Tomorrow is July 20th. Fifty years ago, man landed and walked on the moon.
In 1969, I was 8 years old. At that age, I was super crazy about anything and everything concerning space. I had model rockets, a space suit. I would write NASA every month to get free stuff. Pictures, articles, anything.
I remember watching the Apollo 11 launch, the landing on the moon. I stayed up to watch the astronauts walk on the moon. I watched the splashdown. Fifty years ago, July 20th 1969, was a great day to be a kid. To be an American. We all felt proud of the accomplishment. I didn’t know that then. Reflecting upon that time, I know it now.
The internet is full of images and pictures of the space program and the Apollo 11 mission. The photo above is that of Apollo 11 launching from Cape Kennedy. Interesting now but as I am exploring photos to capture the historic mission, I find that the internet’s first message transmission happened in October 1969 (https://www.poynter.org/reporting-editing/2014/today-in-media-history-the-internet-began-with-a-crash-on-october-29-1969/ ). Lots of articles about the differences in computer technology between today with the iPhone versus the computers programmed with 1’s and 0’s.
From the earth, I find myself always look at and wonder in amazement about the moon. Looking at this photo, taken during Apollo 11, I can only wonder the amazement of being on the moon looking back at the earth. The earth is so blue with white clouds.
Several photos that I found on the Internet, specifically the NASA historical page, covering the Apollo 11 mission. The first is a photo of the LEM (LEM is lunar excursion module) leaving Michael Collins and the command module. The other two are from the moons surface: astronaut Buzz Aldrin climbing down the LEM and Aldrin saluting the flag on the moon. I look at these photos, and others, and wonder how people managed to believe that the moon landing was faked.
As I searched the internet, I came across the photo above in an article (https://www.popularmechanics.com/space/a16534/heres-how-the-apollo-astronauts-took-out-the-trash/ ). Sadly, we littered on the moon, in a photo captured by Neil Armstrong shortly after he took that one small step. The Indian crying ad over littering, and the idea of Keep America Beautiful didn’t occur until 1971.
The last photo in my internet search is the lifting of the Apollo 11 command module after splashdown, onto the USS Hornet. American spacecraft, with the exception of the Space Shuttle always landed in the ocean. Why is that? No specific article on the subject, but reading several postings suggest that it is because there is no need for a breaking rocket to slow the descent in the atmosphere. American capsules have a heat shield to keep the heat from re-entry burning up the capsule. The heat is caused by friction from the falling object as it goes through the atmosphere, from a vacuum to pressure caused by the gases in the atmosphere. Today the capsule sits in the Smithsonian Institution.
I’m not sure if it was my infatuation with space that led my to a career in science. Was it the experience, the adventure, research and development? Not in total, but it certainly contributed. The study of any science is lacking in our country today. That decline has certainly led to a decline in our technology development, education, ability to compete in the arena of ideas in the modern world.
All topics for a future posting.