LAKE WORTH, Fla. - Forty-five years ago a giant leap was made in the field of space exploration.
On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 landed on the moon and Neil Armstrong became the first person to step foot on its surface.
Dr. Edgar Mitchell, who now lives in Lake Worth, was part of the operation to land Apollo 11 on the moon.
Mitchell watched the lunar landing from Houston's mission control while millions of people across the world looked to the skies or turned on their televisions to witness history in the making.
"It was the beginning to exploring our solar system. The implications were pretty enormous," Mitchell said.
Mitchell says Apollo 11 carried the hope of many to learn some of humanity's biggest questions.
"How did all of this become? How is it? What are the heavens about? What's out there?" Mitchell said.
The historic landing also laid the groundwork for Mitchell's own trip to the moon.
Mitchell was an astronaut on Apollo 14 nearly a year and a half later. The mission was to continue the work Apollo 13 set out to do: collect lunar material for geologists.
"We have pictures, hundreds of them, and NASA has thousands of them," Mitchell said.
Mitchell treasures the pictures as a way to recall his experience on the moon.
With so much work to be done, Mitchell said there wasn't much time to take everything in.
"Sure, there was excitement about the newness of it, but we were more oriented around doing our job professionally," Mitchell said.
On this 45th anniversary of Apollo 11's landing, Mitchell looks to the future of space exploration.
He expects discoveries to be made for alternate sites for civilization.
"We are over populating and over consuming on this earth," Mitchell said.
He envisions space travel becoming easier and more accessible to more people than scientists.
"Survival depends on it, and I don't take that lightly," Mitchell said.
Mitchell is now in his early 80s, but says he is still actively involved with research that could contribute to advancements in space travel.