Apollo 11: Lunar Landing July 20, 1969

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    Jul 20, 2013 1:07 PM GMT



    Today marks the 44th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. I was almost 5 years old on July 20, 1969, when Neil Armstrong made that giant leap for mankind by being the first human to set foot on the Moon. It's all very fuzzy in my brain's eye, but I think I can remember being called to the TV set to witness this event. I think I was a little bored with it...lol.

    If you think about all of the technical difficulties with the Space Shuttle program over the years, I think we were very lucky to have made it to the Moon and back. Amazingly, there are MILLIONS of people who believe that the Apollo missions were an elaborate hoax staged by President Nixon to distract the American public from Vietnam, and to bolster our position in the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

    There are scores of opinions on the conspiracy theory, and some are quite convincing. Many of them are based on the examination of photos taken during the Apollo missions, but there are a lot of other questions raised based on what we know (or think we know) about the laws of physics and our level of technology in 1969. Some of the arguments regarding the technical discrepancies are interesting... like how could the lunar module's 32K computer (hell, my iPad looks like HAL next to that!) have possibly been adequate? And if the Space Shuttle astronauts report that the radiation is so powerful that they can see it with their eyes closed (freaky!!!!) at only 400 miles from Earth, how did all of the Apollo astronauts survive a 240,000-mile trip to the moon?

    The most intriguing Apollo 11 legend revolves around extraterrestrial spacecrafts that approached the lunar module after it landed. As the story goes, somewhere in western Australia, HAM radio operators reportedly picked up a conversation between NASA and Neil Armstrong, in which he describes huge spaceships on the Moon, "watching us". This led to the rumor that the aliens had somehow warned us off the Moon, and that's why we never decided to build a permanent space station there. These lucky western Australians were also rumored to have been the recipients of an unedited satellite feed of the TV broadcast of the first moonwalk which depicted a Coke bottle on the moon's surface....lol. Sounds like the granddaddy of all Super Bowl commercials!!!!

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    Jul 20, 2013 2:17 PM GMT
    Quite an important day!
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    Jul 20, 2013 4:20 PM GMT
    On July 20, 1969 I had been in Army Basic Training for 2 weeks. I forget the exact US East Coast landing time, but sometime in the evening I think, maybe even quite late for us. Our Drill Sergeants marched us out of our barracks to a classroom/dayroom, where a single B&W TV sat on a wheeled floor stand, the furniture pushed to the walls.

    We crowded around, some sitting on the vinyl tile floor, some standing. I stood. I watched the flickering image, amazed like everyone of 2 things: first and foremost, that humans were walking on the moon, a dream my generation was raised on.

    And second, that we were watching it live from 240,000 miles away. It almost hurt my head to think about it, as guys around me kept whispering a simple "Wow!" in defiance of our Sergeants' orders to maintain complete silence.

    After about an hour we were marched back to barracks. I didn't see much other coverage about it, we were in virtual isolation during that early part of our training, no TV, radio or newspapers. Except we were later told the return to Earth and splashdown recovery were successful. I didn't see more images and commentary until some months later.
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    Jul 20, 2013 4:39 PM GMT
    I had little glue-together models of all the mission hardware. Even the USS Hornet! I moved them around my bedroom as the mission progressed. Except when there was something happening on the TV of course.

    "Wired" has posted some high-resolution scans from mission film this morning.

    BTW, if you haven't read Andy Chaikin's book "A Man on the Moon," it's well worth the read. It was the basis for the HBO miniseries that was made a few years later. Andy is probably the only person, ever, who actually sat and listened to all of the communications tapes.
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    Jul 20, 2013 5:22 PM GMT
    I remember watching it live on tv even though I was not quite 6 years old yet. My parents made my sister and I stay awake to watch Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon.

    Coincidentally, It was ten years ago today that I quit smoking.
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    Jul 20, 2013 6:56 PM GMT
    I have a vague memory of it. I was in elementary school and they had a TV set up inside this tiny little white chapel on the school grounds. They gathered us all inside and I remember how quiet all the kids were, which didn't happen very often.
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    Jul 20, 2013 7:17 PM GMT
    I remember that day well and it is a shame we haven't done more with our manned space program since then.
  • NJVetteGuy77

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    Jul 20, 2013 8:21 PM GMT
    Longest distance phone call ever made from the Oval Office by my favorite president!

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    Jul 21, 2013 12:35 AM GMT
    I was six and can still vividly recall watching it on my best friend's TV. His family had the first colour TV in the entire neighborhood so tons of neighbors dropped by to watch everything. My friend and I set up about 15 model WW2 warships in a mock battle while we endured the boring bits of the show.

    I can still vividly picture the ships on the harvest gold carpet about 2 feet from the TV!

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    Jul 21, 2013 12:49 AM GMT
    I was 10 years old. My dad had rented a Winnebago for our summer vacation. He had purchased a small portable black and white TV so that we would be able to watch the moon landing from the campground. We all huddled around it -- probably over plates of hotdogs and beans. My sister took a couple of pics of the TV screen with her Instamatic.

    I remember the frenzy of excitement that surrounded this event all across the U.S.A. -- and undoubtedly in other parts of the world as well.

    Re the conspiracy theories, I did see a documentary on The Science Channel (or Discovery, Nat Geo... one of those) where they refuted each in a list of claims of fakery. But hey, maybe they were part of the conspiracy too, eh? Anyway, the landing made for great TV. icon_smile.gif
  • Lincsbear

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    Jul 21, 2013 2:12 AM GMT
    One of the great days of history. We were so lucky to witness such an event.
    I watched the landing with the rest of my family on a cheap black and white television when I was nine. The BBC gave it extensive coverage. I was taken with the whole romantic adventure. It summed up all that was great about America in my mind: the courage, the technical advances, just the sheer imagination to send men to the Moon and back!
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    Jul 21, 2013 4:55 PM GMT
    Well, I wasn't born for another 23 and a half years, but I get goosebumps watching the video every time. I envy whoever watched it live.
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    Jul 21, 2013 6:02 PM GMT
    Unintended said
    NJVetteGuy77 saidLongest distance phone call ever made from the Oval Office by my favorite president!



    Why do you conservatives feel you need to politicize everything?


    Many of you lefties would never do such a thing, would you?
  • NJVetteGuy77

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    Jul 21, 2013 7:02 PM GMT
    Unintended said
    NJVetteGuy77 saidLongest distance phone call ever made from the Oval Office by my favorite president!



    Why do you conservatives feel you need to politicize everything?

    If I had really wanted to politicize it, I would have mentioned another news story from that weekend that was briefly 'eclipsed' by the moon landing coverage. It involved a car accident at Chappaquiddick that went unreported for at least eight hours and a senator from Massachusetts.
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    Jul 22, 2013 3:43 AM GMT
    I wish I had been alive for this. I still get chills watching this video and hope the USA revives its space program soon. RIP, Neil Armstrong.