On Tuesday, President Barack Obama invited surviving members of the Apollo 11 crew at the White House to celebrate 45th anniversary of the first human landing on the moon. On July 20, 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon, while Michael Collins remained in the orbit. Obama met with Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins, and Carol Armstrong, the widow of Neil Armstrong, in the Oval Office. Neil Armstrong passed away in 2012.

Apollo 11 Obama

Obama says astronauts have inspired generations of Americans

Obama said in a written statement that the three astronauts have “served as testaments to American ingenuity and human development.” The President added that the three have inspired generations of Americans – Obama included – to dream bigger. There were no news reporters or TV crews present during the meeting, though news photographers were allowed briefly.

CBS News correspondent Major Garrett filed a complaint. Garrett said that the astronauts are American heroes, and their moon adventure was financed by American taxpayers. In response, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said, “These are legitimate American heroes.” Earnest said that the lack of media availability was due to scheduling issues.

Aldrin says humans should now pursue Mars

The Apollo 11 mission was broadcast across the world. The mission ignited awe for its achievement. After 45 years, landing on the moon is a symbol of mankind’s adventure. However, Buzz Aldrin believes that humans should now pursue Mars instead of going back to the moon. NASA plans to take humans to Mars by 2030. The space agency is also working on a mission to an asteroid, President Obama said. NASA is collaborating with the private sector on these projects in new and innovative ways.

To celebrate the 45th anniversary of his historic moon landing, Buzz Aldrin tweeted a selfie he took in the space during Gemini 12 training mission in 1966. He is the first person to take a selfie in the space. Separately, a historic building in Kennedy Space Center has been renamed after Neil Armstrong.