It was actually 21 July that the return to Earth began. Armstrong and Aldrin spent less than three hours walking on the Moon and lifted off in the Lunar Module's ascent stage less than 22 hours after they had touched down. The ascent stage docked with the Command Service Module in lunar orbit where the astronauts transferred into the CSM in which Mike Collins had remained. They undocked from the ascent stage in the last moments of 21 July and set the CSM on its return course for Earth just before 5am GMT, 40 years ago today.
The image from the Orbit Book Rockets and Spacecraft Book 1 shows the ascent stage left in lunar orbit as the CSM heads for home. The ascent stage was left in a decaying lunar orbit and eventually crashed into the Moon's surface while the descent stage remains untouched where it was left in the Sea of Tranquility.
Yesterday - First Footsteps
Tomorrow - The Future
• Coinciding with Jeremy's countdown to the 40th Anniversary of the first Moon Landing, downthetubes is publishing "Moon Landing 40th Anniversary: A Comics Celebration" - a gallery of illustrations and comic art inspired by space exploration.
Contributions are very welcome: if you don't want to join our forum and upload art but would like to join in with the celebrations, simply send your work to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please ensure images are no larger than 2MB in size and include a brief bio and web link so we can give you deserved credit.
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