Saturday, July 18, 2009
Do you remember the Moon Landing?
Where were you, if alive?
I can remember growing up in the late 50s and all through the 60s and early 70s how very EXICITING it was to follow the space race. I don't think kids of today can realize what a thrill it was to watch the space program unfold. From watching dud rockets that exploded or barely got off the ground, to those early space flights where each one built on the next. We could remember the awful setbacks, such as the Apollo I fire, but also how exciting each lift off was. OFten times, we'd get to watch a launch in our classrooms. I can remember once bringing in my own little black and white[!] TV to the classroom, so we could watch one of the launches.
EVERYONE stopped EVERYTHING. And you watched. And held your breath. And you Cheered. And you were thrilled.
I can remember how after Neil and Buzz landed (while Collins orbited the moon) they managed to SLEEP some hours, before Neil took his first step out. What headiness.
And then all those moon landings came to an end before I was even out of high school. Going around and around the earth is just as dangerous - but it doesn't capture the public imagination as much for most people. Sad.
A decade after, I worked for General Dynamics in San Diego - and I can remember my boss telling me: "They could NEVER do it now for the same cost. Because there were MANY hundreds of engineers putting in free time on the space project, just for the glory of being associated with it. They'd put in their normal 8 hours, on doing perhaps, some defense related contract, then go help their buddies." By LAW they'd be forbidden from doing that now. It's not something most government bean counters would understand. You can't work on contracts that way anymore.
Now we don't even pay attention to shuttle launches -- unless one has a "major malfunction." *sigh*
I wonder, if you polled a bunch of US 10 year olds today -- could they name the members of the Apollo 11 crew?
[Incidently, please remember Mary Jo Kopechne in your prayers this weekend. It's also the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Ted Kennedy Scub Club.]