Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Apollo Moon Landing

At 13:32 UTC on July 16, 1969, the Saturn V rocket carrying Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins was launched from Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.  Four days later, these three men would find themselves orbiting the Moon.

(I wish this were my picture.  It comes from the NASA archives)

At 20:18 UTC on this day 47 years ago, Neil Armstrong emerged from the Lunar Module to become the first person to step on the moon.  He was joined shortly after by Buzz Aldrin (pictured above).  Almost 20 hours later, they would leave the lunar surface after collecting soil and rock samples.

I think it was pretty amazing that President Kennedy set a goal to land men on the moon and we achieved it within the end of the decade that he proposed it.  And then when you consider the tools that they had to work with in order to achieve this, it becomes even more amazing.  The components for the spacecraft were drawn on drafting tables and calculations were made using slide rules and rudimentary computers.  The funding was passed through a much more cooperative Congress.  I'm sure there were delays and setbacks but nothing that compares to the F-22 or F-35 programs.  And you also consider that a politician actually made a statement where he set the bar high because that forces us to do better.

Given the current political climate, I can't imagine any of the above happening these days.  Rather than looking for more ways to explore our world and the universe that surrounds it, we are talking about building a wall around our country.  Instead of further cooperation with the other citizens of this planet, we are talking about pulling back from the world.  When we should be shooting for the Moon or Beyond, we are barely shooting for making our country's infrastructure better.

I don't normally get political on this blog but times like this make me wish that we had better leadership.

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