What happened to the 12 men who walked on the moon?

Only a dozen men have walked on the surface of the moon, and this Friday marks the 49th anniversary of the groundbreaking Apollo 11 moon landing mission.

Of the 12 Americans who have set foot on the moon, only four are still alive.

From Apollo 11, the first lunar mission on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took that giant leap for mankind.

Armstrong, an astronaut and aeronautical engineer, retired from NASA in 1971, and served as a corporate spokesperson for several businesses. Though he had a reputation for being reclusive, Armstrong spoke at public events, hosted a science series and taught college. Armstrong died in 2012 at age 82.

Aldrin, who piloted the Apollo 11 mission, was the second man on the moon. He kept a higher public profile as an outspoken advocate for space exploration, including a manned missions to Mars.

Photos from the mission: 

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Apollo moon landings
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Apollo moon landings
The American flag at Tranquility Base on the Moon, planted by the Apollo 11 astronauts. (Photo by � Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
The Apollo 11 lunar module Eagle, just before its descent to the surface of the Moon. | Location: aboard the command module Columbia, Moon orbit. (Photo by � Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
One of the gold foil-covered legs of the lunar module Orion, the landing craft of Apollo 16. | Location: Descartes Crater, Moon. (Photo by � Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin takes his last step off the Eagle lunar module onto the surface of the Moon. (Photo by � Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
Apollo 16 Astronaut Walking on the Moon (Photo by � Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
A bag of used equipment from Apollo 11, the first moon landing mission, lies on the surface of the Moon next to the Eagle lunar module. The astronauts left this equipment behind to reduce the weight on their return trip. (Photo by � Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin walks near one of the legs of the Eagle lander at Tranquility Base on the moon's surface. (Photo by � Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong leaves a footprint on the surface of the Moon at Tranquility Base. (Photo by � Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
The Eagle, the lunar module of Apollo 11, prepares to dock with the command module after ascending from the Moon's surface. | View from: 'Columbia' Command Module. (Photo by � Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
One of the Apollo 15 astronauts uses a thin metal pole to get a core sample on the surface of the Moon. (Photo by � Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
One of the Apollo 17 astronauts stands next to his lunar rover on the surface of the Moon. | Location: Taurus-Littrow Valley, Moon. (Photo by � Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
One of the Apollo 16 astronauts next to the lunar rover, a transport vehicle for the Moon's surface. | Location: Descartes Crater, Moon. (Photo by � Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
An astronaut carries a camera on the moon during the 1972 Apollo 16 mission. This mission was the first time ultraviolet camera/spectrograph was used on the Moon. (Photo by � Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
Wheel tracks from the Antares lunar module on the surface of the Moon during the Apollo 14 mission. The compressed soil under the tracks reflects sunlight better than the pristine lunar surface, so they appear bright. (Photo by � Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
The unmanned Surveyor III lunar lander, photographed by the astronauts of Apollo 12. Their landing craft, the Intrepid, sits on the horizon. | Location: Oceanus Procellarum, Moon. (Photo by � Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
The unmanned Surveyor III lunar lander, photographed by the astronauts of Apollo 12. Their landing craft, the Intrepid, sits on the horizon. | Location: Oceanus Procellarum, Moon. (Photo by � Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
Alan Shepard Plants U.S. Flag on the Moon (Photo by � Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
NASA moon vehicle used in 1969 for Apollo 11, the first mission landing a human being on the lunar surface. (Photo by Mario De Biasi/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)
Astronaut David Scott (b1932) on the slope of Hadley Delta during Apollo 15, 1971. David Scott, mission commander, performs a task at the Lunar Roving Vehicle parked on the edge of Hadley Rille during the first Apollo 15 lunar surface extravehicular activity (EVA-1). This photograph was taken by Astronaut James B. Irwin, lunar module pilot, from the flank of St George Crater. The view is looking north along the rille. (Photo by The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - DECEMBER 1968: Earth rising over curvature of the moon as seen from Apollo 8 (Photo by NASA/NASA/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
American broadcast journalist and TV news anchor Walter Cronkite stands in front of a large photograph of the lunar landscape at Hayden Planetarium during coverage of NASA's Apollo 8 mission, New York, New York, December 6, 1968. (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 07: An astronaut placing an ALSEP (Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package) on the Moon. Apollo 12, the second manned lunar landing mission, was launched on 14th November 1969, with astronauts Charles Conrad, Alan Bean and Richard Gordon on board. It landed on the area of the Moon?s surface known as the Ocean of Storms, very near an earlier unmanned probe, Surveyor 3, which was visited on the mission. Conrad and Bean became the third and fourth men to walk on the Moon. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 08: Aldrin is shown deploying the Passive Seismic Experiments Package (PSEP) on the lunar surface. The PSEP was one of the experiments that were carried out during the lunar landing missions. Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing mission, was launched on 16th July 1969 with astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin �Buzz� Aldrin and Michael Collins on board, and Armstrong and Aldrin became the first and second men to walk on the Moon on 20th July 1969. Collins, the Command Module pilot, remained in lunar orbit while Armstrong and Aldrin were on the surface. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)
Astronaut Edwin Aldrin standing on moon beside part. deployed Early Apollo Scientific Experimental Package (EASEP) w. Lunar Module & newly-erected American flag in bkgrd. During Apollo 11 mission (Photo by Time Life Pictures/NASA/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
060280 01: Astronaut Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin poses next to the U.S. flag July 20, 1969 on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. (Photo by NASA/Liaison)
