• A member of the original wondercafe, Punkins has passed away. There's a thread in the In Memoriam section

50 years since a human first set foot on a world other than Earth

Mendalla

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On Tuesday, it will be 50 years since the launch of Apollo 11, the first crewed expedition to the moon. More followed, and I remember those ones better. I was only 4 when 11 happened so don't really remember much. Of course, NASA has marked the anniversary by initiating a serious attempt to return humans to the moon, a bit of a course change since at one point they were going to head straight for Mars and skip a lunar return.

Yes, perhaps in retrospect it was primarily a Cold War nationalist publicity stunt and the money could have been used better in other ways. But the Apollo program did get some real science done, making real discoveries about both Moon and Earth with the samples and observations collected. And, perhaps more importantly, I and thousands or millions of other children and youth got excited about space, science, and technology. The goal may have been to promote America, but I think it promoted something more for my generation: A love of exploration and discovery.

I will probably have more to say as the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong's first step on the moon approaches and arrives. What do you remember about Apollo? How did it affect you?
 

Mendalla

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BTW, conspiracy theories about faked moon landings aren't welcome here. I won't respond to them save with the Ignore button. I wish the Mythbusters episode on the subject was legally freely available so I could link it here.
 

Redbaron

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I can remember watching Neil Armstrong walking, and his saying his famous quote. I can remember the splashdown return to earth on (I think) the 24th. I really don't remember the launch at all. I was 11.
To me it seemed to indicate that even the sky was not a limit. Remember that this was also the year (1969) that the Jets upset the Colts in the Super Bowl, and the Met surprised the Orioles in the World Series. In 1969, it seemed anything could, and would, happen.
Alas, from 1970, it seems to have been a return to business as usual....
:cool:
 

Luce NDs

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I was approaching 23 ... and our 1st anniversary while laying flat on my back in bed in the hospital after an emergency appendectomy!

I watched cautiously on a small TV over the bed!

My divorced parents thought the world would end because of curios endeavours in mysterious domains ... met aphorism?

Will it come around again as Einstein claimed abstract space would warp? ... the absolutes deny things coming back at yah ... they stand alone ...
 

Mendalla

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I was approaching 23 ... and our 1st anniversary while laying flat on my back in bed in the hospital after an emergency appendectomy!
Fun way to spend your anniversary ... NOT! I had mine out before we got married or even engaged. Guess I saved myself some grief later.:)

I honestly wish I could remember watching any of it but my only memory from that year, oddly given my later love of astronomy and space exploration, is kittens being born in our basement to a stray my uncle brought home (he lived with us until he got married). We kept one and she remained part of the family until 1989. I do recall some of the later Apollo missions, but have no clear memories of 11.
 

BetteTheRed

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I was almost 10 and remember it quite clearly, watching it on the little black and white television we had.

There was a very strong sense of pride in the achievements of Science. My Dad was a vociferous purchaser of "Time/Life" series of books. We felt like we were in the Information/Science Age.
 

Mendalla

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Speaking of lunar exporation, India is one of several countries engaged in uncrewed exploration of the moon right now, along with the US, European Union, Russia, and China. Even Israel is getting in on the action, though their first attempt at a landing failed recently. Alas, today India scrubbed the launch of Chandrayaan 2, their first attempt at a landing on the moon, due to unspecified technical issues.

 

Mendalla

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From the local rag or, more likely, Postmedia, their parent company:

 

You just never know

Blip, blip, blip....
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I remember two things from the summer of 69. One was watching Neil set foot on the moon and the other was being in a massive traffic jam on a summer holiday in New York state caused by the freeway being shut down by Woodstock. Looking back wonder if Neil on the moon or all the fabulous music I later enjoyed in the Woodstock movie was the bigger event.
 

Mendalla

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NASA's schedule of events for the anniversary. They will be replaying the landing and moonwalk coverage from 1969 on NASA TV, their streaming site.

 

Ritafee

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FOLLOW THE MONEY ...

Picture a billionaire who earned a fortune building the infrastructure for a booming California economy, searching for a legacy-making investment in technology to highlight his accomplishments. Or picture a science-fiction-loving engineer who tests his rockets through public-private partnerships with the US government and is obsessed with colonizing other planets to preserve the human species.

“It would cost a fortune to make a rocket to hit the moon,” Goddard mused in 1920. “But wouldn’t it be worth a fortune? The great pity is that I cannot commercialize my idea. If I could rant of a 100 percent return in forty-five days, I’d have been financed long ago.”

Yes, perhaps in retrospect it was primarily a Cold War nationalist publicity stunt and the money could have been used better in other ways.
  • With the end of global ideological conflict and the rise of interconnection, that kind of signaling isn’t as valuable as once it was, and NASA’s budgets are commensurately not as large.
In The Long Space Age, MacDonald gathers data about spending on space exploration to argue that private citizens, not the government, have been the key backers of American space exploration.

“The Apollo program is not seen as the classic model of American space exploration, but rather as an anomaly,” MacDonald concludes

“Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are really following their own intrinsic motivations; they want their own futures in space,”

“What’s different from them to [philanthropist] Andrew Carnegie or [Smithsonian director] Charles Abbot?"

The best mechanism for achieving their motivations is a corporation.

These guys are still in their forties. They intend to be in the game of trying to advance our activity in space for the rest of their lives.

WHAT'S A HEAVEN WORTH?

 

Luce NDs

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Financial returns are the only things some people reflect about ... causing single dimensional reactions!

Later loss of thoughts about alternate stuff ...
 
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