Where were you when man first landed and walked on the moon?
Me? I was in a car, as my family rushed home from a summer vacation (in Quebec, mostly), so we could get home in time to see it.
We were on the north side of Poughkeepsie (my home town) when the landing happened, and we heard it on the radio. But we got home and in front of the TV just as Neil Armstrong took his famous giant step.
The trip and the lateness of the hour proved too much, and as events developed during the first moon landing, I fell asleep in front of the TV.
(Twenty-five years later, a cable network ran some "real-time" coverage, repeating the original video in the exact same time frame. And the exact same thing happened---I fell asleep.)
I had just celebrated my 2nd birthday the week before, so I was probably too busy working on my "terrible two's" temper tantrums to watch moon landings.
But I do remember watching one of the last Apollo launches (16? 17?). We were playing in the neighbour's swimming pool and they called us to come in and watch the launch. I was so excited, I got dressed quickly and ran in the house. As I was lying on the floor watching the TV, everyone started laughing. Apparently in my haste to get changed, I had put on my pants backwards.
(Well, I did figure that a lot of you were (1) too young to remember, or (2) too young to even have been around then. You can catch the next time men walk on the moon, though.)
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I remember standing in a lab in the University of Utah Engineering Building watching with a bunch of engineering grads and profs (I was a lowly high school student there for a special "get-girls-interested-in-engineering" program).
I also remember praying the LEM down to the surface for the actual landing, but that must have been the night before the engineering lab (so the actual First Walk must have happened while I was at home).
Wait you believe we actually landed on the moon?
Haha just kidding. Seriously though I didn't exist yet. My dad was on his mission at the time (he's sitting next to me on his own computer so I asked him). He didn't have a TV, but apparently the French folks were coming outside and talking about it.
It's interesting that Armstrong has been the quietest astronaut of them all. I imagine someone could get sick of the publicity, but it's not like he's a recognizable public figure nowadays. I've never understood why he turned his back on NASA. Yes, he did a little gig for them back in '89, but that was it as far as I know.
Snapper, you've been watching From the Earth to the Moon, haven't you?
I really wonder what the future holds for us. For example, I consider the increasingly litigious nature of society and the enormous cost of space exploration. I fear the gung-ho heroic adventures of the past are no longer possible in our current social climate: Even the Wright Brothers would probably be taken away and incarcerated in today's society.
Another part of the problem might be hinted at by the stupendous increase in popularity of reality TV: instant fast money and fame have captured the public's imagination - if one has to work until their late 30's for fame it's a waste of time. Aldrin, Armstrong & Collins put in years of personal sacrifice for their place in the history books, and the number of unsung contributors to their success is staggering. It is that altruism that I find both so inspiring and, when compared to contemporary values, so disheartening.
I liked Scott Gammans' response to Larry Niven's post on this exact subject:
"We got the Moon, Mr. Niven. The problem is, we didn't ask for something big enough."
Food for thought.
And on topic - I was just a twinkle in my parent's eyes.
quote:Did Armstrong turn his back on NASA? Or did he do a job then move on with his life? I wouldn't want to be reminded of a single past event, however spectacular, every single day for decades.
I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Armstrong. I considered him one of my heroes when I was a boy, and my respect for him has only increased with time. However, when given the opportunity to be an advocate for the space program or to participate in documentaries or special events, he has typically declined. I can understand his not caring about the label of "first man on the moon"; that particular label is somewhat insignificant in the light that he was one of very few to have ever stepped onto the moon. But I believe his unwillingness to be associated with the space program has been a little damaging to NASA. I understand he is shy, but he was able to ham it up some for the ticker-tape parades immediately afterwards and the commercials back in the 80's.
I know I sound petty. Afterall, he does show up for big anniversaries, but I feel he could have used his notoriety to promote the space program better. I still respect him, but I wish he would have been a little more visible and willing to help during the difficult times.
We watched the moon landing on one of the two TV channels available to us in Panama at the time. Later I took a bus to see a friend of mine. On the bus several Panamanians asked me if it was true, was there really a man on the moon? It seems such a simple memory, but it was a moment of real sharing that crossed political boundaries. Yes, there IS a man on the moon, I replied, not just an American, right now he represents us all.
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I actually admire Armstrong for that. For having a lot of humility and not thinking of himself as better than the regular people. A celebrity who rose out of merit and then declined to stay in the spotlight because he considers himself lucky to have been chosen to walk on the moon when, in his eyes, several equally qualified candidates were out there. Also he's acknowledged the important roles of the NASA teams and engineers who contributed who didn't get the kind of attention he thought they deserved.
