"But I think as far as putting time and energy and money into it, I think the moon."As the 50th anniversary parties wind down - Apollo 11's wondrous eight-day voyage ended with a Pacific splashdown on July 24, 1969 - NASA keeps cranking up the lunar spotlight.Project Artemis, as it's called after the twin sister of Greek mythology's Apollo, aims for a landing on the moon's south pole".
In the decades since USA astronaut Neil Armstrong uttered, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind", various nations have advanced their own lunar missions - including China, which plans to explore the moon's polar regions by 2030.
"Now, NASA is working to build a sustainable, open architecture that returns humanity to our nearest neighbor", Jim Bridenstine, the administrator of the US space agency, said in a statement to a Senate committee on Wednesday. In Armstrong's hometown of Wapakoneta, Ohio, runners competed in "Run to the Moon" races.
Pence, chairing the White House's National Space Council, announced in March an accelerated schedule for NASA to return astronauts to the moon by 2024, halving the US space agency's previous timeline to get there by 2028 and requesting from Congress a $1.6 billion boost to NASA's fiscal 2020 budget request.
"Apollo 11 is the only event in the 20th century that stands a chance of being widely remembered in the 30th century", said Pence, via Space.com.
Mr Aldrin followed a few moments later, as their colleague Michael Collins waiting in the Command Module in orbit around the moon.
50 years ago today, millions of us were transfixed by the sight of men on the moon.
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Armstrong, the first man on the moon, died in 2012 at age 82.
Supervisor of Interpretation at the Johnson Geo Centre, Stefan Jones, says there were some 13 Canadians involved in getting the first astronauts to the moon and bringing them back.
NASA has been in overdrive for several weeks to mark the anniversary, with exhibits and events around the country, including projecting the giant Saturn V rocket and clips from the mission on the Washington Monument. He said Apollo 11's feat is "still incredible".
Clocks all over counted down to the exact moment of the Eagle's landing on the moon - 4:17 p.m. EDT - and Armstrong's momentous step onto the lunar surface at 10:56 p.m. EDT.
As he took his first step, Armstrong famously said, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind".
In the 100-degree heat (38 degrees Celsius) of Kazakhstan, an American, Italian and Russian, rocketed into the night to the International Space Station.
The crew deliberately modeled its mission patch after Apollo 11's: no astronaut names included to show the universal nature of space flight.
NASA replayed online the CBS broadcast that was seen around the world. The three already living on the space station also were born long after the moon landings.