Saturday, July 20, 2019

Moon Landing - 50 Years

Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin steps down the ladder to become the second man to walk on the moon. [Photo taken by Neil Armstrong]

The moment that Neil Armstrong spoke the words "one small step..." I knew that this would be one of those indelible moments you would always remember.  Just a few months earlier I had purchased my first color TV, however the fact that the images from the moon were grainy and black/white did not matter. Try to think of another time when the entire world witnessed history unfold real-time.

Walter Cronkite speechless
The Lunar Landing (CBS News)
Earlier that day I watched as mission control reported the nail-biting landing while a collective nation and world held its breath. Even veteran CBS newscaster, Walter Cronkite for several moments became speechless as Neil Armstrong's voice crackled from the speakers at NASA's Mission Control in Houston. He said simply, "The Eagle has landed." 

About ten years later I was at a friend's home in Palm Beach and after dinner, he asks would we like to see some slides from his vacation. I said please as he got out the old Kodak carousel  projector and I set up the screen in his den. Even the kids stop playing and came to watch. This was not a typical vacation slide show. Dr. Edgar Mitchell was showing us photos he took on the moon during Apollo 14. He was telling us points you would only hear from someone that was there. Like moon dust was everywhere and got into everything. Ed was a very interesting man. He passed in 2016 on the 45 anniversary of his lunar landing. 

For a while so many of life's imponderables and difficult project were punctuated with, "Well, we were able to send a man to the moon.." - A time when nothing seemed impossible. As we looked back on that momentous event of now 50 years ago, let's return to a time when everything seemed possible. 


The Tampa Bay Tribune in a recent article put some of the irony of what has transcribe since in prospective. "We went to the moon and discovered something about ourselves":

Of the estimated 109 billion humans who have ever lived across the tens of thousands of years — and most of them assuredly have gazed at the moon in wonder — only 12 have ever walked there. And none have done so in generations. Right now, the United States can’t even send astronauts into space on its own, relying for the time being on the Russians to transport them [astronauts] to the International Space Station.
...And if you need a reminder, peek at the moon, and remember how the moon missions taught us to look up. Neil Armstrong’s footprints could well outlast humankind itself and are a testament, as the lunar plaque says, that “We came in peace for all mankind.”


  1. It looks like we have an administration who believes in America and is willing to restore the funds and the mission that was eliminated by the prior administration which sought to use NASA for pro-Muslim outreach. It was a total perversion and a sad attempt to rewrite history for Obama to instruct NASA that its "highest priority" was to reach out to the Muslim world to make them feel good about their contributions to our space program. It was a huge anti-American insult by the President less than 10 years after 9-11.
    Lets see of Congress supports the President's desire to be back on the moon by 2024 and heading to Mars by 2030.
    I wonder if we would be able to communicate with each other the way we are now communicating if it were not for the advances in science and engineer that flowed from the space program.

    1. Pat, I did some research and found this:

      According to Reuters News Service July 12, 2010, that is not exactly what happened.

      “WASHINGTON (Reuters) - White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said on Monday that NASA administrator Charles Bolden was wrong to say that reaching out to the Muslim world was a top priority of the U.S. space agency.”

      “The White House last week sought to clarify Bolden’s comment, saying Obama wanted NASA to engage with the world’s best scientists and engineers from countries like Russia and Japan, Israel and many Muslim-majority countries.”

      Gibbs said: "I don’t think that is his task [reaching out to the Muslim], and that’s not the task of NASA”


      Also Politifact had this: That said, Bolden acknowledged to PolitiFact that he mischaracterized the agency's main mission in the remark about Obama charging him to do three things.


      Although I could not agree more with what you said - "Lets see of Congress supports the President's desire to be back on the moon by 2024 and heading to Mars by 2030."

  2. I fully expected permanent habitats on the Moon , and Mars, by this point in history , as well as manned missions to the outer planets .

    Admittedly , NASA still does a fantastic job with it's robotic probes , but without the human factor , it's missing something .