Buzz on the other hand has been more than happy to absord all the attention he can get. I don't blame him, but I admire Armstrong more.
tl:dr. Penny-ante space exploration is a pointless waste of money.
It's interesting to note that there have been no major breakthroughs in the space program since '69. Sure we have the probes and some pretty pictures, but aside from that nobody's even trying any more.
I was thinking about it a bit, and I decided that the reason is that aside from satellites directly around earth, space has no practical value other than as a photo op. You get this big controversy about whether the moon landing was real or was taped in some studio somewhere, but when you get right down to it, does it really matter? Nothing came from the moon landing but a few alien rocks and soil samples that have next to no use other than as souvenirs.
Unless we take the next major step and undertake a centuries-long trip to another system, or attempt the massive (and likely futile) project of terraforming venus or mars, there's really just no point to it.
quote:It's interesting to note that there have been no major breakthroughs in the space program since '69. Sure we have the probes and some pretty pictures, but aside from that nobody's even trying any more.
People talk about the space program as this black hole of money, it goes in and nothing comes out. But most of that money is spent by America and invested in American industry and providing American jobs. Maybe it's a good investment and maybe it's not, I don't know. But an awful lot of technology has come from it, not to mention a better understanding of physics.
And let's not forget the fascination with space that captured the imagination of yesterday's generation gave birth to the science fiction genre that some of us aspire to be published in some day.
It could also be argued that without space related technologies we're allowing for the inevitable destruction of the human race in a few billion years.
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There might be some point to space exploration if it can provide us with valuable resources at relative low cost--lunar mining, asteroid mining, comet harvesting, gas giant harvesting--who knows what treasures may be out there in our solar system?
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My idea is to get some lightweight reflective surface, perhaps produce it on the moon so it requires less escape velocity to get it out into space, and use it to completely encircle the sun, or at least a large area convenient to earth. We could harvest that solar energy to solve all our current, future, and wild and wacky energy needs.
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It is my understanding that the technology to harvest solar energy via the moon already exists, and it would solve all of our energy problems, but first there are the political, financial, etc., issues that need to be resolved. So I'm not holding my breath that it would happen any time soon . . . .
As for where I was: I watched the moon landing with my mother on a black and white television in our family room. We didn't have a color television: my father didn't think the technology was good enough and refused to buy one. Funny, though--the minute I left home, several years later, he bought one. (It could have been worse. When my friend left home, her parents bought a dishwasher.)
quote:I was thinking about it a bit, and I decided that the reason is that aside from satellites directly around earth, space has no practical value other than as a photo op.
Natej11, I want to say one word to you. Just one word.
Actually, there are many words (over 6300) I could say to you. Some of them NASA was directly responsible for and others were biproducts of the space program. Here are just some of them:
microprocessors/the microchip global telecommunication systems (satellite TV, satellite radio, cell phones) medical imaging devices (NASA improved these) advanced medical technologies (improved pacemakers, vision screeners, ear thermometers, etc) fire resistant fabric (firefighter suits, bed materials, and clothing) sunglasses with UV protection engineering design programs cordless power tools thermal clothing shock absorbing helmets video games and controllers water filters (improved performance) scratch resistant lenses memory foam (used in seat cusions and beds) shoe insoles (especially for athletic use) smoke detectors (improved design) insulation (improved) etc.
As I said, NASA didn't invent all of these, but the space program largely contributed to their development.
I was 10, and I remember my parents letting me stay up late so I could watch the EVA live.
Now it makes me quite angry to see/hear "moon hoax believers" try to contend that it never happened. I see on the "Bad Astronomy" blog that these morons won't even accept new photos from the LRO that actually show the descent stages of several of the Apollo mission landers sitting on the lunar surface as proof. Sheesh...
tl:dr. You're assuming there's a connection between space and technology when there's only a corollation. We were at war with Russia, in an arms race. Scientists were working hard with nearly unlimited funds to solve this. If we had made it their patriotic duty to develop the technologies without space as the objective, they still would have been developed.
The space race was essentially an arms race, and patriotic scientists were working with near unlimited resources to prevent, as they saw it, the end of the world. Their focus: get a man to the moon before Russia.
But if instead of saying "lets build big controlled bombs and put someone in them and send them to the moon for a sightseeing tour", they had said "let's only go into space enough to understand the measures it will take to survive the harsh conditions and use the billions and billions of dollars we're getting to develop technologies to make life sustainable, and use satellite technology for civilian and military purposes," The results would have been nearly the same. That, and without the several tragedies and the expense of dozens of manned sightseeing tours.
