Moon landings photographs that are out of this world

Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot of the first lunar landing mission.

A Chinese spacecraft has made the first-ever landing on the far side of the moon in the latest achievement for the country’s space programme.

Here we take a look back at some of the images from successful moon landings from the past 50 years.

  • First moon landing July 20, 1969 - Apollo 11

The first landing of a human being on the moon on July 20, 1969.

The Apollo 11 astronauts who led the mission were Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin.

As the Apollo 11 Lunar Module (LM) neared the surface, Neil Armstrong could see the designated landing area would have been in a rocky area near West Crater.

He had to change the flight plan and fly the LM westward to find a safe landing spot.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin during the first manned landing in 1969. Credit: NASA

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin walks on the surface of the moon near the leg of the lunar module Eagle during the Apollo 11 mission.

Mission commander Neil Armstrong took this photograph with a 70mm lunar surface camera.

The distance from the Apollo 11 landing site to the West Crater - this image is 742 meters wide (about 0.46 miles). Credit: NASA
  • November 19, 1969 - Apollo 12

The second manned lunar landing took place on November 19, 1969 by Apollo 12, crewed by Commander Charles Conrad and pilot Alan Bean.

The two astronauts landed in the area called Oceanus Procellarum near Surveyor crater, and close to Surveyor 3, an unmanned spacecraft which had landed two and a half years earlier.

Commander and astronaut Charles Conrad Jr. performing an experiment during Apollo 12. Credit: NASA

After docking with the command module, the lunar module was jettisoned and crashed onto the Moon, causing the first recorded artificial moonquake.

The astronauts splashed down safely near American Samoa and were recovered by the U.S.S. Hornet.

  • Apollo 14 - February 5, 1971

One of the experiments astronaut Alan B. Shepard conducted on Apollo 14 was striking two golf balls. Credit: NASA

The third manned moon landing was made on February 5, 1971, by the lunar module of Apollo 14, crewed by Commander Alan Shepard and pilot Edgar Mitchell.

They landed 13 miles (21 kilometers) north of the Fra Mauro crater.

The astronauts collected samples, took photographs and conducted experiments, one of them being Shepard striking two golf balls.

  • Apollo 15 - July 30, 1971

Apollo 15 was the fourth manned lunar landing which took place on July 30, 1971.

Pilot James Irwin landed in the Mare Imbrium area, close to the Montes Apenninus.

The Apollo 15 was the first mission to use the Lunar Revolving Vehicle. Credit: NASA

The Lunar Rover was used for the first time, allowing the astronauts to explore a much larger area.

During the descent to Earth, one of the three parachutes didn’t open properly.

Despite that, the craft splashed down safely 330 miles north of Honolulu.

  • Apollo 16 - April 21, 1972

The fifth manned moon landing was made on April 21, 1972, by the lunar module of Apollo 16 that was commanded by John Young and piloted by Charles Duke.

John Young salutes the U.S. flag at the Descartes landing site on the moon in April 1972. Credit: AP

They landed in the Descartes area north of the Dolland crater, leaving pilot Thomas Mattingly in charge of the orbiting command module.

NASA says the astronaut, who walked on the moon and later commanded the first space shuttle flight, died on Friday, January 5, 2018 aged 87.

  • Apollo 17 - December 11, 1972

Astronaut Eugene A. Cernan, rides the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) during Apollo 17's mission. Credit: NASA

The last manned landing on the Moon, which took place on December 11, 1972, was made by Commander Eugene Cernan and lunar module pilot Harrison Schmitt who was also the first scientist on the Moon.

They used a Lunar Rover vehicle to travel 18.6 miles (30 kilometers).

On December 14, after a 75-hour long stay, they lifted off and docked with the command module.

These moon landings have varied in terms of locations and differs from the Chinese spacecraft which made the first ever landing on the far side of the moon.

The approximate locations of the Apollo moon landing sites: