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Vocapedia > Space > Moon, Apollo program

 

 

 

Title

Galileo Images the Moon
 


Full Description

This view of the Moon's north pole

is a mosaic assembled from 18 images

taken by Galileo's imaging system

through a green filter as the spacecraft flew by

on December 7, 1992.

 

The left part of the Moon

is visible from Earth;

this region includes

the dark, lava-filled Mare Imbrium

(upper left);

Mare Serenitatis

(middle left);

Mare Tranquillitatis

(lower left),

and Mare Crisium,

the dark circular feature

toward the bottom of the mosaic.

 

Also visible in this view

are the dark lava plains of the Marginis

and Smythii Basins at the lower right.

 

The Humboldtianum Basin,

a 650-kilometer (400-mile) impact structure

partly filled with dark volcanic deposits,

is seen at the center of the image.

 

The Moon's north pole

is located just inside the shadow zone,

about a third of the way

from the top left of the illuminated region.

 

Nasa

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Featured_picture_candidates/December-2006

http://grin.hq.nasa.gov/IMAGES/LARGE/GPN-2000-000473.jpg

http://grin.hq.nasa.gov/ABSTRACTS/GPN-2000-000473.html

 

NASA Center: Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Image # : PIA00130

Date : 12/14/1992


Added 26.4.2007

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Featured_picture_candidates/December-2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NYT        August 7, 2006

Scientists Chip Away at Mysteries of the Moon        NYT        8.8.2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/08/science/space/08moon.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This detailed geologic map of Schrödinger basin,

which formed when a huge object struck the moon,

reveals a patchwork of lunar material,

including the peak ring (inner brown ring),

recent volcanic activity (red),

cratering (yellow)

and plains material (dark green and kelly green).

 

Credit: NASA/Scott Mest

 

The Moon Puts on Camo

08.30.2010 -

A new geologic map of the moon's Schrödinger basin

paints an instant, camouflage-colored portrait

of what a mash-up the moon's surface

is after eons of violent events.

 

The geologic record at Schrödinger is still relatively fresh

because the basin is only about 3.8 billion years old;

 

this makes it the moon's second-youngest large basin

(it's roughly 320 kilometers, or 200 miles, in diameter).

 

NASA

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/LRO/news/camo-moon.html

 

Related

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/sep/17/map-moon-craters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

moon         UK / USA

 

https://www.theguardian.com/science/moon

 

 

https://www.npr.org/2019/10/23/
772742561/the-dark-side-of-the-moon

 

https://www.npr.org/2019/07/13/
735314929/the-camera-that-went-to-the-moon-and-changed-how-we-see-it

 

https://www.npr.org/2019/07/12/
736617703/as-america-celebrates-apollo-a-new-moon-race-is-underway

 

https://www.npr.org/2019/07/07/
734474121/as-nasa-aims-for-the-moon-an-aging-space-station-faces-an-uncertain-future

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/13/
science/moon-moonquakes-tectonic.html

 

https://www.npr.org/2019/02/21/
696129505/how-do-you-preserve-history-on-the-moon

 

https://www.theguardian.com/science/audio/2019/jan/11/
exploring-the-far-side-of-the-moon-science-weekly-podcast

 

 

 

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2017/08/02/
540914751/from-family-snapshots-to-nasa-photos-archivists-aim-to-solve-preservation-puzzle

 

 

 

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/28/us/
ewen-whitaker-dies-nasa-moon-mapping.html

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/10/15/
498081878/look-up-the-moon-is-going-to-be-amazing-this-weekend

 

 

 

 

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/aug/06/
dark-side-of-the-moon-captured-by-nasa-satellite-16m-kilometres-from-earth

 

 

 

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/09/
science/revisiting-the-moon.html

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/31/science/space/the-moon-
is-slightly-flat-scientists-say.html

 

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/jun/05/moon-
impact-collision-apollo-mission-rocks-mars

 

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/feb/24/meteorite-moon-
largest-lunar-impact-recorded

 

 

 

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/sep/17/map-moon-craters

 

 

 

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/1969/jul/21/spaceexploration.archive1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

dark side of the moon        UK

 

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/aug/06/
dark-side-of-the-moon-captured-by-nasa-satellite-16m-kilometres-from-earth

 

 

 

 

moonscapes        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/24/
science/space-photos.html

 

 

 

 

earthrise        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/24/
science/space-photos.html

 

 

 

 

"supermoon"        UK / USA

 

A perigee moon is visible

when the moon's orbit position

is at its closest point to Earth

during a full moon phase,

making the so-called super moon

look larger than normal.

