The Conversation: 5 innovations of the Apollo moon program that changed life here on Earth

The Deep Space Network ground stations are placed 120 degrees apart in longitude. An earlier version incorrectly said they were placed 120 degrees apart in latitude.

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Astronaut Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin, Jr. descends the steps of the Lunar Module ladder on July 20, 1969. The photo was taken by Neil Armstrong, the first man to step on the moon.

Much of the technology common in daily life today originates from the drive to put a human being on the Moon. This effort reached its pinnacle when Neil Armstrong stepped off the Eagle landing module onto the lunar surface 50 years ago.

As a NASA airborne astronomy ambassador and director of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Manfred Olson Planetarium, I know that the technologies behind weather forecasting, GPS and even smartphones can trace their origins to the race to the Moon.

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