Extraordinary look back as 50th anniversary of the US moon landing approaches

National Geographic teamed up with "World News Tonight" to share some rare images of that momentous event.
7:20 | 07/16/19

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Transcript for Extraordinary look back as 50th anniversary of the US moon landing approaches
here in this room. This is Apollo 11 mission control in Houston, where they watched, where they guided those astronauts that would land on the moon. We have teamed up tonight with our partners at national geographic for an extraordinary look back. For a tour of this room. Rare images, many have not been seen in years. Take a look. Reporter: It was 50 years ago this week. The Apollo 11 astronauts suiting up as America waited. Would they do it? Would they set foot on the moon? America's team of astronauts was increased to 16 today, with the addition of nine new it was specified that they will be trained for trips to the moon. Reporter: A brand new goal first set by president John F. Kennedy. Now it is time to take longer strides. Time for a great new American enterprise. Time for this nation to take a clearly leading role in space achievements, which, in many ways, may hold the key to our future on Earth. I believe that this nation could commit itself to achieving the goal before this decade is out of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth. Reporter: The zero gravity training. Astronauts preparing for another lunar mission follow a complex training program. Reporter: The simulations. Walking in their spacesuits. The tests in the water. Americans had so many questions about the mission. This is for Mr. Armstrong. There's been speculation about what the first man on the moon will say when he gets there. Will you prepare something ahead of time or will it be prepared for you or can we expect a spontaneous exclamation? Attention now has been focused on how to do the job and how to do it fast, and not so much with what might be the emotions of the moment. I think that would be impossible to predict. Reporter: And then it was 50 years ago tomorrow morning, families across the country gathered in their living rooms. Hundreds of millions watching all over the world. The estimate is more than 1 million persons are in the immediate area. Reporter: Gathering along highways, beaches, setting up tents. Children wearing space helmets. Ready for launch in Florida. Go for launch. We're down to 12. 11. 10. 9. Ignition sequence started. We should see fire. 4. 3. 1. Liftoff. Liftoff. Roger, liftoff. And we have liftoff. Reporter: At 9:32 A.M., Apollo 11 lifting off. I can see her rising now. Reporter: The control room watching, some with binoculars. The view, spectacular. And even more so from inside. Got the Earth straight out our front window. Reporter: After traveling 240,000 miles in 76 hours, Apollo 11 enters into a lunar orbit. The next day, the lunar module, eagle, with Armstrong and aldrin inside, beginning its descent to the moon. It did not come without alarm. 1202. 1202. Reporter: A 1202 alarm means the lunar module's computer is overloaded if the problem cannot be corrected, the landing will be aborted. Give us a reading on the 1202 program alarm. Reporter: The control room silent. But they soon decide it's a go. We're going. We're going. Reporter: Neil Armstrong fry flies the lumar module manually. Flight director gene krantz gives a 60 seconds to abort warning. They make quick calculations at nasa. Okay, how's the fuel. Wait just a minute. Okay, here's a -- looks like a good area here. I got the shadow out here. Stand by for 30. Forward. Forward. 30. 30 seconds. Good. Two and a half. Contact light. Shutdown. Okay, engine stop. The Houston -- tranquility base here. The eagle has landed. Roger, tranquility, we copy you on the ground. You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We're breathing a again. Thanks a lot. Thank you. Reporter: Breathing again in mission control. They break into applause in Houston. Some wiping away tears. The images beamed back live, the control room sees them. And we're getting a fixture on the TV. Reporter: Cheers back on Earth, back in America. And then Neil Armstrong emerges. I'm going to step off the lm now. July 20th, 10:56 P.M., Neil Armstrong walks on the moon and those famous words. That's one small step for man -- one giant leap for mankind. Reporter: 19 minutes later, it was buzz aldrin's turn. Back home, tears and a little girl waving her American flag. And back at Apollo mission control in Houston, they knew they had a lot of work still left to do. These are the chairs they sat Yes. Reporter: And here in Houston, they show us where they have restored Apollo mission control. The consoles, the screens, the Apollo program on the monitors. Even the cigarettes and coffee mugs are right where they were left. And Sandra Tetley takes us to the console where flight director gene krantz sat. He requested the go/no go. Gave the go to the cap come and they landed. Reporter: And she shows us something else here in a room that preserves all of that listry made. She takes us to the console where the doctors sat. On the screen, a heartbeat. They had Neil Armstrong's vital signs right in front of them the whole time. Right. Reporter: They were monitoring the astronauts, their vitals, at every moment. And as they guided them from this room on that journey home, a message they left on the moon. Underneath, it says, here men from the planet Earth, first set foot upon the moon, July 1969, A.D. We came in peace for all mankind. Wow, there is so much more from the archives, and every moment is really fascinating. And you can watch the fulfill M "Apollo: Missions to the moon" at natgeotv.com. There's still much more

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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