Thursday, July 16, 2009
Countdown: Apollo 11
9:32 AM EDT today marks the 40th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11.
A few of the very many ways out there to enjoy the week's commemorations of Apollo 11: You can follow along a virtual reenactment of the Apollo 11 journey — from liftoff to splashdown — at We Choose The Moon, here, from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum. Or listen along with Apollo 11 Radio, here, a webcast from NASA that will relay in real time the audio from Apollo 11. How much of the audio? All of it! NASA describes it as an “audio “time capsule”.... Audio from the entire Apollo 11 mission will be replayed and streamed on the Internet at exactly the same time and date it was broadcast in 1969.” Bring it, NASA! That is going to be the soundtrack to my week.
For more from NASA, see their 40th anniversary Apollo site, here. A good list of other online anniversary sites has been compiled by science writer Alan Boyle, here.
Offline, if you happen to be in Washington, D.C., today remarkable astronaut/artist Alan Bean will be celebrating the opening of an exhibit of his paintings at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Also there will be author Andrew Chaikin; together they will sign copies of their fantastic book for young readers, Mission Control, This is Apollo. (If you buy only two Apollo books this summer, buy Mission Control, This is Apollo.) I am proud to say that you can even catch readings (not by me) of Moonshot today at the museum, at 11:00 and 1:30. Details for all those events are here.
And, keep your eyes open for a NASA press conference this morning — more on that here — and for a better look at the Apollo 11 moonwalk than anyone has ever seen.
Now, if you follow this blog — well, first, if you follow this blog, then you’re part of a small, select group. But what I really wanted to say is, if you follow this blog, then you might know that I’ve been posting summaries of each of the manned Apollo missions on their 40th anniversary launch date. (Summaries to date are here, and they will keep coming. Watch for Apollo 12 — but not till November.) So what to say now that we’ve finally reached Apollo 11, the first manned landing on the Moon, the subject of Moonshot?
I hope it’s no slight to the other books I’ve been lucky enough to work on to say that I’ve never felt the pull of a book as deeply as I did on Moonshot. What fascinates me most and what moves me most about these voyages to the Moon, I tried to express in that book. Anything I didn’t get into Moonshot, I’m not going to find words for here. (No offense, Blogger.)
So, serve yourself up some steak and eggs (the astronauts’ breakfast before launch), crank up the audio time capsule, and Godspeed Apollo 11!