In 1961, President John F. Kennedy gave NASA a mission: send a man to the Moon before the decade was up, and NASA responded by doing exactly that. 

In a speech to Congress, President Kennedy called for "longer strides" a comment Neil Armstrong evoked eight years later when he said, "One small step for man, one giant leap for man kind." Kennedy had been assassinated nearly six years prior, but his vision for the future of space exploration had clearly lived on. 

Read: NASA's Cassini Will Burn Up In Saturn's Atmosphere In 'Grand Finale': Images From Its Mission

The Apollo 11 crew was chosen and trained extensively by NASA before they went on their mission, but it all happened in a mere seven months after NASA made the decision to go ahead with a manned trip to the Moon. NASA selected astronauts Neil Armstrong (mission commander), Michael Collins and Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin to man the mission.

apollo 11 crew The Apollo 11 crew in 1969. From left to right, Neil Armstrong mission commander, Michael Collins and Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin are pictured. Photo: NASA

The crew trained for months, they even practiced simple tasks, like using the ladder that would be attached to the lunar module during their mission.

space ladder apollo 11 Neil Armstrong practicing using the ladder on the line module in preparation for the first manner trip to the Moon. Photo: NASA

They practiced setting up the camera that eventually was used to broadcast the landing to half a billion people on Earth. 

apollo 11 camera Neil Armstrong practicing the set up of the television camera during lunar surface training. Photo: NASA

They also practiced taking samples of lunar material to bring back to Earth. The crew collected 47 pounds of lunar-surface materials on the moon that they brought back to Earth with them for testing at NASA labs.

apollo 11 training Neil Armstrong holds a bag while Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin practices scooping up a lunar sample during training. Photo: NASA

The crew even practiced their water landing in the Gulf of Mexico.

apollo 11 landing Aldrin, Armstrong and Collins on the deck of the NASA Motor Vessel Retriever preparing for water egress training in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo: NASA

On the morning of July 16, 1969, the crew entered space craft to launch to space.

appollo 11 launch The rocket taking the Apollo 11 crew up to space for the first lunar landing. Photo: NASA

Astronaut Collins piloted the Columbia craft in parked orbit around the Moon while Aldrin and Armstrong took the Lunar Module "Eagle" down to the surface of the moon on July 20, 1969

Aldrin and Armstrong posed for photos with the American flag they planted on the surface of the moon that is still there today.

apollo 11 flag Astronaut Aldrin posing with the American flag on the surface of the Moon in 1969. Photo: NASA

The flag isn't the only thing Aldrin and Armstrong left on the Moon, their footprints are also there. 

apollo 11 foot The astronauts left their footprints on the Moon. Photo: NASA

The view of the Earth from the Moon is pretty incredible.

apollo 11 earth Photo taken of the Earth during the Moon landing in 1069 Photo: NASA

Upon return the crew landed in the 812 miles southwest of Hawaii on July 24, 1969. The USS Hornet recovered the vessel.

apollo 11 water landing Apollo 11 Command Module after the USS Hornet retrieved it from the Pacific Ocean on July 24, 1969. Photo: NASA

After the crew returned to Earth, they were quarantined for 21 days. 

apollo 11 quarenteen The Apollo 11 crew was quarantined for 21 days after returning to Earth. In this picture their wives are visiting them from a far. Photo: NASA

After the mission the astronauts were stars. A parade was thrown for them in Houston in August of that year. 

apollo 11 parade The parade in Houston for the Apollo 11 crew after their return to Earth. Photo: NASA

Over the three years following the first lunar landing, 10 more astronauts visited the Moon just as Aldrin and Armstrong did.