Wednesday, July 15, 2009

We Choose The Moon

Regular readers know that I'm a big fan of all things space-related so naturally the upcoming anniversary of our first sojourn to the moon has been on my radar for some time but this site has definitely piqued my interest:

In honor of the 40th anniversary of the moon landing the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum has launched a new website. The goal of the website is to allow visitors to experience the Apollo 11 mission in real time. In fact, the website will go live at 9:32am on July 16th which is exactly 40 years to the minute after the historic launch.

The website is sponsored by the JFK Presidential Library and Museum because it was under President Kennedy’s direction that a mission to the moon be planned and executed. To allow visitors to experience the Apollo 11 mission as it happened the website utilizes archival audio, video, photos and “real time” transmissions. Besides the AOL powered website, visitors can also receive mission updates through three different Twitter accounts.

The simulation goes live tomorrow morning exactly twelve hours from now (you can keep track of the time with the coolest watch ever) and you can watch it all happen here. While I have many happy memories from following NASA's space program and its accumulated milestones over my lifetime I've always envied my parent's generation for getting to watch this historic mission play out during that amazing week back in 1969. My own three most vivid memories of space history all involve the space shuttle program and sadly, two of those have been tragic accidents that I'm not going to expound upon here.

The third is actually one of the few happy memories that I can attribute to my pretty much asshole of a step-father. I don't know if he realized at the time how much I would cherish this experience but props to him for making the effort. He dragged my oldest little sister Holly and I out of bed when I was seven-years-old before 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning (no, we never went to church so this was quite unexpected) to watch live what he obviously considered history being made:
STS-1 was the first flight of the Space Shuttle program, launched on April 12, 1981, and returning to Earth April 14. Space Shuttle Columbia orbited the earth 37 times in this 54.5-hour mission. It was the first US manned space flight since the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project on July 15, 1975, and the first (and so far only) manned maiden test flight of a new spacecraft system.
I won't even go into how many times I visited Space Center Houston over and over again while I was still living there in the nineties. I suspect that fascinations like this one have played a significant part in my never having actually felt like a real adult thus far in my lifetime, and I'm still not sure if I ever want that to change.

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