On this day, 40 years ago, man first walked on the moon.

The inscription on a plaque placed on the moon says it all: “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon, July 1969 AD. We came in peace for all mankind.”

The event, watched by millions, captured the hearts and minds of the entire world and opened up a new age of exploration.

The mission began on 16 July 1969 with the blast-off of the Apollo 11 spacecraft from the Kennedy Space Centre on Merritt Island, Florida, carrying Commander Neil Armstrong, Lunar Module Pilot Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Command Module Pilot Michael Collins.

Three days later, Apollo 11 entered into lunar orbit, where the astronauts where able to orbit the moon in full view of the surface and the southern Sea of Tranquillity, a relatively flat expanse selected for the landing site.

On 20 July, the fourth day of the mission, the lunar module known as Eagle separated from the command module Columbia and began its descent with Armstrong and Aldrin onboard.

Hours later the two men made the first historic footsteps on the moon, collecting surface samples and taking photographs and planting the US flag in what has become one of the most iconic images of all time.

These first steps symbolised a powerful shift in US history, reigniting public sentiment battered by unpopular wars and a rising concern over the longevity of the country’s superpower status.

The successful mission also landed the final and most decisive blow against space race rivals Russia, which had previously taken the lead by sending the first man into space.

The event, however, resonated not only in the US but throughout the world. To celebrate the anniversary of the first moon landing Nasa has released new photos of the moon’s surface, clearly showing the base of the Eagle lander as well as scientific instruments strewn about the surface in a typically human fashion.

Aerospace-technology.com is showing some of the special images from that first moonwalk here (hyperlink https://www.aerospace-technology.com/features/feature59829/) with files available for you to download.