First Broadcast from Another World

Aldrin's boot and footprint in lunar soil. Image Credit: NASA

"One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

All the world listened with bated breath to the radio communications between Apollo 11 and NASA control in Houston as two men approached the surface of the moon. This would be the first time that man would land on another world.

Later, viewers watched the first television broadcast when Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon's surface. The film of the landing was later put together with the radio broadcasts to make the landing video you see here.

On 20 July 1969, the entire world held its breathe, eyes glued to their television sets. A world away Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong stepped off the lunar module Eagle and onto the dusty surface of the moon. He was the first person to step onto another world. Despite the fuzzy black and white TV pictures and static-filled sound, everyone watching was amazed. After the crew returned safely to earth, film of the landing was combined with the live soundtrack to make the movie seen here. Within a few years of the first moon landing, TV cameras had become good enough to send back color pictures from the moon or any place on earth.

The moon landing is considered one of the greatest moments in television history. As it has on other historic occasions (both happy and tragic) TV became a way of bringing people together. Events such as the 1981 marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, the 1986 Challenger disaster, and the 1989 tearing down of the Berlin Wall were all watched by millions.