Today marks the 45 th anniversary of what many regard as mankind’s greatest achievement.

On this day in 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin opened the hatch to the Apollo 11 Lunar Module Eagle, climbed down the craft’s ladder and set foot on a surface previously uncharted by humans, in turn setting a Guinness World Records title as the first men on the Moon.

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Armstrong, who passed away in 2012, was the commander of the three man crew of Apollo 11, which included fellow moonwalker Aldrin and Command module pilot Michael Collins.

The moonwalk came just six hours after the Eagle touched down on the Moon’s desolate surface on the Sea of Tranquility.

Armstrong had earlier reported the lunar module's safe landing at 2017 GMT with the words: "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed."

Despite his cool delivery of those now iconic words, the Eagle had in fact touched down with just 30 seconds of fuel remaining as Armstrong searched for a safe landing spot – a record for least amount of fuel left on a moon landing.

The first to leave the Eagle, Armstrong placed his left foot down first on the moon’s surface, going on to famously declare: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

While still on the ladder Aldrin urinated into a special collection bag within his spacesuit, setting the slightly less lauded record for first person to relieve themselves on the Moon.

Speaking of the incident in the 2007 film In the Shadow of the Moon, Aldrin stated "Everyone has their firsts on the Moon, and that one hasn't been disputed by anybody."

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With millions watching grainy footage of their pioneering mission on TV back home on Earth, the pair went on to spend two hours collecting lunar rocks which they would bring back home to Earth to study.

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As well as jumping across the landscape and planting the Stars and Stripes flag, the pair also took photographs while on the moon. Prior to the Apollo mission, Aldrin had already proven himself to have been a pioneer of space photography having taken what is now recognised as the first selfie in open space during a tethered spacewalk as part of the Gemini 12 mission back in 1966.

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Only 10 other astronauts have walked on the Moon since the Apollo 11 landing, with Eugene Cernan becoming the last man to tread the lunar surface on 14 December 1972 as part of Apollo 17.

At age 36 years 6 months and 18 days, Charles Duke stands as the youngest to step foot on Earth's only natural satellite during the Apollo 16 mission, with Alan Shepard the oldest after moon walking during the Apollo 14 mission at the age of 47 years 2 months and 18 days.

All images via NASA / Reuters