Saturday, July 21, 2012

Happy Moon Shot Day!

July 20, 2012, was the 43rd anniversary of the first human landing on the Moon -- one of my earliest and most significant memories.

Though at the age of not quite eight, I wasn't yet in the habit of following the news, I sat on the sofa for hours with the rest of my family (father, mother, an older brother) watching the Apollo 11 mission. Because of my young age I kept falling asleep, but my brother would periodically shake me, saying, "Wake up, they're about to land!" So I'd resume watching, and the announcer would say, "They should be landing any minute now" -- and then they wouldn't, and I'd fall asleep again.

I wasn't awake at the moment Neil Armstrong was shown setting foot on the Moon, and even after being roused again I was too sleepy to really comprehend what was on the screen. Only years later did I learn that they'd detected a layer of dust on the surface but didn't know how deep it was, and so were worried it might bury the spacecraft. And they worried they'd have to go home before finding a safe place to land, lest they ran out of air. But they didn't want the public worrying about such things, so they just kept saying that they'd be landing any minute. Still, I'm glad I was "there" for this historic event... sort of.

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