- Fifty years ago, on July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first people to walk on the moon.
- In the years since, behind-the-scenes details from the mission have emerged, and the anecdotes show how the NASA astronauts improvised to solve problems and faced death at almost every turn.
- Here are some of the wildest things that happened on the mission to the moon.
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Fifty years ago, on July 20, 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped off a tiny, rickety spacecraft and onto the surface of the moon.
Apollo 11 was the ninth endeavor in the 14-mission Apollo moonshot program, and it was arguably NASA’s most dangerous and ambitious mission ever.
Although the world watched Armstrong and Aldrin walk on the lunar surface on live TV, many surprising — and some terrifying — moments from the Apollo 11 mission only came to light after the crew returned to Earth. Here are some of the wildest anecdotes from the Apollo program that you probably never learned in school.
The first moon meal was bacon and coffee. But mostly, the Apollo astronauts ate a lot of dehydrated beef and vegetables.
Ralph Morse/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
The Apollo 11 astronauts were the first to have hot water in space and to eat their food with a spoon instead of squeezing it out of a bag. The meals were color-coded, individually wrapped, and labeled for each day.
The Apollo astronauts had no bathroom. Instead, they used bags and roll-on cuffs.
Condom-like cuffs allowed the Apollo astronauts to pee into a bag. (These were designed only for men, of course.) To poop, they used a different rudimentary plastic bag system. The whole process could take up to 45 minutes.
When walking on the moon, Aldrin and Armstrong wore diapers.
Buzz Aldrin has boasted about being the first person to “piss his pants on the moon.”
"It’s lonely as hell out there," he told a crowd at the Newseum on the 40th anniversary of the moon landing. " I peed in my pants."
Of course, he was wearing a diaper.
- Vintage photos of the Apollo 11 moon mission show why it’s still arguably NASA’s greatest feat, 50 years later
- A new NASA video shows the never-before-seen view from Neil Armstrong’s window as he landed on the moon
- The Apollo moon program’s Mission Control Center has been restored and opened to the public. Check out the 1969 time capsule.