Many moons ago... July 19, 2019 10:15 AM   Subscribe

As another week draws to a close, let's talk about something unrelated to politics, all in the spirit of Fizz, who is taking a break. Inquiring minds want to know... What significance did/does the Apollo 11 mission have for you? Do you remember it, or was it all dusty ancient history to you? Did you want to be an astronaut when you grew up? Anyone in your circle think the moon landing was a hoax? This post invites you to ruminate on whatever thoughts the moon landing raises for you, without invoking politics. Inside, you'll find links to recent pertinent FPPs. As always, be kind to yourself and your fellow MeFites!

Recently there's been a number of interesting FPPs marking the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 spaceflight and lunar landing. Looking behind the scenes, scalefree lauded the mission's unsung heros, the engineers who solved the myriad challenges inherent in the successful voyage and return. That work, as backseatpilot reminds us, relied on computers with processing power we consider trivial today. On the lighter side, thursdaystoo launched a discussion about songs celebrating the moon. Thinking ahead, doctornemo reminded us of the many other important space missions currently underway.
posted by carmicha to MetaFilter-Related at 10:15 AM (71 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

The 2019 PBS documentary 'Chasing the Moon' is really well done--worth checking out, if you're into that kind of thing.
posted by box at 10:52 AM on July 19 [4 favorites]


I was born just a few months after Apollo 11, in December 1969. I obviously don't remember any of the landings but I have vague memories of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project as it was happening.

These missions were huge for me. I think growing up in the time I did everyone was still talking about them, they were still very fresh. Revell had a bunch of plastic models of the LEM and Command Module that I coveted but never actually acquired. To this day I am fascinated by to the point where one of my dream Jeopardy! catagories would be Apollo Missions. I have a favorite Apollo astronaut (Pete Conrad, followed closely by Alan Bean) and a favorite missions (17) and have absorbed far too much material on these missions.

11 in fact, other than the fact that it was first, wasn't even a very interesting mission. They walked on the Moon for about three hours. THREE HOURS! I was disappointed when I once drove from LA to Joshua Tree NP and only had three hours to walk around.

I'm interested in all space missions but something about Apollo I really love. I feel like it took all we had and we did just enough to get to the Moon and back. There's nothing fancy about those space ships. Hell, they didn't even have beds in them for the extended missions, just some hammock-like things they stretched across the interior of the LEM.

I've been to the space center in Florida a couple of times. They have the suit Alan Shepard wore when he hit the golf balls during Apollo 14. Amazing to stand in front of it and think that suit was on the freakin' moon.

I won't answer the question about Moon landing hoaxes. It enrages me when news outlets and such give any time at all to conspiracy theorists. In a country where three people who knew about a blowjob almost brought down a presidency there's no possibly way something on the scale of Apollo could have been faked. In fact probably the only thing more difficult than actually getting to the Moon in 1969 would be faking it for 50 years.

I really don't think there are too many practical reasons to go back to the Moon, at least not yet, but I really do want to go back (and to Mars) soon because I just... think it's cool. I want to see boots on the ground again. I want to see new technology and new landers and new rovers. I want women and people of color to get a chance to go. I want live HDTV video that I can watch when I should be working.

I still look up at the Moon whenever I see it and just... wonder.
posted by bondcliff at 11:00 AM on July 19 [9 favorites]


I listened to the lunar landing while sitting in the back seat of a blue Cadillac ragtop, having just left a lake and heading home. The Cadillac belonged to my brother-in-laws mother, she had five children and no support from her ex, she worked really hard as a waitress, and she was one of those waitresses that always had people waiting to sit in her station, she had this really good smile that made it all the way into her eyes -- she radiated a good heart. People love to be around people who make them happy, so Nita made a decent living, though not an easy one

We knew it to be An Important Historical Event as we listened. Rapt, that's the correct word to describe how we listened. It was a really pretty day, Illinois summer, we were all pretty charred and tired from hours in the sun and the water, top down. We held with it, it was a thing where we were looking one another in the eyes, knowing the importance of what was happening, glad to be able to listen to it live, which alone seemed pretty damned miraculous.

It was one of those "flash-bulb" experiences in my life -- where was I when I heard that JFK was shot? Where was I when I heard about the riots in Detroit, and in Watts? Where was I when I heard about MLK getting shot, RFK being shot? John Lennon, that "flash-bulb" flashed brighter I think than any others other than JFK. Years later, 9/11 sure was a smack in the mouth, jangled me, jarred me, jangled and jarred everyone else, too, another huge Important Historical Event. In my fathers life, only Pearl Harbor carried a weight as large as 9/11.

All of those engineers came together answering a call from JFK, who people believed in and loved as no other president in my lifetime. Had JKF not gotten pasted, no telling what all else he may have achieved, or at least set in motion.

Anyways, that was where I was. It was A Big Deal, even for a 14 year old kid, though fact is that it was A Big Deal for everyone in that car. Rapt.
posted by dancestoblue at 11:10 AM on July 19 [14 favorites]


I had just turned six and I remember being allowed to stay up late that night to watch the landing on tv. We lived upstairs in a duplex and the family downstairs came up to watch with us in our living room. I really don’t remember much about the actual footage—what I “think” I recall is probably seeing various clips over the years.

In fall I started first grade. Our teacher told us that the moon landing footage was faked using puppets. My parents were livid.
posted by bookmammal at 11:12 AM on July 19 [5 favorites]


I had just turned four years old.

Our neighbors/friends came over to watch the landing with us, on our television. I remember the atmosphere of excitement. I remember knowing it was important. I even have a couple of vague visual memories of the scene in our living room.

What I don't remember is the landing itself, not visually. Not from that moment, although I have seen it many times since. But that doesn't mean it's not an important and treasured memory.

I was destined to be a geek anyway, but the cemented it. I was going to go to space some day. O r maybe build the rockets to get other people there. I didn't do either of those, but I have maintained a lifelong fascination with all things related to space travel.
posted by Tabitha Someday at 11:32 AM on July 19


I will always love the Kubrick filmed a fake moon landing conspiracy because it's just plausible enough even though it's been debunked. But how else can you explain the candlelit mastery of Barry Lyndon?!?!
posted by kendrak at 11:38 AM on July 19 [4 favorites]


I wasn’t born until after the moon landing. The first space mission I really remember is the Challenger, which... yeah. I did want to be an astronaut for a bit even after that, but in the vague way that kids do - yeah I want to do that but I gotta go climb a tree and read a book now.

