Apollo 11 at 45: 6 events you won't want to miss as NASA celebrates first steps on the moon

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Now's the time to get moonstruck.

Forty-five years ago Sunday, Apollo 11's Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on another world. Armstrong's "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" on the dusty lunar surface July 20, 1969 still stirs hearts.

NASA plans to commemorate that historic occasion with a series of events throughout the weekend and into next week. It's part of a look back at the moon landing and a look ahead to the space center's "next giant leap" — putting an astronaut on an asteroid and, ultimately, on Mars.

Here are a few of the events you won't want to miss, including a live rebroadcast of the restored footage from the moon landing:

'Live' tweeting

Follow along on Twitter (@ReliveApollo11) as the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum re-creates, in 140 characters or less per tweet, the eight-day flight. It began with the Saturn V liftoff on July 16, 1969 and ended with a Pacific splashdown on July 24, 1969. You can see that feed below:

High-def images of the lunar surface

Slooh Observatory will broadcast high-definition images of the lunar surface Sunday night, along with a panel discussion, beginning at 5:30 P.M. PT.

Rebroadcast of the moon landing

Tune in to NASA TV via cable, satellite or computer late Sunday night. The space agency will broadcast restored footage of Armstrong and Aldrin's lunar footsteps, beginning at 7:39 p.m. PT, the exact time Armstrong opened the Eagle's hatch 45 years ago. Take pleasure in knowing this is the first major Apollo 11 anniversary in which the events fall on the same day of the week as they did in 1969. Or you can watch it below:

Video: Moon EVA

NASA spokesman Bob Jacobs says the agency teamed up with Burbank-based Lowry Digital to spruce up the footage.

"The video was grainy and it had break-ups and it had little dots in it," Jacobs recalled. He says Lowry took those visual blemishes out, but he adds that the goal wasn't to dramatically revamp the footage.

"Everything looks just a little bit better."

Here's a peek at before-and-after footage that gives you a sense of what NASA was working with when it started restoring the video:

Remembering Armstrong

On Monday at 7 a.m., NASA will hold a ceremony at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to rename a building there in memory of Neil Armstrong, who died in 2012. NASA TV will air live coverage of the event. Apollo 11’s Michael Collins will be in attendance; he piloted the command module as it orbited the moon. Other attendees include Armstrong's fellow moonwalker Buzz Aldrin and astronaut Jim Lovell, who was the mission’s back-up commander. International Space Station NASA astronauts Reid Wiseman and Steve Swanson, who is the current station commander, will also take part in the ceremony from their orbiting laboratory 260 miles above Earth, according to NASA.

'Next Giant Leap' at Comic-Con

Aldrin's next appearance will be in San Diego on Thursday, July 24, the anniversary of Apollo 11's return to Earth. NASA says Aldrin will join a panel discussion at Comic-Con International called "NASA's Next Giant Leap," which will look ahead at America's next space adventure and feature a discussion about the Orion spacecraft and the Space Launch System rocket, which will carry humans into space. The panel will be moderated by actor Seth Green and include NASA Planetary Science Division Director Jim Green, JPL systems engineer Bobak Ferdowsi and NASA astronaut Mike Fincke. The event starts at 3 p.m. PT.


The USS Hornet Museum in Alameda, California has also nabbed Aldrin for its 45th anniversary festivities, Splashdown 45, next Saturday, July 26. The aircraft carrier recovered the Apollo 11 crew and the capsule — the Columbia — from the Pacific following splashdown. President Richard Nixon was on board to welcome Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins home.

With contributions from Marcia Dunn/AP and KPCC staff

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