For the first time ever, it put a satellite into earth orbit, catching the United States by surprise and kicking off the space age.
So on May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy told a joint session of Congress: “Now it is time to take longer strides — time for a great new American enterprise — time for this nation to take a clearly leading role in space achievement .
The Saturn V rocket developed for the Apollo program remains to this day the tallest, heaviest and most powerful rocket ever to fly.
Finally, on July 16, 1969, a Saturn V soared up from the Kennedy Space Center, carrying Apollo 11 into space.
Three days later, the lunar module passed behind the moon, fired a rocket and entered into lunar orbit.
The essentially propagandistic nature of the Apollo program can be seen by the fact that no man has walked on the moon since 1972.
Mars never comes closer to earth than 100 times the distance to the moon (and the physics of space travel would require a far longer trajectory to the Red Planet and back).