Moon Landing and Safe Return

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I discovered these mere days after the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing by the Apollo 11 Lunar Module (LM) and its crew.

Today is the 50th anniversary of their safe return to Earth. We are all grateful to be commemorating and celebrating both milestones.

Oreo brand, limited edition, Marshmallow Moon with three space themed designs in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 crew and the first men to land on the moon, and safely return, July 20, 1969. (c)2019

Moon Shot

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​In 1995 when we moved into our second apartment the moon always found its way to my pillow. It was most prominent in the winter, but it always managed to be there sometime through the nights of the full or nearly full moon.

The window faced northwest and because we were on the second floor we hadn’t put up curtains and the windows were always kept open.

I’d wake up in the middle of the night and feel the moonlight shining. I’d open my eyes and stare. I’d reach my hand out until it bathed in the light reaching out to me from space.

We’ve been in our house for twelve years. Our bedroom window still has no curtains, but it is smaller, about half the size or less of that first window. It faces southeast.

I can sometimes see the moon, but it doesn’t shine as prominently on this side. I try to reach out to it, but it is far away, almost never shining on my bedcover.

When it does, I reach out and touch the light. It is a rare occurence.

This photo was taken just a few weeks ago. I woke up and I was a bit shocked at how clear the moon looked. How bright it shone the through the window, touching my face. I squinted.

I knew the picture wouldn’t come out, but I took it anyway.

It was a memory.

It was a held hand.

It didn’t actually come out that badly.

My light. Moon light.

50-10 – The Men on the Moon

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This Day in History – 1969

Apollo 11 landed on the moon today in 1969.

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon with Michael Collins supporting their mission from the capsule.

My parents tell me I watched it on television, and I have vivid memories of visiting the Kennedy Space Center as a child. Space has always played an important role in my reading and television watching life from Star Trek to NASA to the Challenger to Pluto’s return as a planet with amazing photos.

Source: This Day in History – 1969

 

Originally posted one year ago today, I thought I would reshare it along with an additional anecdote that is part of my family’s lore. We all have those apochryphal stories that may be slightly embellished but it’s been so long that no one remembers where it came from or started.

My parents tell me that I watched the Moon Landing when it happened and despite being only two and a half years old, I was very much engaged in what was happenening on the television.

I have two uncles, both my father’s brothers; one named Neil and one named Buzzy. Upon hearing the astronauts’ names, I thought my uncles were the ones landing on the moon and pointed at the TV with as much excitement that a toddler can muster.

Another moon related family story is actually a piece of memorabilia that my grandfather had – a signed photo of the Apollo 13 astronauts with a flag that went with them on their misadvernturous trip to outer space. We still have this framed bit of history on my son’s wall, or at least that’s where it’s supposed to be. Photos at another time.

Somewhere in my assorted boxes, I have a doll-shaped, doll-sized, astronaut pillow from my family’s visit to the Kennedy Space Center. I loved that thing.

We also grew up near the Cradle of Aviation, Roosevelt Field. Long before the museum that is there now was there, there was a much smaller version, like old space equipment in an airplane hangar, warehouse-style that we took our class to. We played on the replica Apollo capsules and wandered around, learning about space exploration. It was a fabulous adventure.

A trip to the Smithsonian’s Air & Space Museum during their Star Trek exhibit in the early 90’s gave me the once in a lifetime chance to sit in the Captain’s Chair from the original series and use the transporter.

These are memories I will cherish and long before digital cameras, so I can’t readily access them to share with you. It does give me incentive to get into the basement and sort through some of those boxes, though.

Space Challenges and Challenger

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Earlier this week, I began reading Moon Shot. It is the story of the space program leading up to the Moon landings, written by Astronauts Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton with NBC Journalist Jay Barbree. It is an insightful memoir that blends their personal feelings and how it all looked from their perspective. They also include prominent moments from the Soviet’s side of the space race. One of the things I love about these kinds of history books is the feeling of right now. I know what happened in most of these missions – the fire that killed three astronauts aboard the Apollo 1 launch pad, the Apollo 11 Moon Landing, the Apollo 13 almost disaster that showed the mettle of NASA and its team, but I still feel that edge of my seat, suspense, will they or won’t they and that is probably the finest thing  history book can do. And it’s my own history; my timeline as it were.

I was born in 1966, right in the heart of America’s space exploration. There is a family story, in fact that describes my watching the first Moon landing of July 20, 1969. I was 2 1/2 and a very confused toddler. My father’s brothers are Uncle Neil and Uncle Buzzy and I wondered how they had gotten to the Moon when I heard that Neil and Buzz were the astronauts’ names. We just saw them!

I have long been a fan of space. From Star Trek and Lost in Space to Babylon 5 and Doctor Who. AS a child we visited Cape Canaveral, although I think y then it was the Kennedy Space Center. I remember wandering in the sunshine and pressing many simulator buttons. Somewhere in my house today is a moldy Astronaut shaped pillow that I refuse to part with. Any hints on getting rid of mold from fabric, feel free to message me.

As a teacher, we would walk our toddlers over to the Cradle of Aviation – a tiny museum that was housed in a hangar that had lunar capsules and cockpits.at the neighboring community college. Mitchel Field and Roosevelt Field used to be real fields and that is where Charles Lindbergh took off from in his Spirit of St. Louis. There is still a museum there, relatively new, bright with an IMAX theatre but there is also a shopping mall, showing the duality of history and “progress.”

I can always find Orion in the night sky and I’ve braved frigid temperatures to witness Lunar Eclipses and Perseid meteor showers.

Today is the twenty-eighth anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, which exploded 73 seconds into their flight, killing all seven crew members on board including the first teacher in space.

I was in college. 8am class, which I hated. Earth Science, I think it was. I recall people talking but I couldn’t quite piece the news together, only that there was news. This was before a cell phone in every pocket and a laptop in every lecture hall. I rushed back to my dorm where I had a black and white television set. We only got one station – ABC and there on the screen was tried and true Peter Jennings showing video from earlier and describing what happened in the opening seconds of the Challenger mission while I was falling asleep in class. It was quite a jolt. I had been following their mission, which included Christa McAuliffe, a New Hampshire teacher.

The liftoff was being shown live in countless schools across America, if not the world, for that very reason. I was studying to be a teacher as was my roommate. It was like we had a colleague on board.

We’ve slowed down a bit on our manned flights. A mistake in my opinion. We’ve landed rovers on Mars and seen farther than we’ve ever been able to before. It’s amazing to think about what’s still out there.