 

The closest and therefore

the biggest and brightest

full moon of the year.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/science/gallery/2016/nov/14/
supermoon-in-pictures

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/11/13/
501854717/closest-supermoon-since-1948-arrives-monday-tips-on-seeing-and-photographing-it

https://www.theguardian.com/science/video/2016/nov/10/
what-is-the-supermoon-the-science-behind-the-lunar-wonder-video-explainer

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/10/15/
498081878/look-up-the-moon-is-going-to-be-amazing-this-weekend

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/09/25/
443402306/sundays-lunar-eclipse-has-got-it-all

http://www.theguardian.com/science/gallery/2015/aug/30/
first-supermoon-2015-in-pictures

 

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/sep/09/
-sp-10-things-you-should-know-about-the-supermoon

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2014/08/
supermoon_photographs_from_around_the_world.html

http://www.theguardian.com/science/gallery/2014/aug/10/
supermoon-skies-perigee-around-the-world-in-pictures

http://www.theguardian.com/science/video/2014/jul/13/
supermoon-world-video

 

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2013/06/supermoon_2013.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/gallery/2013/jun/23/supermoon-elliptical-orbit-world-in-pictures

 

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2012/05/supermoon_the_perigee_moon_of.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/gallery/2012/may/06/supermoon-rises-in-pictures

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/may/05/supermoon-lunar-close-pass

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/gallery/2011/mar/20/super-moon-in-pictures

 

 

 

 

blood moon        USA

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/09/25/
443402306/sundays-lunar-eclipse-has-got-it-all

 

 

 

 

super blood moon        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/26/
science/super-blood-moon-to-make-last-appearance-until-2033.html

 

 

 

 

super blue blood moon        UK

https://www.theguardian.com/science/video/2018/jan/30/
what-is-the-super-blue-blood-moon-video

 

 

 

 

super blue blood moon        USA

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/01/30/
581890038/wednesdays-rare-super-blue-blood-moon-how-to-see-it-and-what-we-can-learn

 

 

 

 

 

moon's crust        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/dec/18/
nasa-crashes-twin-probes-into-moon

 

 

 

 

 sending a humanoid robot to the Moon        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/02/
science/space/02robot.html

 

 

 

 

Nasa's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

 

Map of moon's craters

reveals our satellite's cataclysmic past        UK        2010

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/sep/17/
map-moon-craters

 

 

 

 

Boston Globe > Big Picture        USA

Images from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO),

launched in June, 2009

http://lunar.gsfc.nasa.gov/

 

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/01/
images_from_the_lunar_reconnai.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Mr. Young moving across the surface

during the Apollo 16 mission, April 1972.

 

Credit Charles M. Duke Jr./NASA

 

John Young, Who Led First Space Shuttle Mission, Dies at 87

By RICHARD GOLDSTEIN        NYT        JAN. 6, 2018

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/06/obituaries/john-young-dead.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

walk on the moon        USA

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/01/16/
505928876/gene-cernan-last-man-to-walk-on-the-moon-dies-at-82

 

 

 

 

moonwalk        USA

https://www.npr.org/2019/02/21/
696129505/how-do-you-preserve-history-on-the-moon

 

 

 

 

moonwalkers        USA

 

http://www.npr.org/2017/06/26/
533830775/moonwalkers-apollo-11-capsule-gets-needed-primping-for-its-star-turn-on-earth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alfred Merrill Worden    1932-2020        USA

 

While two Apollo 15 crewmen

roamed the lunar surface on a scientific mission,

he took valuable photographs from the space capsule.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/18/
science/space/al-worden-dead.html

 

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/18/
science/space/al-worden-dead.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Young    1930-2018

 

John W. Young (...)

walked on the moon,

commanded

the first space shuttle mission

and became the first person

to fly in space six times

 

(...)

 

Mr. Young joined NASA

in the early years

of manned spaceflight

and was still flying, at age 53,

in the era of space shuttles.

 

He was the only astronaut

to fly in the Gemini, Apollo

and shuttle programs.