(Eingeschr�kte Rechte f�r bestimmte redaktionelle Kunden in Deutschland. Limited rights for specific editorial clients in Germany.) Spaceflight United States of America, Moon landing of Apollo 11 in 1969: Neil Armstrong's first photo after setting foot on the Moon, lunar module skirt on the left - July 20, 1969 (Photo by NASA/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin place an American flag on the lunar surface. | View from: 'Eagle' Lunar Module. (Photo by NASA/Roger Ressmeyer/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)
Apollo II astronaut Buzz Aldrin beside a solar wind experiment during his July 20, 1969 moon walk.
Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean's face mask reflects the Apollo 12 astronaut Commander Charles 'Pete' Conrad, as Conrad snaps his companion's photo while taking soil samples from the surface of the moon. | Location: Moon.
(Original Caption) Taking a Walk on the Moon. The Moon: One of the Apollo 12 astronauts is photographed with tools and carrier for lunar hand tools during moonwalk activities. Several footprints made by the astronauts can be seen in the foreground. The photo was made by the astronauts and released by NASA Nov. 27.
Apollo 12 astronaut Alan L. Bean during extravehicular activity, lunar module in bkgrd. (R), on surface of moon. (Photo by Time Life Pictures/NASA/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Unident. Apollo 15 astronaut saluting Amer. flag, framed by lunar module & Mt. Hadley, on footprint-embedded surface of moon. (Photo by Time Life Pictures/NASA/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Astronaut Alan B. Shepard walking on the moon's surface during the Apollo 14 mission. (Photo by Time Life Pictures/NASA/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Astronaut Alan Shepard planting American flag on the moon's surface during Apollo 14 mission (Photo by Time Life Pictures/NASA/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 03: Astronaut Irwin and the Lunar Rover on the Moon, with Mount Hadley in the background. Apollo 15, the fourth successful lunar landing mission, was launched on 26th July 1971. It carried astronauts David Scott, Irwin and Alfred Worden. Worden remained in lunar orbit in the Apollo Command Module while the other two astronauts descended to the Moon, becoming the seventh and eighth men to walk on its surface. Apollo 15 was the first mission to use the battery powered Lunar Rover which, with a top speed of 14 kilometres per hour, considerably increased the distances that astronauts could cover while exploring the lunar surface. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 07: This view shows a rock-strewn landscape with rolling hills in the background. The Lunar Rover vehicle can be seen in the distance. Apollo 15, the fourth successful lunar landing mission, was launched on 26th July 1971. It carried astronauts David Scott, James Irwin and Alfred Worden. Worden remained in lunar orbit in the Apollo Command Module while the other two astronauts descended to the Moon, becoming the seventh and eighth men to walk on its surface. Apollo 15 was the first mission to use the battery powered Lunar Rover which, with a top speed of 14 kilometres per hour, considerably increased the distances that astronauts could cover while exploring the lunar surface. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 10: Astronaut James Irwin, with the Lunar Rover and the Lunar Module nearby, salutes the American flag planted on the surface of the Moon. Mount Hadley can be seen in the background. Apollo 15, the fourth successful lunar landing mission, was launched on 26th July 1971. It carried astronauts David Scott, Irwin and Alfred Worden. Worden remained in lunar orbit in the Apollo Command Module while the other two astronauts descended to the Moon, becoming the seventh and eighth men to walk on its surface. Apollo 15 was the first mission to use the battery powered Lunar Rover which, with a top speed of 14 kilometres per hour, considerably increased the distances that astronauts could cover while exploring the lunar surface. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 31: This is one of two tourist pictures of Al Shepard taken after deployment of the US flag. Before taking this series, they turned the flag so that it was face on to the 16-mm DAC mounted on the MET (Modular Equipment Transporter). After they finished taking these tourist pictures, they turned the flag so it was face on to the TV camera. Apollo 14, the third successful manned Moon landing mission carrying Shepard, Stuart Roosa and Edgar Mitchell, was launched on 31 January 1971. Shepard and Mitchell became the fifth and sixth men to walk on the lunar surface, and Shepard the first to hit a golf ball on the Moon. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)
A picture taken on February 6, 1971 shows Astronaut Edgar D. Mitchell, Apollo 14 lunar module pilot, moving across the lunar surface while looking over a traverse map during extravehicular activity (EVA). AFP PHOTO NASA (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - OCTOBER 17: American astronaut Edgar D. Mitchell, lunar module pilot, throwing an improvised javelin on the moon during Apollo 14 mission on february 6, 1971. Behind him are astronaut Alan B. Shepard, Apollo 14 commander, and Lunar Module, photo NASA (Photo by Apic/Getty Images)
1st August 1971: Astronaut James B. Irwin saluting next to the lunar module during the Apollo 15 lunar mission. Taken during a period of EVA (extravehicular activity at the Hadley-Apennine landing site on the moon. The Lunar Module 'Falcon' is in the centre. (Photo by Time Life Pictures/NASA/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
US cosmonaut James Irwin standing by the US flag waves on the moon during the Apollo 15 lunar mission on August 11, 1971. / AFP / NASA / - (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01: Astronaut John Young during Apollo 16 moon walk. (Photo by NASA/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Astronaut Charles Duke Jr, Apollo 16 lunar module pilot, salutes the US flag at the Descartes landing site during the mission's first extravehicular activity, Moon, April 21, 1972. The Lunar Module and the Lunar Roving Vehicle are at the left. (Photo by NASA/Underwood Archives/Getty Images)
THE MOON - DECEMBER 12: Apollo 17 commander Eugene A. Cernan stands by the American flag during his second space walk becoming the last man to walk on the Moon on December 12, 1972. (Photo by NASA/Donaldson Collection/Getty Images)
Harrison Schmitt Working At Lunar Roving Vehicle, Apollo 17 Scientist-Astronaut Harrison Schmitt Working At The Lunar Roving Vehicle At The Taurus-Littrow Site, This Is The Area Where Schmitt First Spotted Orange Soil, Apollo 17 Was Launched December 7, 1
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Aldrin was a popular guest on the talk show circuit and even appeared on "Dancing with the Stars" in 2010.

