US President Donald Trump has welcomed the two living members of the Apollo 11 crew Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to the White House on Friday on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing.
“Tomorrow is a very big day… 50 years from the time we planted a beautiful American flag on the moon,” Trump said in the Oval Office.
Trump further said, “The president hailed his administration’s efforts to relaunch crewed space flights with planned missions to the Moon and Mars. “We are bringing the glamour back to it”.
After attending a meeting with President Trump, Buzz Aldrin later tweeted, “Just had an excellent meeting with President Donald Trump! We discussed America’s future in space, ways to address space challenges, and the need to keep exploring beyond the horizon”.
With the Apollo 11 Moon landing, the US achieved the ultimate victory in the Space Race after losing the initial heats to the Soviet Union, which was first to put a satellite and then a man in space.
Relatives of the late Neil Armstrong, the first man to step on the Moon on July 20, 1969, were also present in the event.
The Apollo 11 mission occurred eight years after President John F Kennedy (1917-1963) announced a national goal of landing a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s.
Apollo 17, the final manned moon mission, took place in 1972.
An estimated one million people gathered on the beaches of central Florida to witness the launch of Apollo 11 first-hand, while more than 500 million people around the world watched the event live on television, NASA said in a statement.
Donald Trump has also relaunched the race to re-conquer the Moon this time with the first woman and to journey onwards to the Red Planet.