Tuesday, July 20, 2004

a memorable day ....

today is the 35th anniversary of the first landing on the moon by Neil Armstrong and Edwun 'Buzz' Aldrin, who, along with Michael Collins formed the crew of Apollo 11. The mission was launched on July 16, 1969 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Neil Armstrong's words echoed through the world after he landed on the moon:
That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.
The Saturn V rocket that took the astronauts to the moon was developed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, right across the street from where I work. In fact, there is a giant Saturn V standing at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, located right outside NASA Marshall - today is its glory day ... a proud one for Wernher Von Braun, who was director of NASA Marshall during those years, and one of the pioneers of rocket science.

The moon landing has always been a source of fascination for us - Herge wrote about Tintin's visit to the moon in Explorers on the Moon - more than a decade before there was a moon expedition - a rivetting adventure story and some pretty scientifically accurate stuff. And of course, there are those who believe its the biggest hoax of them all:
If you believed they put a man on the moon, man on the moon.
If you believe there's nothing up my sleeve, then nothing is cool.
- R.E.M (Man on the moon - from Automatic for the People)
Apollo 13 became famous because of the failure to make it to the moon, but the successful return of the astronauts - its one thing to have your car break down in the middle of nowhere, but a totally different thing for your rocket to break down two-thirds of the way to the moon! Houston, we've had a problem has been frequently misquoted as Houston, we have a problem. The movie was a great effort IMHO, and the IMAX version was cool too - it was awesome watchign the lauch on IMAX. As NASA renews its vision to resume human space exploration, one cannot help but remember Tom Hanks' (as Jim Lovell) final dialogue from Apollo 13
I look up at the moon, and wonder: When will we be going back? And who will that be?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Aditya for this informative piece.
- Niket