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Nearly a half-century later, photographs documenting the first trip to the moon continue to defy imagination. Here's a look at 10 of the best images.
This week marked the 47th anniversary of NASA's first successful moon landing, a momentous event that redefined the limits of impossibility.
Landing on the moon never gets old -- except that it did, as American audiences got bored with consecutive moonshots -- and NASA's mandate shrunk after Apollo 17.
Nevertheless, the significance of the first voyage to Earth's only natural satellite -- where a team of intrepid astronauts hurtled through space to orbit, and eventually descend, on the ghostly, dusty surface of the moon -- seems to grow more profound with each passing year.
With that in mind, we've assembled a selection of the most astounding images from humankind's first expedition to the moon, documenting the launch, the landing, and the splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean.
While subsequent missions to the moon afforded new and more complex analysis of the lunar surface, nothing will ever surpass the breathtaking images gathered on that initial flight. They document a time of audacious exploration that has never been equaled.
[See images of NASA's Apollo missions through the years.]
In a time when trepidation and uncertainty threatens to unweave the very fabric that binds us together as a society, these images may remind us of what we can achieve together.
This is doubly important in recognizing that rudimentary tools and equipment that pale in comparison to today's smartphones and notebook computers we use on a daily basis allowed humankind to take a new, bold step forward.
As Neil Armstrong memorably, if haltingly said, upon setting foot upon the moon, "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind," if that's what he actually said.