He became the oldest person to reach the South Pole at 86 years old in 2016, where he said he had a near-death experience.

Most recently, Aldrin drew headlines for a legal dispute with his children.

At 88 years old, Aldrin now makes his home in Florida.

Pete Conrad became the third person to walk on the moon in November 1969 as a part of the Apollo 12 mission. He retired from NASA in 1973 and worked in business. Conrad died in a motorcycle accident in California in 1999. He was 69.

Conrad’s Apollo 12 crewmate, Alan Bean, became the fourth man on the moon. He eventually logged 1,600 hours in space, serving in missions to Skylab and taking part in the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project.

After retiring from NASA in 1981, he became a painter, incorporating pieces from his spacesuit patches in his paintings.

Bean died in Texas last May. He was 86.

Alan Shepard walked on the moon in February 1971 as a part of the Apollo 14 mission. He retired from NASA in 1974 and went on to work in banking and real estate, serve on non-profit boards and found what would later become the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.

He died of leukemia in 1998 at age 74.

Shepard’s crewmate on Apollo 14, Edgar Mitchell, became the sixth man to walk on the moon. After retiring from NASA in 1972, he helped found the Institute of Noetic Sciences, a non-profit organization in California that researches ESP and other psychic phenomena.

Mitchell died in Florida in 2016 at age 85.

Apollo 15 astronaut David Scott walked on the moon in both July and August 1971, but most notably became the first man to drive on the moon during the same mission. After retiring from NASA in 1977, he became a writer and consultant for books and documentaries about its space program. He now lives in Los Angeles, California.

James Irwin, who embarked on the same mission, became the eighth person to walk on the moon. He retired from NASA in 1972 and founded the High Flight Foundation, a Christian religious outreach organization.

Irwin died of a heart attack in 1991 at age 61, which made him the first of the moon men to die.

In April 1972, John Young became the ninth person to walk on the moon on the Apollo 16 mission. He later flew missions on the Space Shuttle Columbia and spent more than 40 years with NASA before retiring in 2004. Young died in January at 87 years old.

Charles Duke became the tenth man on the moon during the same Apollo 16 mission. He retired from NASA in 1975 and became active in prison ministry. Now at 82 years old, Duke lives in Texas and serves as chairman of the board of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.

Later that year, in December 1972, Eugene Cernan took his moon walk during the Apollo 17 mission. Not only was Cernan the 11th man on the list; his are the last footprints to be left on the surface of the moon.

He retired from NASA in 1976 and worked in private industry and occasionally served as the commentator for "Good Morning America." Cernan died in Texas in January 2017. He was 82.

The most recent living man to take steps on the moon was Harrison Schmitt, who was a geologist on the same Apollo 17 mission.

Schmitt retired from NASA in 1975 and went on to represent New Mexico in the U.S. Senate as a Republican for one term, starting the following year. He also taught at the university level and served as a business consultant.

At 83 years old, Smith now lives in New Mexico.

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