It’s sad to me that we’ve never been back to the Moon. Like, there’s got to be a ton we could learn from that. I have a few friends who are really invested in getting us to Mars, including one who was part of the Mars HI SEAS group, and while I am super excited at the prospect of this I kind of think we should get better at going to the Moon first given how much closer it is and that it wouldn’t have to be a one-way trip.

When I was still working my travel job, I got to go to the Air and Space museum in DC once and see all the suits and touch the rock from the Moon! Then I went and washed my hands a lot because everyone wants to touch the rock from the Moon, which means it’s covered with germs.
posted by bile and syntax at 11:53 AM on July 19 [1 favorite]


Alas, this was before my time. My earliest space exploration memories were of watching the Space Shuttle Enterprise test flights.

Funny thing, the Woodstock Music Festival happened only a few weeks later, August 15–18, 1969
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:04 PM on July 19


I was two-and-change for Apollo 11, so I can't say that I remember it (although my parents have told me we watched it all on TV as a family). The earliest TV-related spaceflight memories I have are of watching Apollo-Soyuz. I wanted to be an astronaut as long as I can remember, from at least my first experience with Star Trek around 1973.

I grew up in southern Maryland, about 20 miles from Goddard Space Flight Center. When I was in elementary school, our school got a visit from several scientists from GSFC and I was lucky enough to be one of the kids picked to sit in the audience. I got to hear all about the Pioneer 10 and 11 missions and was giving a real official Pioneer 11 press kit which included a lot of amazing pictures FROM SPACE of the Jupiter fly-by. That packet of photos was a prized possession well into my 20s, when it was destroyed in a water leak.

A family friend worked for an aerospace contractor and was able to get me a small model, sealed in acrylic like a paperweight, of the Spacelab module developed for the Space Shuttle. I think that's still at my mom's house somewhere.

Yeah, space was important to me as a kid. Still is.
posted by hanov3r at 12:11 PM on July 19 [1 favorite]


I wasn't born until 1970 so I don't have any memory of the moon landing. I don't really remember any of the other moon trips, either. I started paying attention when the shuttle was flying, and clearly remember where I was when we heard about Challenger.

I've been a space nerd for a long, long time. I've watched every space documentary, every movie, love the Hubble telescope, love the Mars rover; all of it. My family has been to Kennedy Space Center a couple of times, the only part of the National Museum of the USAF that I cannot miss is the space gallery. So imagine my delight when, on the first day of my new job (just this past March) I learned that the museum was going to the be last stop on the Smithsonian's traveling Columbia command module tour. THE ACTUAL COLUMBIA. And we're showing Apollo 11 in our OmniMax theater. AND we have a brand-spanking-new Space Exploration Gallery with a replica of Neil Armstrong's space suit but his ACTUAL "Snoopy cap," the inflight jacket he wore on the mission, AND a moon rock that he collected and which NASA presented to him, Bok!!

I walk through the Space Exploration Gallery every day and I get a little thrill if I manage to hear Kennedy say, "We choose to do those things...not because they are easy, but because they are hard." I really, really hope we can get back to being a country that does difficult things despite the difficulty.
posted by cooker girl at 12:11 PM on July 19 [4 favorites]


OH! I almost forgot - I was also EXTREMELY influenced as a kid by the TV movie Stowaway to the Moon, about an 11-year-old who (like it says on the tin) stows away aboard a moon mission. I don't think I've watched it in almost 40 years (I know I caught a couple of reruns after the first airing in 1975), but I can still remember watching that poor cold kid huddling in the LM for the flight home. I'm glad to have found it on YouTube - might have to make my kids watch it.
posted by hanov3r at 12:17 PM on July 19 [2 favorites]


I was a month shy of my 6th birthday. I had watched the launch, but being a little kid, I did not get why they didn't land on the moon right then. I can remember being a bit annoyed and checking the TV all weekend to see if they had landed yet. When they did finally leave the LEM and step onto the surface, it was late on that Sunday night and my parents woke me up so I could watch it from the tiny portable B&W TV in their bedroom. What I mainly remember is the graphic on the TV that kept flashing "MAN ON MOON", because it was easier to see than the shadowy image of Neil Armstrong. I certainly did not grasp the overall significance of the event until I was much older. But I was a space kid from then on, watching every mission, right up until we stopped after Apollo-Soyuz.
posted by briank at 12:18 PM on July 19 [2 favorites]


Anyone in your circle think the moon landing was a hoax?

My mother-in-law, but this is the only conspiracy/hoax she believes (as far as I know). It's kind of weird, and it's a family joke now. We say it's because she from Missouri, the show-me state.

This was before my time. My space-related memories are of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, and the return of Halley's Comet, both in 1986. Neither made much of a lasting impression on me, other than I have memories of them occurring in my youth. I recall the Challenger explosion from my kindergarten year, but I didn't recall that Halley's Comet flew by only a month later.

My strongest memories/ association with space-related things now are the early 1980s space Lego sets. I recently opened a bin of Legos from my childhood, and found three instruction sets: one from 1991, 1989, and 1984. I don't know why, but I love the oldest, Benny-type style the most. Growing up, I was all about the castle sets, then pirates, but somehow, decades later, I find myself craving the crater plates, which we never had growing up.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:21 PM on July 19 [2 favorites]


I recently found out that my dad worked on the moon lander in some capacity when he was at Grumman back in the day. He has a certificate stating as much that he is getting framed and sending to me. So cool!
posted by grumpybear69 at 12:40 PM on July 19 [6 favorites]


I am a child of NASA; my father helped open the Goddard Space Flight Center, where he, my brother and I worked for many years. Goddard is important during manned missions (although unmanned are its specialty) as it backs up a lot of the tracking, telemetry and telecommunications performed by JSC in Houston. Therefore he had to stick around during Apollo 11; it wasn't until afterwards that we could take our family trip. Every summer Dad drove us somewhere for his vacation, in the station wagon (although that vehicle had just been replaced with his first van, a Ford). This year we were going south, all the way to Florida, to visit the Cape, among other things. The Vehicle Assembly Building was quite impressive; they were already preparing for Apollo 12.

But as for the moon landing the month before, at that time I was a lucky Boy Scout engaged in my second ten-day tour, backpacking in the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. July 20th had been a particularly bad day, as it was raining hard all day. (I recollect trudging up dirt roads with muddy water flowing down them, creating a treadmill effect broken only when passing the occasional larger rock, protruding up above the current.) Anyway, we finally made camp and after dinner everything cleared up and we had good weather. Of course, no TV was available, up there in the mountains -- our campsite was primitive, furnished only with a firepit and a picnic table. But one guy had a transistor radio and he was able to tune in live news coverage as the Eagle landed so we knew they'd arrived okay, looking up at the moon rising in the sky at sunset.
posted by Rash at 1:16 PM on July 19 [7 favorites]


I remember seeing it on a TV in a storefront window while I was standing on a sidewalk in Boulder CO, but I've never checked that memory for consistency with the actual timings of the events themselves.

