Forty years ago I was 11 years old and glued to the television for the better part of a week, with today being the really big day. School was out and as certain members of my family can attest, I was a certified NASA junkie.
There are plenty of photos around of this event, but this rather hazy one means the most to me: my dad had the foresight to grab his Argus 35mm rangefinder and snap a picture of our television as we watched Neil Armstrong and listened to Walter Cronkite make history. (And yes, I have that Argus sitting on a shelf.)
There are plenty of books out there that document the Apollo trips to the moon, but if you have more engineer than explorer in you I highly recommend that you read “Apollo” by Charles Murray and Catherine Bly Cox — it is, by far, the best book on how we got from here to there (let’s put it this way, unlike most other tellings of the story the astronauts are not the stars of this book).
When I worked for DEC back in the late 80′s, NASA was using the DECnet network and I had the opportunity to visit nearly every NASA center in the U.S. It was fascinating to see the various bits of history the space race left behind: test stands, unused rockets, full-scale models and test articles, control rooms that look more mechanical than electronic.
Today I’ll remember Tang, “Space Food Sticks”, ads by Gulf gasoline, switching between “the 3 channels”, NBC, CBS, and ABC to see who had the more intelligent commentary (and less hokey models and simulations), and playing with my carefully made Revell models of the Saturn V, LEM, and CSM, imagining what it was like to be up there, on the moon.