President Obama Hosts Crew Members of Apollo 11

President Obama Hosts Crew Members of Apollo 11

President Barack Obama on Tuesday hosted two of the three crew members of Apollo 11 on the 45th anniversary of the first moon landing.

Obama met Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins and Neil Armstrong's wife in a private meeting. Neil Armstrong was the first man to set his foot on the surface of the moon. Armstrong passed away in 2012.

Obama said that 45 years ago the world watched as the US made history. "A seminal moment not just in our country's history, but the history of all humankind", Obama said in a statement.

The President said that ever since the first moon landing, the crew of Apollo 11 and their families have been an example of achievements by humans and American ingenuity. He also thanked them for being role models and for the service that they have offered to the nation.

NASA is now in preparations to make 'a giant leap' in space exploration which includes a manned mission to deep space, a mission to an asteroid as well as taking man to Mars, said Obama. NASA is working with the private sector in many new and innovative ways.

Meanwhile, a building was renamed after Neil Armstrong, the first moonwalker in Kennedy Space Centre. Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins and Armstrong's family members were some of the guests who had addressed the event which was attended by more than 500 people.

NASA has been directed to begin planning for a human expedition which will go to an asteroid. That initiative is slated for 2025 and includes a robotic precursor mission which will redirect a small asteroid or the piece of a larger asteroid into a high lunar orbit. Astronauts would then go to the relocated asteroid and pick up samples which will be returned to the Earth.

Under the present plans, it may be another 11 years before US astronauts travel beyond the International Space Station.

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