Maybe it was all the SFF I'd read, but I was kind of underwhelmed by the space program as a whole, and recall being unexpectedly thrilled by the Moon landing, but also thinking something like 'if it was this hard to get to the moon, what chance do we really have to go to the stars?'
posted by jamjam at 1:26 PM on July 19


I was too young to see any Apollo missions. By the time I was aware of the world, the shuttle program was in full swing. (Or, rather, taking a break after the Challenger failure before resuming.)

Crewed spaceflight today is one of the few things I'm genuinely ambivalent about. One one hand, I'd love to go into space. If you offered me a flight, I'd drop everything and cash in my life savings to take it. If you offered me a one-way ticket to Mars with a 50% chance of survival to landing, I'd ask some questions, but I'd probably do it. I absolutely understand the urge to go into space, or to see proxies for me go into space.

On the other hand, sending humans to do a robot's job is expensive and pretty hard to justify. One can argue about the value of moon-rock return, but I'd claim Mariner (and, a bit later and more spectacularly, Voyager) is actually the more impressive triumph of the '60s US space program. Keeping humans alive on the moon is hard, but it's not actually that interesting. Keeping humans alive in low Earth orbit is even less interesting. On the other, other hand, if spending a vanishingly small fraction of the national budget to film an astronaut playing guitar convinces a hundred thousand eighth graders to think good things about science class, maybe it's all worth it. I really don't know. As public works projects go, one could do far worse.

When I was a kid, I never really thought that being an astronaut was an option. By the time I was old enough to consider it seriously, it was pretty clear that it wasn't for me. The going into space part sounds awesome. The on-Earth parts of the job sounds absolutely awful. I've chatted informally with a few astronauts since and am good friends with a couple of former candidates. Every story convinces me it's not actually a job I'd be willing to put up with. Forty years of bureaucracy, surveillance, rote memorization, and being polite to bosses who know less than you in exchange for a dice roll that you might get picked to go into space is a hell of a gamble. Cheers to all the brilliant and talented people willing to make that sacrifice.
posted by eotvos at 1:33 PM on July 19 [3 favorites]


the Woodstock Music Festival happened only a few weeks later, August 15–18

Yeah the local head shop had a poster for it (you know, the red one) and we wanted to go but no way would our parents let us. But we did skip school to see the movie, the following March.
posted by Rash at 1:34 PM on July 19




I knew what that link was before I clicked it-but by god did I click it.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 1:49 PM on July 19 [6 favorites]


I was 8 years old and super-into it. We got to watch it on TV in school. As a girl, I was told I would be too short to be an astronaut, or some other b.s. But around the same time, I was developing a baby political consciousness - Nixon, Vietnam, MLK, and did not want to ever work in government/military, which I was disappointed to find out was in charge of NASA.

A while back I got a paper cut and fold model of the lunar module from Ebay. We had gotten those for free from the Esso station back then. I had a lot of fun putting it together. It made my inner 8 year old pretty happy.
posted by wens at 1:49 PM on July 19 [1 favorite]


I celebrated my tenth birthday the night of the moon landing. I say celebrated because my actual birthday came a few days later, but that was the day we were moving, piling into the family station wagon and relocating three thousand miles due west (Toronto to Vancouver). So the two events have always been sort of fused in me. Something to do with significant travel being interconnected with progress, the future, a re-imagining of who (and maybe even what) you are.

And yeah, being ten years old, those guys -- Amstrong-Aldrin-Collins -- were major heroes, even if the actual moon landing moments was rather anti-climactic, the dodgy black + white TV footage from what felt like way further away than just 86 thousand miles just not measuring up to the hype.
posted by philip-random at 1:50 PM on July 19 [1 favorite]


A while back I got a paper cut and fold model of the lunar module from Ebay. We had gotten those for free from the Esso station back then. I had a lot of fun putting it together. It made my inner 8 year old pretty happy.

I had one of those, too! And this book, which my father bought for me at a Gulf station. (Yes, I did just order myself a copy, thank you.)
posted by briank at 1:58 PM on July 19


I was a kid through the 60s and was enthralled by the space program. I was completely unaware of anything the Soviets were doing, so it was pure, unadulterated geekiness for me. We were vacationing in northern Indiana when 11 landed on the moon. Luckily, our cabin had a tv, and an antenna that could juuuuuust manage to pull-in Fort Wayne. I sat through the night, glued to the tube, watching every minute. It definitely was the best time to be an 11-year-old boy.

The landing and moonwalk is one of those things that defines you. A big-time “where were you when...?” event. Luckily, it was also one of the few good “where were you when...?” events in history. I watched the first person walk on the moon. I just wish younger generations could have something similar in their lives.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:00 PM on July 19 [4 favorites]


I was 10. I remember bouncing on the couch out of excitement, while watching the lift-off on my grandparents TV. This was such a big deal. Many details are a bit fuzzy at this point, but not the bouncing.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 2:07 PM on July 19 [1 favorite]


The moon landing is my earliest long-form, complete/intact memory that is clear and also reliable (verified). I was four and wearing a onesie/pajamas with feet; it was in our home in Detroit, and I was standing up in front of the console tv my grandparents had. My grandfather had gotten me out of bed and told me he was going to show me something and I had to remember what I was seeing. And somehow I did remember it surprisingly well. I recall my grandparents having champagne and being really excited, so I was too... just a really nice memory. (He also did that with Nixon's resignation; he liked to point out historical moments and plant me in front of a tv and tell me to focus. He was really cool like that.)
posted by heyho at 2:33 PM on July 19 [2 favorites]


The PBS documentary pointed out something that I didn’t know: the TV networks filmed lots of “simulations” and re-enactments, and stuff, to explain what was happening when the astronauts weren’t broadcasting video (eg. during the descent; it was on film so they had to bring it back before anyone could watch it).

So the TV stations did, kinda, “fake” the moon landing so they could have something to show. And it looked just as janky and obviously-fake as you’d expect a TV news re-enactment to look in 1969.

