Posts Tagged ‘Moon’

For Folks Under Age 45, Moon Walking is Something You Read About in a History Book

January 31, 2014
AStronaut Buzz Aldrin walking on the Moon.  (NASA Photo)

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin walking on the Moon. (NASA Photo)

I just read a story in the Richmond-Times Dispatch about the Smithsonian’s new $79 million dollar conservation hanger at the National Air and Space Museum at Dulles International Airport,  where among its many artifacts that are being prepared for conservation are Apollo-era spacesuits.  Those spacesuits are now 40 and 50 years old. They are fragile, brittle and deteriorating.  Conservators are working on ways to slow the decay.

It made me reflect on the fact that the incredible act of putting a man on the  Moon is a historic event.  America put 12 men on the Moon between 1969 and 1972, and then stopped.  No man has set foot on Earth’s natural satellite since December, 1972.

China, the 3rd country to successfully conduct a soft moon landing – the U.S. and the former Soviet Union being the first two –  safely landed a robot called Jade Rabbit on the moon in December and it has sent back scientific information, but it has suffered a mechanical problem and could stop working.  The robotic rover was named Jade Rabbit after the Chinese mythical rabbit that was said to have lived on the moon.

How well I remember that first Moon landing in 1969.  I was working at WIS-TV in Columbia, South Carolina. My son Rick, a small boy at the time,  and my late wife Judy, and I could look out our den window and see the bright full Moon as we watched the lunar landing on TV.  We had just bought our first color set to see it in color. It was telecast in black and white.  Still, we then had a color TV to enjoy for many years.

Rick was ten years old at the time, so he can remember the event, so it’s not just history to him.  But, it is just history for anyone over 45-years-old.

Will any country put a man on the Moon in the future?  It’s possible, but with sophisticated robots to give us scientific information about it, why spend all that money and risk human life?  Space exploration continues, but it’s a robot’s game.  Who would want to spend the 150 to 300 days in a small space ship it would take to get to Mars?  That’s what it has taken for the different spacecraft that have made the trip over the last 50 years.

The Columbus Connection to the First and Last Moon Shots

February 16, 2010


 Georgia state legislator and retired Columbus lawyer, Milton Jones, a friend of mine, was reminded by my post on my visit to the Kennedy Space Center for the launch of Apollo 17 in 1972, that he and his family went down for the Apollo 11 launch.  Here is what he emailed to me.

Apollo 11 liftoff, July 16, 1969, Kennedy Space Center, FL (NASA photo)

Enjoyed your article on the Apollo 17 space shot.

It’s interesting that you went to the last “man to the moon” mission.  Two other couples and Jeanette and I carried our 11 children to Apollo 11 in July of 1969.  That was the mission, of course, which first landed men on the moon.  Jack Brinkley was in Congress then, and he and I were (and still are) close friends.  He got us passes to the VIP viewing area.  It was one of those experiences you will never forget, as I am sure is also true with you.  I could not get over the noise, which really surpassed noise it was so loud, and more of a roaring all encompassing vibration.

Lunar Module Commander Neil Armstrong, first man on the moon, is shown working outside the LM (NASA photo)

Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the moon, stepping onto the lunar surface (NASA photo)

Our kids are now adults, but they tell their children about watching man go to the moon.  I hate it that it appears that manned space flight is on the way out.  I believe in too many ways we are going backwards in our country and civilization.  A lot of wonderful progress in a lot of ways, but some retrograde, too, and in other very important ways.

Oh, well, just another example of my old man grousing.