PORTLAND, Ore. — In 1966, three years before the launch of Apollo 11, a group of 19 astronauts, as well as scientists and NASA officials, hiked to Newberry volcano just south of Bend.

In KGW archive video you can hear the tour guide tell the group, "I'd like to take you on a tour of this lava and keep watching the surface."

MORE: KGW files: NASA astronauts visit Oregon lava beds that emulate the moon's surface

The group was hoping to get a better idea of what the moon's surface may look like before landing. The moon's surface was one of the many unknowns at the time, but they weren't far off. Basalt rock was found on the moon's surface, but the ground near Newberry was too rough.

Fast forward three years and all eyes in Oregon were on Apollo 11 and it's launch into history.

"It's just like yesterday I saw this launch." said Jim Todd, OMSI's director of space science education. 

He was 8 years old and living in Nebraska when the shuttle launched. Todd's uncle worked for NASA and was able to give him some material to study space science. That insight into the world of space and the launch and landing on the moon helped shape Todd's future.

"This paved the way that I actually wanted to be a teacher to teach science," Todd said. "And no better way to share my knowledge of the Apollo mission because of that landing on the moon 50 years ago."

Archive video: KGW asked Portlanders in July 1969 about moon landing