I also heard an interview with Damien Chazelle, the director of First Man, who said the challenges of making a moon landing film even in 2018 convinced him that the simplest way to have gotten that kind of footage in 1969 was literally to land somebody on the moon.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 2:39 PM on July 19 [2 favorites]


When I was young my family lived on the east coast of central Florida, about an hour north of KSC. We couldn't see the actual lift-off part of the Apollo flights but we could definitely see the flames and smoke once the rockets had gotten a couple hundred feet up and started to lean sideways, and even just a bit of the rumble. We'd watch the first few seconds of lift-off live on TV, then rush out to the yard to catch the next couple minutes. I was 10 years old when Apollo 11 took off.

(A few years later we moved to Merritt Island on which the Space Center is located; watching the later Apollo - and eventually shuttle - lift-offs in person and feeling as well as hearing the incredible rumble and bellow was a hell of an experience. The immensity and power of those things was simply phenomenal.)

It was around 11pm when Armstrong and Aldrin left the lander to step on the moon. I was woken up and stumbled out to the family room to curl up with my head on mom's lap sleepily watching the grainy images (in my mind's eye I still remember seeing it "sideways") and listening to the mostly incomprehensible radio chatter. I enjoyed seeing it happen, but it wasn't until I was a little older that I realized what a monumental and historical event I'd witnessed.

For whatever reason I never wanted to be an astronaut, but I was interested in science and continued to follow all the moon and shuttle missions pretty closely. My grandmother even made a wall-hanging thing for me when I was a teenager, that had the patches for every Apollo mission along with their launch dates stitched into the fabric. I think my mom probably has it stashed away somewhere... I've taken the Space Center tour a few times; one highlight of the tour was standing in the gallery looking into the Apollo mission control room while Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man boomed out of the sound system at a suitably impressive volume...that piece still gives me goosebumps.

I was away at college when the first shuttle was due to launch (named Enterprise due to pressure from Trekkies, who were then devastated when it never actually made it to space), but my stepdad had a pass to a "Press" viewing area a scant mile from the launch pad so I made damn sure I was there for it! You could literally see the rocket sitting on the launch pad, so I got to see the twin plumes of smoke at ignition and follow the vehicle as it inched from the pad and began accelerating...and then the sound (literally) hit and I was very very glad I'd struggled to be there.

... probably the only thing more difficult than actually getting to the Moon in 1969 would be faking it for 50 years.

Gah, yes, SO much this!!
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:51 PM on July 19 [4 favorites]


I was 13 in the summer of '69. My family had moved from Cleveland to L.A. in '61 and we'd take 'pilgrimages' to visit my mother's relatives in Ohio and Michigan every other summer, then playing host to a California trip by an uncle, an aunt and a couple cousins in alternate years. This was the first year my parents decided they could let me go solo, so it was a very big deal for me. The Lunar Landing happened while I was at Uncle Bud's farm; it was primarily an 'Egg Ranch' with two massive barns full of hens in cages, and the house in front was notable for having a basement - something I never saw in L.A. - and the smallest TV of any of my mother's family. But we were all gathered around the 13-inch screen to watch history happen; Uncle Bud (real name Harry but he considered Bud a better name for a city-raised man who had gone rural), Aunt Louise, Cousins Rick (a year younger than me and just outgrown being called 'Ricky') and Timmy (much younger and least interested in what was happening on the moon) and me, the kid from Hollywood (actually the San Fernando Valley, a dozen miles from Hollywood).

But it wasn't the only vivid memory of my trip: my widowed grandmother was recently retired from a job as a department store buyer and settled into a very 'grandmotherly' decorated apartment in Lakewood, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland (where I saw replays of the moon landing on a much better set) and she trusted me to go out and wander by myself, including one day trip on Cleveland Rapid Transit, my only exposure to riding a subway until the first L.A. Metrorail line opened in 1990. That was a giant leap for me.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:52 PM on July 19 [3 favorites]


I was about 18 months old on July 20, 1969 so I have no memory of the launch. My mom tells me were were camping on a beach in Italy and everybody was listening on radios. Everybody came over to congratulate my parents (as apparently the only Americans in the campground) as the news spread. Knowing my parents, I'm sure they shared every celebratory toast that was offered.

In 1975, we moved to Grissom AFB in Indiana, named for Gus Grissom, who died in the Apollo 1 fire.
posted by COD at 4:14 PM on July 19 [2 favorites]


I feel like it's interesting that one generation's big SPACE moment was the moon landing, and mine was the Challenger disaster. I think it really colours the way we see it.

In my case, my teacher was about to roll a TV into the class so we could watch the launch, but he came in with tears in his eyes instead, and we got a small lesson in mortality.
posted by klanawa at 4:16 PM on July 19 [5 favorites]


I will always love the Kubrick filmed a fake moon landing conspiracy

The best version of which is: "Stanley Kubrick was hired to fake the moon landing but his perfectionism made them film it on location on the moon."
posted by Snarl Furillo at 4:26 PM on July 19 [9 favorites]


The moon makes me feel insignificant & infinite and I just love the moon. The moon is magic. About 30% of my posts on fb are, "good job, moon." 🌙🌌🌜
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 4:42 PM on July 19 [4 favorites]


I missed Apollo by a could of decades but it's been cool watching current exciting space stuff like the SpaceX reusable boosters landing and being able to show my kid live! HD! video! from an onboard camera on a rocket that is literally in space right this second. Probably the most exciting live space footage I've seen is the first successful SpaceX Falcon booster landing and the first successful Falcon Heavy double-booster landing (which is so perfect it doesn't look real).
We've also built the Lego Saturn V model which has detachable stages and a tiny Apollo command module & lunar lander at the top, so he's got an understanding of how the Apollo missions worked. We started watching the recent BBC documentary 8 Days: To The Moon & Back which recreates the Apollo 11 mission using actors & CGI but also the original audio recordings and camera footage - a combination which works really well. Worth watching if you can get hold of it.

"Wouldn't it be great to make everyone think we landed on the moon? That'd show the Soviets!"
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:51 PM on July 19 [2 favorites]


I remember Apollos 16 and 17. I was near 3 for 11 but no memory. Alot of Apollo astronauts were from Michigan. I lived near...gonna have to ask mom, Mcdivvits
House when he went u of m.

I got to shake Buzz' hand. Nice guy. But Neil Armstrong is my hero. Amazing pilot, engineer, and teacher.

Oh, my ask me about the moon landing which some folks did great work on.

The Soviets landed alot stuff, even the same day as Apollo 11.

As for conspiracy, Collins, as the LEM was being closed, on vox asks " hows the czar is over there"(Armstrong) and then he says "All I can say is, beware the revolution" and hits undocking.