Don't get me wrong, the thought of space fills my eyes with stars and I'm an enormous sucker for sci-fi, but that doesn't change the fact that the space program has been, past a certain point, a huge waste of money.
Edit: but better it than, say, the war in Iraq. Or massive government bailouts to huge banks.
[This message has been edited by Natej11 (edited July 22, 2009).]
So ... you're saying that had these scientists not been actively discovering these technologies they still would have discovered them anyway just because they're scientists. To me that's like saying, had Columbus explored Africa he still would have found the Americas. He was an explorer after all!
If you're not working on developing the Hubble telescope you're not going to acquire that kind of technology or anything peripherally related to it because you're making no steps in that direction. No matter how many bombs we make, we don't get better telescopes.
quote:My idea is to get some lightweight reflective surface, perhaps produce it on the moon so it requires less escape velocity to get it out into space, and use it to completely encircle the sun...
A Dyson Sphere? My guess is that there isn't enough known matter in the universe to make one.
There's a good possibility that the "moon hoax" believers think it was all just special effects. The problem is that I don't think the special effects were good enough back then. After all, George Lucas didn't invent a good portion of them until at least five years later.
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Comparing the space race to an arms race is like comparing football to a battle, sure there are comparisons but you miss the point. When the Russians beat us with Yuri Gregarin (sp?) we still had New York city. When we beat them with Apollo, Moscow wasn't scratched. We get the same technological advances as we do from war but we don't have to kill people. And the advances are better because they have more of a chance to help people. And plus the space program is humanity's only chance of progressing past the wall of overpopulation. Just imagine when we can colonize Venus, or Titan. (Everyone says Mars, but they wouldn't if they knew what a nightmare it was, something really bad happened there, something worse than Earth has ever known. Makes the Permian seem like a burp)
As to the original question, I watched the first moon landing as a spirit on the volcano of Mars. Best seat in the solar system.
On F/X and faking the moon landing...there's some "enhanced restored video" circulating, that improves what you see. In the clips I saw, the sky was darker, and in several shots you could see it was Armstrong and Aldrin right through their visors.
(They were saying they located the original videotapes a while ago---the images you usually see were bounced from Australia to Mission Control, and then rebroadcast essentially by pointing a camera at a monitor---but, apparently, it didn't pan out and the originals are still lost, believed to have been taped over.)
Let's not forget the incredible incentive USSR would have had to discredit us, if such arguments had a leg to stand on. But they didn't then and they don't now. Moon deniers are like 9/11 "truthers". Nth degree Morons.
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I think our greatest hope for space travel lies in China. Those Commies want the moon. They need the moon cause they're overpopulated, and if we don't go there the moon will be red.
That argument probably would have worked with Bush.
My bet is that the next space race will be with the Chinese. Did you see their Olympics? China is not afraid to spend money. They have the resources, the will to extend them, and the motivation to use them.
Oh, to the origional question, I wasn't born yet. My mom was still only thirteen. And not a Commie.
Sorry to show my ignorance, but who would be considered a 9/11 truther? Or by what critieria would you label someone a 9/11 truther. I have never heard this term before.
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Zero I'm officially declaring you my arch-enemy!
I don't want to get into 9/11 truth, but honestly look at the "truther's" arguments in comparison with those who espouse the "official" story. On one side you get reasoned debate and responsible scientific process, and on the other you get personal attacks and questions about their patriotism.
Not to say I don't love you personally, but from this day forth VICTORY SHALL BE MINE!.
Space is our one and only hope to prevent our ultimate extinction. And if we continue long enough to have to contend with a cold universe, by that time we will most likely have some kind of solution to that as well.
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I think "9/11 truthers" refers to people who have theories about what really happened on September 11th (ex: the towers could not have collapsed like that unless there were already explosives placed at strategic points in the buildings).
Sort of like the JFK assassination conspiracy theorists, and no matter how well they argue, many people tend to have a hard time believing them because conspiracy theories just aren't generally considered to be very believable.
I think conspiracy theories are a little like a belief in magic - if we can't explain something unusual due to lack of information it's only human to form own theory in its place. And in secular society, what easier explanation might the poor, uneducated and disenfranchised find than the belief that all evil is the work of their powerful masters: The government and the rich?
I've moved on from the moon, JFK and 9/11 conspiracies; my favourite conspiracy of the moment is The Rainbow Conspiracy! ;)
Priceless! The rainbow conspiracy lady is the best!
You see, you don't need all that book learning to know when sumtin ain't rite. She didn't need to know all that new math and sigh-ance classes to know that rainbows comin outta a sprinkle isn't natural.