 

He was also chief of NASA’s

astronauts office for 13 years

and a leading executive

at the Johnson Space Center

in Houston.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/06/obituaries/john-young-dead.html

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/06/obituaries/john-young-dead.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

astronaut Alan L. Bean

- the fourth man to walk on the Moon        USA

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/25/us/
25astronaut.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

moonrise

 

 

 

 

full moon        UK

https://www.theguardian.com/science/shortcuts/2012/nov/21/
the-full-moon-pass-notes 

 

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2008/dec/13/
astronomy-space-full-moon

 

 

 

 

full moon        USA

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/02/11/
514688792/photos-green-comet-snow-moon-and-eclipse-make-for-a-space-trifecta

 

 

 

 

snow moon        USA

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/02/11/
514688792/photos-green-comet-snow-moon-and-eclipse-make-for-a-space-trifecta

 

 

 

 

perigee        UK

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2008/dec/13/
astronomy-space-full-moon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

USA > Apollo missions        UK

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/dec/16/
apollo-legacy-moon-space-riley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

USA > Nasa's Apollo missions – in pictures        UK

 

http://www.theguardian.com/science/gallery/2015/oct/06/
nasa-apollo-missions-in-pictures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

USA > Apollo missions through the astronaut's eyes        UK

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/gallery/2009/may/28/
apollo-moon-landing-astronauts?picture=348195743

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

USA > NASA > Apollo 17        1972

 

The lunar landing site

was the Taurus-Littrow highlands

and valley area.

 

This site was picked for Apollo 17

as a location

where rocks both older and younger

than those previously returned

from other Apollo missions,

as well as from Luna 16 and 20 missions,

might be found.

https://science.ksc.nasa.gov/history/apollo/apollo-17/apollo-17.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apollo 15 mission > July 26, 1971 - August 7

 

Apollo 15 was the ninth crewed mission

in the United States' Apollo program,

and the fourth to land on the Moon.

 

It was the first J mission,

with a longer stay on the Moon

and a greater focus on science

than earlier landings.

Apollo 15 saw the first use

of the Lunar Roving Vehicle.

 

The mission began on July 26, 1971,

and ended on August 7,

the lunar surface exploration

taking place between July 30 and August 2.

 

Commander David Scott

and Lunar Module Pilot James Irwin

landed near Hadley Rille

and explored the local area using the rover,

allowing them to travel further from the lunar module

than had been possible on previous missions.

 

They spent 18​1⁄2 hours

on the Moon's surface

on extravehicular activity (EVA),

and collected 170 pounds (77 kg)

of surface material.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_15

 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_15

 

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/18/
science/space/al-worden-dead.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

USA > Apollo 14 mission        1971

 

the lunar module Antares (...)

landed on 5 Feb 1971.

 

Their mission was to deploy

scientific instruments

and perform a communications test,

as well as photograph the lunar surface

and any deep-space phenomena,

Nasa said.

 

Mitchell and Shephard

set mission records

for time of the longest distance

traversed on the lunar surface,

the largest payload

returned from the moon,

and the longest lunar stay time,

at 33 hours.

 

They were also the first

to transmit colour TV

from the moon.

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/feb/06/
astronaut-edgar-mitchell-sixth-man-on-moon-dies-aged-86

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/06/
science/space/edgar-d-mitchell-sixth-moonwalking-astronaut-dies-at-85.html

 

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/feb/06/
astronaut-edgar-mitchell-sixth-man-on-moon-dies-aged-86

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apollo 13        April 1970        UK / USA

 

Apollo 13,

scheduled

to be the third

lunar landing,

was launched

at 1313 Houston time

on Saturday,

April 11, 1970

 

'Houston,

we have a problem'

http://www.hq.nasa.gov/pao/History/SP-350/ch-13-1.html

 

https://www.hq.nasa.gov/pao/History/SP-350/ch-13-1.html

 

 

https://www.npr.org/2019/06/30/
737327895/former-nasa-flight-director-gene-kranz-restores-mission-control-in-houston

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/oct/25/
nasa-space-astronaut-houston-therapy

 

http://houstonstrategies.blogspot.com/2005/03/
houston-we-have-problem.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mission control    Houston, Texas

 

https://www.npr.org/2019/06/30/
737327895/former-nasa-flight-director-gene-kranz-restores-mission-control-in-houston

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apollo 12        1969        UK / USA

 

second moon landing in 1969.

