Tuesday, July 21, 2009

One small step

Today is the moon landing anniversary. I was fifteen when Neil Armstrong took his first step on the moon. It was a wonderful moment and I watched it on television with my family and some of our neighbours.

Oddly enough, though, the moment I remember as being the most emotional was when Apollo 8 was the first space craft to travel behind the moon and lose radio contact with Earth. While they were behind the moon they had to perform the manoeuvre that would bring them into a lunar orbit. It was a risky undertaking because if the burn was not precisely timed it could fling them off into space or send them crashing down onto the moon's surface. We were all hardly breathing as we watched the television screen for those ten anxious minutes. The relief when they reappeared on time was amazing. We felt like the whole world started to breathe again and we were part of that.

All these years on, that moment has been eclipsed in history by the moon landing itself, but for me it will always be the defining moment of space travel. No wonder I love science fiction.

7 COMMENTS:

Bevie said...

The pity is that we quit going. The dreams of biospheres and such never materialized. As regards space travel, we're falling behind the science fiction stories of the fifties and sixties, which were making fantastic predictions.

fairyhedgehog said...

I know! I really thought there would be moon bases by now and maybe even holidays on the moon.

Wolverine said...

I saw on the news that a space shuttle was launched. There was about ten or twenty chunks of something that fell off, but they kept going. I have a feeling this one is going to turn out bad. It was delayed about five times before. They were rushing the work because they wanted to beat Russia who is launching one in about a week or two.

fairyhedgehog said...

Oh dear. That doesn't sound like a good idea at all.

Robin S. said...

I miss the space travel idea as well - it does feel shelved - and I dn't think the funding OR the national will is there - not in the US.

Sarah Laurenson said...

I'm with you on the science fiction, though I lean more towards fantasy these days.

I'm not sure if I remember any of the moon stuff. Very odd since I've been a scince nut for a long time. Maybe I just took it in stride?

fairyhedgehog said...

Robin: it seems such a shame.

Sarah: I suppose it depends how old you were. I was 15 at the time of the moon landing.

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