Skip to main content

Take One Giant Leap to the Moon with New Augmented Reality Apps

Apollo 11 astronauts Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong travel to the Saturn V rocket, ready to lift off and head for the moon.
Apollo 11 astronauts Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong travel to the Saturn V rocket, ready to lift off and head for the moon. (Image credit: NASA)

If you weren't born when the first crewed moon-landing mission launched — or you want to relive the experience — check out USA Today's two augmented reality apps that will bring you step by step through history.

The Apollo 11 mission marked the first time astronauts, NASA's Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, set foot on the moon, landing on July 20, 1969.

USA Today will publish an eight-day "live" broadcast of the Apollo 11 mission between July 16 and 24, coinciding exactly with the moonbound mission's real-time milestones 50 years ago. You can follow the broadcast on the 321 Launch app, which is available in the App Store for Apple devices or on Google Play for Android.

Related: Apollo 11 at 50: A Complete Guide to the Historic Moon Landing Mission

The newspaper will also offer an augmented reality app on the USA Today app. Starting July 9, the app will show off the mighty Saturn V rocket, the 363-foot (110 meters) behemoth of a booster that brought crews of three people to the moon's neighborhood. Users will learn about every stage of the launch sequence and about the crewed and uncrewed launches of the rocket.

As the 50th anniversary approaches, worldwide celebrations have marked Apollo 11's mission (which took place 13 years before USA Today's 1982 founding). The mission saw Armstrong and Aldrin walk safely on the moon's surface, with fellow astronaut Michael Collins performing lunar science from orbit.

Apollo 11 kicked off six additional moon landing attempts, with five more succeeding; the Apollo 13 mission aborted en route to the moon after an explosion, but the craft returned to Earth safely.

NASA is looking to return humans to the moon for the first time since 1972, now targeting 2024 for the mission, at the directive of President Donald Trump's administration

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook. 

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at:

Elizabeth Howell
Elizabeth Howell is a contributing writer for who is one of the few Canadian journalists to report regularly on space exploration. She is pursuing a Ph.D. part-time in aerospace sciences (University of North Dakota) after completing an M.Sc. (space studies) at the same institution. She also holds a bachelor of journalism degree from Carleton University. Besides writing, Elizabeth teaches communications at the university and community college level. To see her latest projects, follow Elizabeth on Twitter at @HowellSpace.