I wonder if that was code for the Soviet lander in lunar orbit the same day.
posted by clavdivs at 6:04 PM on July 19 [1 favorite]


I'm at an event at the Museum of Science in Boston to look through their giant telescope and be excited about space!
posted by ChuraChura at 7:01 PM on July 19 [7 favorites]


If humanity survives the next hundred years (I think it probably will, but y'know...), the moon landing, and possibly the smart phone and the internet, will be the thing associated with the "United States Era" of world history, the same way that Ancient Greece is associated with the invention of democracy, the Islamic empire with math and astronomy, etc. The 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 is a reminder that we (the US and affiliates) have likely peaked. I mean, I hope that's not true and I certainly still have big dreams that I am working on, but we are still defiantly anti metric system, anti science, anti foreigner, anti collective-effort-to-better-ourselves-and-the-world.

I was born just after the moon landing. In fact, I must have been conceived right around the time of the moon landing. I should ask my racist America-first parents about the timing, but I have not actually been speaking to them much since 2016. When I think of the moon landing, I think that's the moment that Americans declared victory and then stopped giving a shit. We won World War II, landed on the moon, now it's all shrimp cocktail, and cheap gasoline, and golf, and fuck the immigrants. And I have to admit, landing on the moon is some pretty fucking bad ass shit. But there are even bigger challenges right now and it's way past time to end the America #1 party and get back to work.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:06 PM on July 19 [6 favorites]


I vaguely remember Skylab and the last near-earth Apollo missions. I'm too young to remember the moon landings themselves.

I was definitely completely space mad as a kid and was one of those precious (if annoying) kids that could recite every active manned space craft system ever launched and most of the unmanned ones and ballistic missiles and such. Or, say, all of the known planets and their satellites. It used to be a lot easier to remember the satellites of Saturn and Jupiter, that's for sure.

And this used to get me in trouble. Grade school me couldn't even begin to understand how an adult, much less a teacher, didn't know all of these things. My Grandpa sure knew them all, but he was USAF and one of the reasons I knew so much about space because he kept feeding me books about it.

But I still remember the frustration, confusion and anger - and more importantly doubt - about getting into arguments with grade school teachers who - no joke - still thought that everything revolved around the Earth and had basically zero grasp of the solar system.

It was the first time I realized the adults in my life might not only be uninformed or even a bit dull, but maliciously wrongheaded and deeply flawed. The realization and processing of this kept me up at night for most of a month and left me doubting so many things I'd been told by adults. (Granted, I was maybe eight.)

It was also frustrating to learn that being right about something could actually get you into trouble.
posted by loquacious at 9:15 PM on July 19 [5 favorites]


I was born in '70 and grew up in a household that was very science focused. I *loved* the moon landings and Mars missions and space shuttle and absolutely wanted to be an astronaut. We got Space Shuttle Operator's Manual and read that thing so hard.

Not gung ho about the thing now but definitely remember the optimism & excitement fondly.

Grade school me couldn't even begin to understand how an adult, much less a teacher, didn't know all of these things.

Heh, me too. I remember telling my fifth grade teacher that Pluto had a moon and getting blown off, as in he wasn't sure that was true and obviously didn't care much.

Payback: I was talking dinosaurs with my seven year old nephew a bit ago and mentioned pterosaurs. He looked at me with complete contempt and said "Pterosaurs aren't dinosaurs, Mark."
posted by mark k at 10:18 PM on July 19 [6 favorites]


I was about 3 at the time of Apollo 11 and I have vague memories of watching the launch with my dad and brother and waddling up to and pointing at our black and white Zenith TV. I can't say that was the root cause for my career in rocket science, but it was at least a contributing cause. I had wanted to be an astronaut until I got to college and discovered the twin miracles that are beer and pizza. I lucked out into a job on SOHO in 1996, and have been working in spacecraft flight operations ever since. On my latest mission I have ascended into management, and I plan to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing by catching up on some paperwork and doing laundry.
posted by Rob Rockets at 11:23 PM on July 19 [4 favorites]


I was 10, and sort of remember watching. I was a space nut, so I must have been, I remember staring at a big console B&W set. But I've seen the footage so many times it seems to blur together.

I do remember getting a birthday present from my grandmother in November: 8x10 color glossy photos taken on the moon! For years I thought she had an "in" at NASA, then I found out they were just part of a standard press pack.

I just hunted around downstairs and found the July 21, 1969 edition of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Mom put it in a coal scuttle with some other newspapers.
posted by Marky at 12:35 AM on July 20


I was going to be an astronaut up until my senior year of high school when I discovered that I was too short to be a military test pilot. Born a few months after the landing I caught the fever in the '70s, not sure exactly how... My grandparents had this NASA table book with a bunch of pictures and transcripts of various missions and such, way sciencey which I read through almost every Sunday afternoon. In the back of that book was a list of all of the NASA facilities that had tours/PR departments and I wrote them all, repeatedly. They'd pack up all of the brochures and materials they had at the visitors centers and mail me a bit fat manila envelope full of stuff. My grandmother worked at a film developing place (remember those?) and around those times things were floating around so I ended up with a nice 3x5 on Kodachrome real picture of the famous blue dot image. Eventually I got into building plastic models of spacecraft real and fictional. Built model rockets. Even successfully built one out of metal (against the model rocketry rules) and launched it from under water like the missiles launched from submarines. Went to Space Camp when I was 13, burned up the shuttle on re-entry because we didn't fix a damaged tile...(aarrrgggghhhh), and got into my first real trouble for being in the girls dorm room at midnight... Chuckled when the Challenger exploded which sounds evil but was just knowing the inevitability of space flight it very very dangerous and strapping yourself atop a rocket always had the risk of going boom.

Born too late (and didn't meet the physical requirements) for the test pilot astronaut age, and too soon for the mission specialist age, and now just too much age. At least there's still scifi to fuel fantasy.
posted by zengargoyle at 2:06 AM on July 20


the spirit of Fizz is a wonderful set of words.

I was four when the moon landing took place. I remember being in my grandparents' living room and being told that it was a moon landing, but at that age the amazingness was a bit abstract, and not as viscerally amazing as a tub of Rabaiotti's ice cream with their raspberry sauce on top (which is one of the things the human race has definitely lost over the last fifty years).

I know that by the time of Apollo 14 I was capable of looking up at the moon and thinking "there are people up there... wow!" Although I was still not sure how far away it was (to me, in Witney, it was quite a long way to Burford, eight miles away, and Oxford was a distant planet visited only on special occasions with the right equipment) it was a very early experiment with trying to realise an abstract concept in myself.

