Relive the Apollo 11 Moon Mission, on Its 40th Anniversary

The website We Choose the Moon is a stunning combination of voluminous archival materials and slick animations.

Apollo 11 prelaunch screenshot

Forty years ago today, at 9:32 am EST, Apollo 11 lifted off from Florida, en route to the moon. And, if you want to relive the mission, you can: We Choose the Moon, the Kennedy Library’s recreation of the events, goes live this morning. In the four days that follow, the site with reveal itself in real time, corresponding with stages in the mission.


Created by The Martin Agency, it’s a fairly seamless integration of voluminous archive materials–including 400 pictures from NASA, 44 archival videos, and over 100 hours of actual audio transmission–and animations showing you exactly how the flight went down. “This stuff was in the Public domain, but we wanted to bring it together in a way that allows you to actually feel the experience,” says Brian Williams, the project’s senior art director. “That hasn’t been possible until now.”

On the site, the audio plays at the precise times that they did 40 years ago; the transcripts of those recordings also go out in Twitter. But the site’s real draw is the visuals: Again, at the precise time, the site releases animations of 11 critical moments during the flight, such as the rocket separation and lunar landing. Meanwhile, when the animation you’re watching has cycled through, you can click on the screen to zoom around the image, to see it from different viewpoints; you can also click to see the archival images and videos. It all wraps up at 4:17pm EST on Monday–the precise time, forty years ago, when the Eagle landed.

“Kennedy was the first one to do live press conferences, and he brought this sense of new technology to the White House,” says Joe Alexander, a creative director at The Martin Agency. “I’d like to think this is how he would have done it.”

Apollo 11 launch screenshot
Apollo 11 lunar orbit screenshot

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About the author

Cliff was director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.