The United States sent astronauts to the moon in 1969, at a time when rocketry was still being developed and computer capabilities were primitive by today’s standards.
The lunar landing was achieved just eight years after President John F. Kennedy’s historic challenge, triggered by a Cold War space race with the Soviet Union.
Many Americans wondered then why costly space exploration was a top priority when the nation was sharply divided by racial tensions and riots, the Vietnam War and an unstable economy.
Except for development of the NASA space shuttle, the International Space Station and private initiatives, space exploration has been back-burnered by the United States.
In 2004 President George W. Bush made a pitch to return to the moon as part of a manned mission to Mars, but the idea never gained traction in Congress.
Still, space travel has helped develop many beneficial breakthroughs, including advances in medical devices, materials, solar cell technologies, and computer software.
President Trump has revived the idea of establishing a lunar base as a launching point for a manned trip to Mars.