All the hardware was hugely seductive, of course. It's only over the last few years that I realised that the one talent an astronaut needed was immunity to claustrophobia. I also assume they were very small for military heroes - like jockeys. I didn't think about any of that when I was small, of course.
posted by Grangousier at 2:27 AM on July 20


I was ten. I was upstairs and didn’t want to watch Neil Armstrong walk on the moon because science is boring and I was tired and wanted to go to bed. My older brother, a big science nerd, came up to my room and told me I had to watch because I had to be able to tell my grandchildren I saw it. He pretty much forced me to come downstairs and watch on our black and white TV. He was right to make me watch.

He was diagnosed with cancer at 24 and died at 31. I miss him terribly. He didn’t live long enough to have children. Today, I have five wonderful grandkids. They’ve never asked about it, but I’m glad I’ll be able to tell them if they do.

(By the way, people now think of the moon landing as something triumphant, which it was, but people my age also remember astronaut deaths, including all three crew members of Apollo 1 in 1967, so casting this as Moon Landing versus Challenger is really oversimplifying. And the Challenger explosion affected us too.)
posted by FencingGal at 5:57 AM on July 20 [4 favorites]


This thread is a great example of site demographics. I'm 31, so hardly young by internet standards, but my parents were 4 and 5 for the moon landing.
posted by ChuraChura at 6:15 AM on July 20 [6 favorites]


My fourth-grade teacher's stepfather was an astronaut and had been to the moon. He came and spoke to our class, and we had a whole week of "Space Exploration" simulation, where we built a model lunar lander from cardboard and aluminum foil (reflective!) and did a bunch of "experiments" on "space dust" collected from the field behind the school.

My own parents were 16 and 11 in 1969. In fact, Apollo 11 took off on my mom's birthday. They didn't have a TV at the time, but she remembers listening to it on the radio, and watching the landing months later, on a newsreel or something at school.
posted by basalganglia at 6:34 AM on July 20 [1 favorite]


My favorite memory is of my mother's handwriting. She kept a journal of my first 3 years. We all watched the moon landing (I don't remember it) and said that the astronauts were going to "pick up rocks" and come back. I loved to pick up rocks in the yard and show them to my parents.
posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 7:16 AM on July 20 [1 favorite]


My earliest memory of television is seeing men on the moon. I have no idea when it was but probably not Apollo 11, though I was alive then. We had an old Zenith black and white and I remember my parents dropping everything to watch it, and telling me what a big deal it was.

My dad was an astrophysicist before he worked with computers and one of his first jobs was working for the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory setting up satellite tracking stations around the world (and probably spying for the CIA if I'm being honest) to sync with satellites correctly before we had network standard time. We used to have an old massive telescope lens that we played with at home as kids that we called "the rolling thing." Space has always loosely been a part of my life.

I had thought I had made a MeFi post about the moon trees, but looks like even though there were a few, none were by me.

My father's house (where I spend summers) has a telescope and it's sat in a corner getting dusty. My SO is also a space buff and we got the thing outside a few weeks back and looked at Jupiter and its moons and it was glorious. One of my many great memories of #MeFi20 is a bunch of nerds out after nighttime all looking through their phones using a space app identifying all the things they could see in the night sky. Thanks for this post, I like thinking about the moon. It's been a good month to think about the moon.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 8:34 AM on July 20 [6 favorites]


Just graduated college, working at the Ford glass house as a photographer. I was 21 and was 1a for the Vietnam draft. All the heroes had been killed. The moon landing was big but the waters were very turbulent.
posted by JohnR at 8:34 AM on July 20 [1 favorite]


I’m telling someone else’s story here but apropos of elderly relatives who think the moon landing was faked, I know someone whose elderly immigrant grandmother pooh-poohed the whole thing, at the big moment, as a waste of money with the expression, “ What did I say they would find? ROCKS! And what did they find? ROCKS!”
posted by spitbull at 8:51 AM on July 20 [4 favorites]


Sopa de Luna

Tonight's special is moon soup
Softly stirred with the slow rasp
Of crickets,
Splashed with irregular patches of light,
Falling on lawns between the houses and trees.
Bright, impassive pearly silence
Looking on, the extra presence lighting
The evening. Magical sky light dwarfing
The airliners and jewel stars.
The air is you soup,
No sense of where you begin and the
Night takes over being.
The crazy man across the street
Left all the lights on, and in
The wild spirit of moon soup
Set off random fireworks,
That sounded like gunshots.
Sometimes nature and silence
Are just too much, for those
With loud minds.
Without his defense against aloneness,
I would have missed the whole thing, sleeping.
I have to weigh it now.
Annoyance vs the crazy quilt
Patches of moon on the lawn
And the light serenly floating
Over the peak of my roof.
I don't know.
I have to go out and look one more time,
Now it is quiet, and piece it
Back together with my wonder.
Mmmm moon soup, late night snack,
In my night gown.
posted by Oyéah at 8:53 AM on July 20 [5 favorites]


I was 4, so all I have is a snapshot memory of seeing it on my grandparent's television. The Moon landings didn't have special significance to me; I sort of took the whole space travel thing for granted. Honestly, I've found the last couple of decades of planetary probes and the more recent discovery of a huge number of exoplanets the most interesting and important space exploration of my life. I was a member of the Planetary Society when I was younger and supported a manned Mars mission, but that's not high-priority for me now, given how difficult and expensive it would be versus all we could accomplish with the same resources for unmanned exploration. As a lifelong science-fiction nerd and a child of the Apollo era, it sort of pains me to not be gung-ho on manned spaceflight but I guess I became too much of an actual science nerd. Also, maybe I've spent too much time with astronomers. I've never knowingly met anyone who thought the landings were faked.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:14 AM on July 20 [1 favorite]


It's only over the last few years that I realised that the one talent an astronaut needed was immunity to claustrophobia.

This, plus seeing the thing where they mess with your equilibrium, are big reasons why I will never, ever go to space. I want other people to go and I want to hear all about it, but I am claustrophobic enough that I won't rent an apartment with a shower stall. I don't think I could put on a space suit without panicking.
posted by bile and syntax at 9:26 AM on July 20


What does it mean to me? I was totally steeped in the entire moonshot business as a small child & of course I wanted to be an astronaut. More than anything in the world. To me it wasn't just a career, but struck me as the highest possible attainment on could aspire to as a human being at the time, & I still mostly feel that way. I think the Apollo astronauts rank amongst the greatest explorers of all human history.

