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Moon Landing Anniversary Renews Debate on Spaceflight

As the country celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, NASA and the Obama administration are weighing the debate over sending more astronauts into space, or to shift more toward the use of robots. Ray Suarez reports.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    Next tonight, going to the moon. Ray Suarez has our anniversary report for our Science Unit.

  • NASA EMPLOYEE:

    You're looking great.

  • NASA EMPLOYEE:

    How are you doing, control?

  • NASA EMPLOYEE:

    We look good here. Fine.

  • NASA EMPLOYEE:

    How about you, telcom?

  • NASA EMPLOYEE:

    Go.

  • NASA EMPLOYEE:

    Guidance, you happy?

  • NASA EMPLOYEE:

    Go.

  • NASA EMPLOYEE:

    Fydel?

  • NASA EMPLOYEE:

    Go.

  • NASA EMPLOYEE:

    Two thousand feet…

  • ANDREW CHAIKIN, writer:

    I can only tell you that it was like your birthday and every holiday and the Fourth of July all rolled into one. It was an Event with a capital E.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    More than 500 million people around the globe were watching July 20, 1969. Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin descended to the moon…

  • NASA EMPLOYEE:

    OK, 75 feet, guys looking good. Down a half.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    … and landed on its surface minutes later.

  • NASA EMPLOYEE:

    Sixty seconds.

  • ASTRONAUT:

    Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    Maybe you remember those first pictures sent back to Earth, grainy and ghostly. Last week, NASA released refurbished video of the landing, digitally restored with better resolution. But for those who watched the original images and then heard Neil Armstrong at the time…

  • NEIL ARMSTRONG, astronaut:

    That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    … the memories 40 years later are fresh and cherished.

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