 

https://www.npr.org/2019/11/19/
780602012/50-years-ago-americans-made-the-2nd-moon-landing-why-doesnt-anyone-remember

 

 

 

 

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/may/30/
alan-bean-obituary

 

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/05/26/
514228407/alan-bean-apollo-astronaut-who-walked-on-the-moon-has-died-at-86

 

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/may/26/
astronaut-alan-bean-fourth-person-walk-on-moon-dies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moon > Apollo 11

First lunar landing

20 July 1969

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moon > Apollo 10

Testing the Lunar Module in lunar orbit

10-18 May 1969

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moon > Apollo 8

First human journey to another world

21-27 December 1968

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

USA > Apollo flights / The Apollo program        USA

https://history.nasa.gov/apollo.html 

 

 

 

 

USA > Apollo program        USA

https://www.nytimes.com/topic/subject/apollo-program 

 

 

 

 

In a speech

to a joint session

of the US Congress

on 25 May 1961,

President John F Kennedy

sets the goal,

"before this decade is out,

of landing a man on the moon

and returning him safely

to the Earth"        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/audio/2009/jul/02/
kennedy-speech-moon-apollo

 

 

 

 

Google > Maps > Moon

https://www.google.com/moon/ 

 

 

 

 

NASA > Moon > Images        USA

https://spaceplace.nasa.gov/gallery-earth/en/#moon 

 

 

 

 

NASA > Images > The mineral Moon        USA

http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_819.html

 

 

 

 

NASA > Moon, Mars and beyond        USA

https://www.nasa.gov/topics/journeytomars/index.html

 

 

 

 

moon base        UK / USA

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/2006-12-04-
nasa-moon-base_x.htm

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2006/dec/05/
spaceexploration.internationalnews 

 

 

 

 

map / map

 

 

 

 

moon-mapping probes        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/dec/18/
nasa-crashes-twin-probes-into-moon

 

 

 

 

LCROSS orbiter / probe        UK / USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/10/science/space/10moon.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2009/oct/08/nasa-moon-lcross-water-crater

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/oct/07/moon-lcross-nasa-mission

 

 

 

 

Smart-1 probe        2006

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2006/sep/04/
spaceexploration.uknews 

 

 

 

 

lunar landing

 

 

 

 

lunar lander        UK

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/2006-12-04-nasa-moon-base_x.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Boston Globe > Big Picture

Lunar eclipse of December 10, 201        USA        December 12, 2011

 

The longest lunar eclipse

in over ten years

animated the night sky

on December 10.

 

The red hue

resulted from the sun's light

passing through the earth's

atmosphere.

 

Viewers in Asia

had the best view of the total eclipse,

while those watching in Europe

saw part of it at moonrise,

and North Americans

caught part of it as the moon set.

 

It was not visible

in South America or Antarctica.

 

The next total eclipse

will occur in 2014.

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2011/12/
lunar_eclipse_of_december_10_2.html

 

 

 

 

Lunar eclipse

viewed from around the world - in pictures        UK        June 2011

Skywatchers

from Brussels to Beirut

turn their gaze

to the moon

as it turns red

during the eclipse

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/gallery/2011/jun/16/
lunar-eclipse-moon-gallery-pictures

 

 

 

 

total lunar eclipse        February 2008

 

During the eclipse,

the Earth lined up directly

between the Sun and the Moon,

casting Earth's shadow

over the Moon.

http://www.reuters.com/news/pictures/slideshow?
collectionId=1597&galleryName=All%20Collections#a=1

http://www.reuters.com/article/scienceNews/idUSL2028499420080221 

 

 

 

 

lunar eclipse

- the earth prevents the sun’s rays

from reaching the moon

http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/eclipse/index.html

http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/eclipse/dec20-21_eclipse.html

http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/OH/OH2010.html#LE2010Dec21T

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/solar/lunecl.html

 

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/gallery/2010/dec/21/moon-solar-eclipse

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/12/
101220-lunar-eclipse-winter-solstice-2010-science-shortest-day-first/

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/20/are-you-watching-tonights-eclipse/

 

 

 

 

partial lunar eclipse

 

 

 

 

total lunar eclipse / syzygy         UK

 

a total lunar eclipse

due to a perfect alignment

of the sun, Earth and the moon,

otherwise known as a syzygy

http://www.theguardian.com/science/gallery/2014/apr/15/
blood-moon-lunar-eclipse-in-pictures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

water on the moon        UK / USA

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/07/24/
539066277/a-new-study-shows-the-moons-interior-could-contain-water

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/27/opinion/l27moon.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/20/opinion/20marshall.html

 

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2008/jul/10/spaceexploration.usa

 

 

 

 

pop music > lunar tunes        UK

https://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2009/jul/20/
moon-eclipses-sun-pop 

 

 

 

 

lunar art > iconic works inspired by the moon        UK

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2009/jul/21/
moon-art-exhibitions-history

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York Times (1857-Current file); Oct 23, 1968;

ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2003)        pg. 1

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/science/schirraapollo.pdf 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Giant Leap to Nowhere

 

July 19, 2009

The New York Times

By TOM WOLFE

 

WELL, let’s see now ... That was a small step for Neil Armstrong, a giant leap for mankind and a real knee in the groin for NASA.

