Friday, July 17, 2009

Radio Days

Of the links listed in yesterday’s post, the one I’ve been enjoying the most is the link to Apollo 11 Radio — the “audio time capsule” of the Apollo 11 mission that NASA is webcasting in real time this week. Listen here. I’m keeping it on in the background while working on my current looming deadline. I had no idea how much I’d enjoy it, but you can’t beat primary sources. Yes, there are long stretches of nothing but a low, humming static, but that’s all right; you could do worse than a little white noise in the background. Then, unexpectedly, the jargon comes on, most of which I can’t understand, but somehow that’s all right, too. You still get the gist. It was fascinating yesterday listening to Mike Collins and Charlie Duke try to figure out why a set of information on the ground wasn’t matching up with a set in Columbia. Sometimes the whole operation seems to have gone so smoothly that its success seems preordained, but then you listen to those guys try to get their numbers to square, while flying through space, pointed away from Earth, traveling at thousands of feet per second, and you’re reminded of what was really going on. A high tip of the hat to author, illustrator, Brooklyn neighbor, and fellow moon book maker John Rocco, who first sent me the link. Thanks, John!

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