to get into the spotlight all by itself and readily collaborates with space agencies from other countries to achieve a common goal. And it means that people from different countries will set their feet on the Moon. After all, reaching the top together is always easier than doing it all alone.

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