Moon Landing 50 years later

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.

Explore Space Create History

That phrase is on the front cover of the latest LEGO catalogue that arrived today. The summer 2019 catalogue has creations associated with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. When I was growing up, I followed the space program before the landing. I was 8 at the time. I remember watching Walter Cronkite cover the liftoff, the landing, the first walk on the moon and the landing back here on earth. I had everything. A space suit, telescope, we would fly model rockets. I would write NASA every month for free photos and books, anythink about space. It would have been cool to be an astronaut.

So in the summer catalogue from LEGO they have listed as a “hard to find” item, the Saturn V rocket. It’s over 39 inches tall. I remember growing up my plastic model rockets of Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo. They had to be assembled by hand, and help from mom and dad. They were taller than 39 inches, but they also required glue and paint. Less pieces than these LEGO kits. At 1,969 pieces, it would take my son and I an afternoon to build this LEGO kit. New in the catalogue is the Apollo 11 Lunar Lander. I can remember that when you filled up your car with gas at the Gulf stations at that time, you could get a cardboard cut out kit of the Lunar Lander. It was cool. It was fun. You learned and you had pride in your country.

After that, the catalogue then gets into 20th anniversary Star Wars sets. We have many Star Wars sets here at the house, but not all of them. Over the years, I think I have spent thousands on LEGO sets for the kids. Horses for daughter and Minecraft for son, Ningago sets and LEGO movie sets, LEGO City sets, the space shuttle, trucks, Bionicles, and on and on and on. By page 8 of the catalogue, you have the “hard to find” Death Star and equally impressive Millennium Falcon. It took us about 3 days to build the Death Star over the Christmas break; the Ewok Village was about a week. It was fun. At 7,541 pieces, the Millenium Falcon will take several days to build. It’s labeled as the largest LEGO set ever. We have yet to build it but will get to it some day. But then I noticed, I have a different Millenium Falcon kit and it only has 1329 pieces. Just as fun to build I’m sure, but there are obvious differences.

Of course, my son talked about learning chess at one time, so I was able to find him a LEGO Pirates chess set. As you can see, it is still in an unopened box. Got it on eBay. I don’t think they even make them anymore. And as I flip through the new catalogue, I see that we have new adventures courtesy of Toy Story 4. Cannot wait till we can build Forky!

Oh to be young again. In this case, I get to explore it with my kids all over again. And yes, the dog is so excited!