This was the big one. The one with the small steps and the giant leaps and the gosh darn American flag. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first and second (respectively) people to walk on the moon during Apollo 11. Michael Collins took one for the team, hanging out up in orbit until the guys were ready to hitch a ride home, and all three men made some serious history.
Start Date: Jul 16 1969
Astronauts: Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins
End Date: Jul 24 1969
Here's where the moonwalkers really got their feet wet. Or dusty, I guess, if you want to be very technical about it. Combined, Pete Conrad and Alan Bean spent just over one day and seven hours on the moon. They also brought along the first color television camera, to record video on the moon's surface*. They completed two moonwalks, collecting rocks, taking measurements, and snapping some pics**.
All the while, Command Module pilot Richard Gordon, Jr. hung out in the Command Module all on his lonesome.
*Bean broke it by pointing it at the Sun. Oops.
**Bean left a bunch of their film on the surface of the moon, though.
Start Date: Nov 14 1969
Astronauts: Alan Bean, Pete Conrad, Richard F. Gordon^! Jr.
End Date: Nov 24 1969
Oh, boy. Houston, we have a problem. If you don't know what happened during this Apollo mission, then you have a book to read and a movie to watch. This list will be here when you're finished.
Start Date: Apr 11 1970
Astronauts: Jack Swigert, Jim Lovell, Fred Haise
End Date: Apr 17 1970
This nine-day mission was the last of what NASA called the H missions: "precision landings with up to two-day stays on the Moon, with two lunar Extra-Vehicular Activities or 'moonwalks.'" It was during one of these Apollo 14 moonwalks that Alan Shepard played golf on the moon. The astronauts also did some science around Fra Mauro, Apollo 13's original destination.
On this mission, astronauts carried with them a variety of seeds, which were germinated upon their return to Earth and grew into the "Moon Trees."
Start Date: Jan 31 1971
Astronauts: Edgar Dean Mitchell, Alan Shepard, Stuart Roosa
End Date: Feb 09 1971
Apollo 15 was the very first of NASA's J Missions. These were characterized by long stays on the moon and a lot more science. David Scott and James Irwin spent three days on the moon and 18-and-a-half hours on EVAs. They drove around in the Lunar Rover and even filmed their own lunar liftoff! This was also the mission during which Scott tested Galileo's gravitational theory, dropping a feather and a hammer simultaneously; they did, in fact, hit the surface at the same time.
NASA, at the time, called this mission the most successful manned flight ever achieved. Unfortunately, some unauthorized stamps the astronauts carried with them put a damper on positive press. They had planned to sell the stamps upon returning to Earth.
Start Date: Jul 26 1971
Astronauts: David Scott, James Irwin, Alfred Worden
End Date: Aug 07 1971
This mission was the very first to land in the lunar highlands. This allowed astronauts John Young and Charles Duke (who spent 71 hours on the surface) to gather older geological samples. Some of these samples even disproved a hypothesis that the Descartes and Cayley formations were volcanic in origin. Science!
Start Date: Apr 16 1972
Astronauts: Ken Mattingly, John Watts Young, Charles Moss Duke^! Jr.
End Date: Apr 27 1972
The final mission of the Apollo program was also the first night launch of a US human spaceflight. It was also the last time (to date) that humans travelled beyond low Earth orbit. They did the usual: science and moon rocks, plus bringing back the largest rock haul of any of the Apollo missions.
Astronaut Gene Cernan, the last human to walk on the moon, shared some final thoughts before getting back in the Lunar Module and returning to Earth:
"...I'm on the surface; and, as I take man's last step from the surface, back home for some time to come - but we believe not too long into the future - I'd like to just [say] what I believe history will record. That America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow. And, as we leave the Moon at Taurus-Littrow, we leave as we came and, God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind. 'Godspeed the crew of Apollo 17.'"
He also wrote a wonderful book if you are into that sort of thing.
Start Date: Dec 07 1972
Astronauts: Eugene Andrew Cernan, Harrison Schmitt, Ronald Evans
End Date: Dec 19 1972