I discussed it with adults & it was brought to my attention that in those days (& still somewhat true) that the only path to becoming an astronaut was through the Air Force ROTC, hoping to attain pilot status, becoming an exceptionally good jet pilot, & then maybe making the large pool of candidates for a very small number of openings, & I got realistic about it pretty quickly, because even at 12 years old, I was simply not military material to begin with. My love of space exploration & all its trappings -- the shuttle program, Hubble, Mars rovers, Voyager missions, etc. remained undiminished though.

Fast-forward to age 29. My daughter was born 3 weeks premature, via emergency C-section, & post delivery, while the doctors were tending to closing her mother's incision, the nurses asked me to follow them into neonatal so I could see my daughter. I bent down & placed my left index finger in the palm of her left hand, & she grabbed on tight & held on to it for over a minute. The nurse said "Wow, I've never seen one do that." At that moment, she pretty much became the focal point of my existence, & my best friend. I went about raising an intellectually curious & scientifically minded (and math-smart, which she totally got from her mother) child, & helped her learn critical thinking, deductive reasoning & to source her material. From the earliest age that she was able to understand such things, she was certain that she'd go on to college for science reasons & by the time she was 10 or 12, she had her sights set on NASA. OK, then. So did I.

4 years ago, she graduated with an electrical engineering degree, & immediately landed a job at Lockheed Martin. For the first year, she tested software that tested electrical components, then she got transferred to (asked for & got promotion I should say - she asks for what she wants, & tends to get it) their space systems division in Littleton, where they assemble GPS & weather satellites, doing component testing. She worked on some of the latest generation of GOES. After barely a year there, a job came open at Canaveral, doing component testing on the Orion crew module. She asked for it. A week later, she was packing to move back to Florida, & now she's a test engineer responsible for testing components on Orion as they're installed, to determine they're functioning correctly post-installation. She spends half her time writing & testing procedures & the other half of her time in the clean room with the (formerly designated LM-1 -- they keep changing the mission names - not sure if Artemis is the official name now, or what) crew module, running the tests.

LM-1 will hopefully launch in 2020 unmanned as a full shakeout of the combined Orion/SLS system to orbit the moon & return home, before they put astronauts in (what was designated) LM-2. She's seeking a possible promotion to lead test engineer on LM-2 in charge of human interaction systems -- basically all the switches, knobs & dials that astronauts interact with. She'd be working side by side with them if she gets the position. I'm sure you can guess how goddam proud & happy I am for her -- she's living her dream.

Needless to say, I will be at the cape with her for that launch.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:31 AM on July 20 [18 favorites]


Addendum: For any of you with children who aspire to a STEM-oriented education & career, I have two words: First Robotics.

It's an utterly fantastic program top to bottom, & if you don't have a team in your area, you can up & start one yourself if you can find a willing teacher at your kid's school. Both of my kids made nationals at different times, & it was probably the best, most inspiring experience of their secondary educations. It doesn't hurt to have that achievement on the college admissions applications, either.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:45 AM on July 20 [2 favorites]


I am growing moonflowers, looking forward to big white flowers. I was an adolescent for the moon landing and it was really cool, but it seemed like space travel would be normal, and, whoops, nope.
posted by theora55 at 11:13 AM on July 20


This thread is a great example of site demographics. I'm 31, so

I suppose it does remind us that there are a significant few here who are in their mid-fifties on upward and thus have lucid memories of happenings fifty years ago. I'm just a few days short of sixty myself and, even if we didn't have this milestone to observe, I suspect I'd be reflecting back more than usual.

Last night, I was thinking of my grandfather (my mom's dad) who I was only just starting to know as an adult when he died. Born in 1900, as he put it, "It's always been easy to remember how old I was when something important happened." It also meant he had a firm memory of life before TV, radio, movies with sound, even air travel. I remember talking to him about that, how one of his very first memories was hearing that men had flown in an airplane (the Wright brothers flight actually happened in 1903, but news traveled slow in those days, particularly to a coal mining town in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia).

"What was it like?" I asked, "Do you remember how people reacted?"

"We were fascinated," he said. "I remember my mother saying something along the lines of, it's impossible that this is possible. And yet, barely fifty years later, there we were on the moon. I shed a tear that night."
posted by philip-random at 11:15 AM on July 20 [7 favorites]


I love these stories! As for me, I was nine and remember being woken up to watch with my parents and younger brother. I remember the landing and, later, enjoying Buzz Aldrin's happy bouncy steps as he enjoyed the zero gravity. I also remember that my father, an astrophysicist who had been involved with other rockets and spent a lot of time at Huntsville throughout his career, got very verklempt. He remained on pins and needles until the astronauts were home safe because, while he respected the achievement, he had known people on the Apollo 1 mission and was worried about the many opportunities for horrific catastrophe. Regarding all of the moon voyages, Dad thought that unmanned missions were better vis-a-vis both science and risk.

Dad also thought that NASA was wrong to plant the flag, in part because it was a stupid waste of weight/volume capacity, but mostly because the moon should belong to all and "claiming" it was an imperialistic act. He felt that it also conflicted with the scripted line, which Armstrong mangled slightly, that it was "One small step for a man, one giant step for mankind." And he was annoyed that the flag itself was fabricated to be permanently "waving." These thoughts informed my view of the US in fairly significant ways, and I have to say that I still agree with him.
posted by carmicha at 11:24 AM on July 20 [4 favorites]


As I mentioned in some of those other threads, I work for the company that designed the Apollo Guidance Computer. There's a big celebration at the office today which I'm sadly missing due to other obligations.

I had the realization only recently that, hey, I actually achieved my childhood dreams! I'm a goddamn rocket scientist working on some incredible technology. But at the same time it's a job just like any other white collar desk job. It's equally exciting and mundane at the same time.
posted by backseatpilot at 12:09 PM on July 20 [7 favorites]


Through the particular circumstances of my youth I met Neil Armstrong & shook his hand when I was too young to appreciate it. So moon landing reminiscence for me always brings up family stories, mostly this one:

How my sweet, optimistic grandfather, absurdly/generationally romantic about the beneficial possibilities of technology, was telling me the story about the first time he saw an airplane--they closed his school for the day and brought all the kids out to a field so they could watch a plane fly over them (this would have been in the 1910s, in the Midwest), ending the story, as he often did, with amazement: "and now a man has walked on the moon." And I, 7 years old or so and experimenting with being petulant & bratty because compliant & agreeable wasn't working too well for me, rolled my eyes and whined to him, "I know, I know, his name was Neil Armstrong and he's suuuper square, I had to have dinner with him because Mom went to Puerto Rico with Big Bird." (Long story.) Which made his eyes pop out of his head, for the sass I was trying on but more at the idea that I had shaken Neil Armstrong's hand. That then became his new favorite ending to the story, and the blissful technological utopia surely just around the corner, a bright future his grandson had already touched.

