MIAMI (CBSMiami) – On Saturday, NASA will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing.
Two men who helped put people there are still working at Kennedy Space Center hoping to do it again.
We’ve learned from NASA scientists, some of the rocks collected on the moon from the Apollo missions will soon be put under a microscope.
“Well, I never thought that we couldn’t do it,” said Grady McCorquodale, veteran design manager.
McCorquodale never doubted NASA’s mission for putting the first people on the moon with Apollo 11.
“The cigars were lit up and the smoke was so thick, you couldn’t see the person next to you. It was a tremendous thrill,” McCorquodale said.
And while nearing 90, McCorquodale still works at Kennedy Space Center as a design and testing engineer.
He helped start the rocket that lifted the astronauts to space 50 years ago.
Ken Poimboeuf, 76, helped build the rockets of the Apollo program. He remembers the ups and downs on that journey.
“There were a lot of things we didn’t know. There are a lot of things we found out on the way that we had to modify and get ready for.”
While astronauts were on the moon, rocks were collected and brought back to earth.
A NASA scientist told CBS4 News, some of those from the Apollo missions have not been tested yet.
“We are about to study samples that have never been studied before allowing us new perspectives on old samples,” said Noah Petro, NASA scientist.
Scientists say they will learn more about the moon and data will tell it’s much more about what we can’t see.
“This was an opportunity for us not to just study the moon. But indeed, the history of the solar system recorded in those rocks,” said Petro.
And all this research started because of the Apollo 11’s spaceflight.
“Seeing these grimy landscapes that were so other-worldly but so real. We made science fiction science real overnight with going to the moon,” said Jim Garvin, NASA chief scientist.
Now, these two, who have been at Kennedy Space Center for decades are helping NASA with it’s next mission of going back to the moon in 2024 and then beyond.
“We’ve got to go to the moon first. It’s too much of a gravitational pull to try to go from earth to mars. The moon has to be habituated. We develop colonies there and then off to mars,” McCorquodale said.
Saturday is the anniversary for the moon landing.
Sunday is the 50-year mark of Commander Neil Armstrong setting foot on it.
US Vice President Mike Pence announced on twitter he will be traveling there Saturday in honor of the major milestone.