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This Day in Space History: One Small Step

Note: This is an updated article from 2012.

Panorama of the Eagle lunar module by Ed Hengeveld from JSC scans.

“That’s one small step for a man… one giant leap for mankind.”

I’m not sure what else need be said about the significance of what happened on this day in 1969, 48 years ago… it was a shining moment in human history, and will be — should be — remembered forever as an example of what people can achieve when challenged, driven, and inspired.

More giant leaps have been made since then, and undoubtedly more will be made in the future, but this was the first and to this date still very much the biggest.
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No, The Moon Landings Weren’t Faked.

Buzz Aldrin on the Moon with a lunar seismic experiment, July 20, 1969 (NASA photo)

Buzz Aldrin on the Moon with a lunar seismic experiment, July 20, 1969 (NASA photo)

When you write about space as much as I do (and use a laptop with a big NASA sticker on the cover no less) you’re more than occasionally going to hear the question: did we really land on the Moon? (That, and “do you believe in UFOs?” My answer: not as credible evidence of aliens, no.) And with this year (2014) marking the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing — which, by the way, most definitely happened — and this particular weekend being 45 years since the Apollo 10 “dress rehearsal” lunar orbiting mission, I thought I’d assemble a list of a few oft-quoted  “proofs” of a grand-scale Moon landing hoax… and then let you know why they’re completely wrong.

You may have heard a few of these before:

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This Day in Space History: One Small Step

Note: Reposted/updated article from 2012.

Panorama of the Eagle lunar module by Ed Hengeveld from JSC scans.

“That’s one small step for a man… one giant leap for mankind.”

I’m not sure what else need be said about the significance of what happened on this day in 1969, 44 years ago… it was a shining moment in human history, and will be — should be — remembered forever as an example of what people can achieve when challenged, driven and inspired.

Maybe more giant leaps have been made since then, and undoubtedly more will be made in the future, but this was the first… and to this date, still very much the biggest.
Read the rest of this entry

First Man on the Moon Neil Armstrong Passes Away at 82

“In my own view, the important achievement of Apollo was a demonstration that humanity is not forever chained to this planet, and our visions go rather further than that, and our opportunities are unlimited.”
— Neil A. Armstrong

Neil Armstrong in the Apollo landing module after his historic moonwalk (NASA)

Today we mourn the loss of a true hero and icon of a generation, if not an entire century: Neil Alden Armstrong, former NASA astronaut and first person to set foot on the Moon, has passed away due to complications from cardiovascular surgery. Armstrong had recently turned 82 years old on August 5.

Read the rest of this story here.

It’s a Small World

Eagle Lander and Home

Eagle Lander and Home

Another wonderful image from the Apollo Image Gallery, this scanned film image shows the ascent stage of the Eagle lander as photographed by Neil Armstrong, with the partially-lit Earth floating in the black lunar sky above.

This is how our world looks from 239,000 miles away.

Basically it would look 4 times larger than the full moon does to us here. Because the moon is a quarter the size of Earth. It’s a big moon, as moons go. And it has the distinction as being the only other world people have set foot on.

While the television broadcast most people remember of the 1969 moon landing was ghostly and grainy, the film images taken by Armstrong and Aldrin – and all the astronauts of the Apollo missions – are wonderfully sharp and detailed due to the large-format Hasselblad cameras they used. Add to that consistently bright sunlight and the lack of distorting air on the moon and the photos that were brought back (and meticulously scanned by Kipp Teague and Ed Hengeveld) are amazingly – almost surrealy – crisp and bright.

Check them out on the Image Library site. Here, on the anniversary of the July 20th landing, it’s a great way to get a new look at a shining example of human achievement.

Image: NASA. Scan: Kipp Teague.

P.S. An interesting thing to note….when Neil took this image of Earth, he was taking a group photo of 3 billion people. Now, 40 years later, the estimated world population is 6.77 billion. The amount of people on this planet has more than doubled in the past two generations. Attribute that to what you will, but it has to leave a mark.

The world hasn’t gotten any bigger, after all.

(Added 7/20/12: Now there’s 7 billion. But still, same size Earth.)

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