My dad had worked on a Chrysler ad that Neil Armstrong made (which, wow, was that a different time in advertising) and he did in fact bring me to the grownups' table sometime during that shoot and I was bored in the way kids can be when alone with grownups, while Neil Armstrong told them stories that I would fucking kill to hear now. (It must have been my dad or someone else on the crew who called him square, I wouldn't have come up with that myself.)

I now have a pretty dim view of space race / atomic age optimism, but when I feel beaten & exhausted by the ways technology makes things shittier, I mostly feel heartbroken on my grandpa's behalf--for the shiny promises he believed in so wholeheartedly and that haven't been fulfilled, however ridiculous those promises were in the first place. As ridiculous as going to the moon.
posted by miles per flower at 12:42 PM on July 20 [6 favorites]


My dad worked for a subsidiary of Bendix, who built the still operating laser reflector.

Just got that from mom. Apparently I did watch the landing and liked to look at the moon on evening walks (those dad two- handed assists with your size 2 shoe on his shoes)

Yes, I wanted to be an astronaut- then President and I had it all planned out by 10

Scouts. Civil air patrol. Computers circa 1977. Military. U of M. NASA. Congress. The presidency. So in my time line dream which was broken after a dizzy ride on the Tilit- a- whurl™- proving I can't handle a G;
I would president right
About now.
posted by clavdivs at 1:00 PM on July 20 [3 favorites]


Oh, buzz was the first person to hold a religious ritual on the moon.
posted by clavdivs at 1:02 PM on July 20 [1 favorite]


I wasn't thought of for ten years when the moon landing happened, but I grew up with books that -- thanks to Carl Sagan in particular -- gave me a sense of deep, almost familial love for space. One of them was an old copy of Charlie Brown's 'Cyclopedia* that still had plenty to say about Skylab and Kohoutek. I grew up with the idea that space was part of our lives now, that it was something we might not be doing in quite the same way as we'd done before, but that we were going nonetheless. Although astronauts seemed wonderful to me, I never thought about training to become one, because I assumed that someday regular people could just go to space, the same way they eventually got to just go on airplanes.

I can't say there was a singular moment of disillusionment. The Challenger explosion -- well, it was a lot, it was painful, but I was too young to think about what it meant for the future of space travel. By the time I was old enough to think about that topic in general, there had been so much diminishment that it seemed like the robots ought to take over. Mir was busted up, falling out of the sky, there was no water on the moon, what did we want there anyway, right? Right?

But there is and we do. We maybe shouldn't. It couldn't save our world and it couldn't save our souls. But we do.

-----
* A series of Peanuts-licensed books about general knowledge for kids. IIRC, they were quite good despite the tie-in, and taught me a lot about dinosaurs and so forth.
posted by Countess Elena at 1:19 PM on July 20 [3 favorites]


I was 3 in 1969, but 20 July is my mother’s birthday. 1938-1981.

My mother had an autograph of John Glenn and medallion from the orbit mission. I have it now. Not Apollo 11 but space related.
posted by terrapin at 1:21 PM on July 20 [1 favorite]


I was just shy of 20 when the Eagle landed and owned no TV. I was living in a basement apartment on 11th NE. I sat on on the edge of the stairs to my apartment while my cat Gabby frolicked in the yard --man, he lasted until 1987 -- listening to the radio and staring up at pale blue moon in the afternoon sky.

I heard but did not see the first step -- not until years later and not in full until the past two weeks what with Chasing the Moon. About five minutes later the son of the old lady who owned the house came out and said 'Shucks, had I known you didn't have a TV, I'd come down and gotten you...' To which I said 'Well, que sera, had I thought about it, I could have knocked on your door.'

As I noted elsewhere in a thread about 2001: A Space Odyssey, back then I expected that by now we'd be flying in Pan Am space liners like the one in that movie. Funny how that worked out.
posted by y2karl at 1:28 PM on July 20 [2 favorites]


I came of age during the heyday of the Space Shuttle program and went to Space Camp when I was in middle school. (As it turns out my husband and I missed each other there by like a matter of weeks.) I wanted to be a mission specialist and had my eye on a career in science and Air Force ROTC in college. Then I hit high school math and those dreams all went up in a puff of algebraic smoke.
posted by soren_lorensen at 2:38 PM on July 20


I was just over three weeks old when they landed. I'm told I saw it. But while the missions and the shuttle were still going in my living memory, they also seemed to be kind of always over, like the Beatles were. It just wasn't of my time: the hope was just hype. Playing with handed-down "About the Apollo Mission" kits with only some of the bits missing from jumble sales kind-of interested me in engineering, but as I later learned, all the Space Age tech was disposable with no service life to speak of.

So much fuel wasted to get meat into space. Using up the atmosphere and leaving us kids in other countries with no future.
posted by scruss at 6:47 PM on July 20 [1 favorite]


The F***ing Moon

A mix of mostly cosmic stuff in memory of happenings almost exactly fifty years ago. It did happen. It wasn't faked. Men did walk on the f***ing Moon. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, with Michael Collins circling around overhead in the command module. Words fail which is why we have music.

(shameless self-link)
posted by philip-random at 7:51 PM on July 20


Happy 60th, y'all who were 10 when it happened!

We were on vacation in Scharnitz at the Austrian-German border, hiking mostly. The B&B people had a TV set (which we at home didn't) and allowed their guests to watch the thing live in their living room, so yes, I remember it clearly.
(I turned 10 a week earlier. July 20 was my parents 12th anniversary.)
posted by Namlit at 1:51 PM on July 21


I will always love the Kubrick filmed a fake moon landing conspiracy

I'm more willing to believe that Kubrick faked the Cold War. Contrast the openness of the space program with the ostentatious secrecy and paranoia of that conflict. The very idea that nations would build enough weapons to destroy the world ten times over, then put them on a hair trigger that could easily go off by accident, is implausible outside the fictional world of Dr. Strangelove.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:20 AM on July 22 [1 favorite]


The lunar landing is my earliest conscious memory. I had recently turned three. I am quite sure this shaped my life in ways still unfolding.
posted by Nancy_LockIsLit_Palmer at 5:54 AM on July 23


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