Forty five years ago, mankind made a giant leap when astronaut Neil Armstrong made his first step on the surface of the moon. The successful landing of the Apollo 11 did not only end the space race that was happening between the U.S. and the Soviet Union but also validate America's place as a leader in technology.

"Apollo was established as a program for a specific political purpose, and it achieved that purpose in a stellar way," said Roger Launius, chief historian for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). "It demonstrated to the world, as it was intended to do, that the United States was second to none when it came to technology."

The feat that Armstrong and his crewmates Edwin "Buzz" E. Aldrin, Jr. and Michael Collins accomplished is also associated to the leaps and bounds growth of technology. Jay Barbree, who wrote "Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight" said that the moon landing has paved way to the development of modern technologies that consumers enjoy to this day such as the cellphone.

The successful manned landing on the moon is also undeniably one of the main inspirations of the current interest on Mars exploration. Prior to Apollo 11's manned mission, the idea of sending a man to the moon and bringing him back to earth safely seemed to be impossible but the landing happened anyway. Despite challenges, the U.S. now also has the Curiosity Rover exploring the red planet.

Nearly half a century after the world witnessed man landing on the moon, the U.S. also appears to be preparing for its next giant leap and that is sending man to Mars. NASA is currently working on a plan dubbed "Path to Mars" to send a manned mission to the red planet. The space agency said that it intends to get people to Mars by the mid-2030s as President Barack Obama directed in 2010.

"NASA is developing the capabilities needed to send humans to an asteroid by 2025 and Mars in the 2030s," NASA said. "Engineers and scientists around the country are working hard to develop the technologies astronauts will use to one day live and work on Mars, and safely return home from the next giant leap for humanity."

The goal may seem improbable by now but with advancing space technologies, man may just be able to make it to the surface of the red planet in the future.

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