Archive for the space exploration Category

Apollo 11’s 40th Anniversary

Posted in Apollo 11, Apollo missions, Entertainment, fun site, Moon, Science, space, space exploration with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 07/20/2009 by milkywayfarer

MOONING OVER APOLLO 11
40 YEARS AGO TODAY

By Susan Chandler Kelley
©2009; do not reprint without permission

This past week held many noteworthy events, both exciting and sad, that link together in my mind. Endeavor blasted off to return to the International Space Station. Walter Cronkite, America’s most trusted news anchor (and “the voice of the Apollo 11 mission,” at least to me) died at the age of 92. The 40th anniversary of the launch of the first mission to land humans on the moon occurred on 7/16. Today, July 20th, marks the 40th anniversary of the first humans to land on the moon. This article honors that astounding achievement.

astronaut

Hot summer night. July 20, 1969. A tiny town in south central Alabama. Outside the bedroom window, grasshoppers chirp and tree-frogs croak. Inside, blurry human shapes waver on the 16-inch B/W TV. Newsman Walter Cronkite (RIP), narrates the events unfolding on the little RCA as three men – Neil A. Armstrong, Commander; Michael Collins, Command Module pilot; Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin Jr., Lunar Module pilot – ‘shoot for the moon.’

I stare at the grainy image as Astronaut Neil Armstrong intones, “One small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.” The odd-looking space-suited Michelin-man plants the American flag on lunar regolith. As a 12-year-old girl, I don’t comprehend the full significance of Apollo 11. Yet still – the tiny hairs on my sun-freckled neck prickle as I watch a man walk on the moon.

480 full moons have waxed and waned since that hot, humid, historic night. Yet the memory still glows like moonbeams. As a geeky bookworm who loved watching Star Trek and reading sci-fi, even at that young age I always expected humans to walk on the moon. 480 full moons later, I can only wonder why we never got humans any further. Yet even that disappointment detracts not at all from that other-worldly vision 40 years ago. I can still see the screen of that minuscule TV, still hear the reception delay for the astronauts’ words, still feel the tummy-tingle of watching that moonwalk.

40 years ago today, moon-booted feet first crunched across lunar regolith, human hands first steered a bouncing moon buggy, human fingers first planted a US flag on other-worldly soil. Since that time, we have launched other manned moon missions and many mechanical explorers such as Voyager, Mariner and the irrepressible Martian rovers Spirit and Opportunity. All historic events. All laudable events. All tummy-tingling events.

However, one always remembers the first time most fondly. In remembrance of that space adventure, this human ventures into cyberspace, to moon-walk one more time…

http://www.panoramas.dk/moon/apollo-11.html – Offers panoramas stitched together from photos taken by Apollo 11 as well as all other Apollo missions.

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/apollo/index.html – 40th Anniversary Page – The Apollo Story and NASA’s future exploration plans. With images.

http://www.wmtw.com/apollo-11/index.html – ABC8 WMTW: Apollo facts and highlights, Apollo astronaut info and remembrances, past and future missions, video and images, moon myths, objects left behind, hoax conspiracies, etc.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/07/090715-moon-landing-apollo-facts.html – MOON LANDING FACTS: Apollo 11 at 40; text and images; for National Geographic News.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_11 – Wikipedia article on Apollo 11 mission: Crew, Nomenclature, Mission highlights, Spacecraft location, Mission insignia, 40th Anniversary events, images,
references

http://www.nasm.si.edu/events/pressroom/releaseDetail.cfm?releaseID=222 – National Air and Space Museum press release; NASM commemorates this defining moment in space exploration.

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