The American space program, the greatest, grandest, most Promethean — O.K. if I add “godlike”? — quest in the history of the world, died in infancy at 10:56 p.m. New York time on July 20, 1969, the moment the foot of Apollo 11’s Commander Armstrong touched the surface of the Moon.

It was no ordinary dead-and-be-done-with-it death. It was full-blown purgatory, purgatory being the holding pen for recently deceased but still restless souls awaiting judgment by a Higher Authority.

Like many another youngster at that time, or maybe retro-youngster in my case, I was fascinated by the astronauts after Apollo 11. I even dared to dream of writing a book about them someday. If anyone had told me in July 1969 that the sound of Neil Armstrong’s small step plus mankind’s big one was the shuffle of pallbearers at graveside, I would have averted my eyes and shaken my head in pity. Poor guy’s bucket’s got a hole in it.

Why, putting a man on the Moon was just the beginning, the prelude, the prologue! The Moon was nothing but a little satellite of Earth. The great adventure was going to be the exploration of the planets ... Mars first, then Venus, then Pluto. Jupiter, Mercury, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus? NASA would figure out their slots in the schedule in due course. In any case, we Americans wouldn’t stop until we had explored the entire solar system. And after that ... the galaxies beyond.

NASA had long since been all set to send men to Mars, starting with manned fly-bys of the planet in 1975. Wernher von Braun, the German rocket scientist who had come over to our side in 1945, had been designing a manned Mars project from the moment he arrived. In 1952 he published his Mars Project as a series of graphic articles called “Man Will Conquer Space Soon” in Collier’s magazine. It created a sensation. He was front and center in 1961 when NASA undertook Project Empire, which resulted in working plans for a manned Mars mission. Given the epic, the saga, the triumph of Project Apollo, Mars would naturally come next. All NASA and von Braun needed was the president’s and Congress’s blessings and the great adventure was a Go. Why would they so much as blink before saying the word?

Three months after the landing, however, in October 1969, I began to wonder ... I was in Florida, at Cape Kennedy, the space program’s launching facility, aboard a NASA tour bus. The bus’s Spielmeister was a tall-fair-and-handsome man in his late 30s ... and a real piece of lumber when it came to telling tourists on a tour bus what they were looking at. He was so bad, I couldn’t resist striking up a conversation at the end of the tour.

Sure enough, it turned out he had not been put on Earth for this job. He was an engineer who until recently had been a NASA heat-shield specialist. A baffling wave of layoffs had begun, and his job was eliminated. It was so bad he was lucky to have gotten this stand-up Spielmeister gig on a tour bus. Neil Armstrong and his two crew mates, Buzz Aldrin and Mike Collins, were still on their triumphal world tour ... while back home, NASA’s irreplaceable team of highly motivated space scientists — irreplaceable! — there were no others! ...anywhere! ... You couldn’t just run an ad saying, “Help Wanted: Experienced heat-shield expert” ... the irreplaceable team was breaking up, scattering in nobody knows how many hopeless directions.



How could such a thing happen? In hindsight, the answer is obvious. NASA had neglected to recruit a corps of philosophers.

From the moment the Soviets launched Sputnik I into orbit around the Earth in 1957, everybody from Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson on down looked upon the so-called space race as just one thing: a military contest. At first there was alarm over the Soviets’ seizure of the “strategic high ground” of space. They were already up there — right above us! They could now hurl thunderbolts down whenever and wherever they wanted. And what could we do about it? Nothing. Ka-boom! There goes Bangor ... Ka-boom! There goes Boston ... Ka-boom! There goes New York ... Baltimore ... Washington ... St. Louis ... Denver ... San Jose — blown away! — just like that.

Physicists were quick to point out that nobody would choose space as a place from which to attack Earth. The spacecraft, the missile, the Earth itself, plus the Earth’s own rotation, would be traveling at wildly different speeds upon wildly different geometric planes. You would run into the notorious “three body problem” and then some. You’d have to be crazy. The target would be untouched and you would wind up on the floor in a fetal ball, twitching and gibbering. On the other hand, the rockets that had lifted the Soviets’ five-ton manned ships into orbit were worth thinking about. They were clearly powerful enough to reach any place on Earth with nuclear warheads.

But that wasn’t what was on President Kennedy’s mind when he summoned NASA’s administrator, James Webb, and Webb’s deputy, Hugh Dryden, to the White House in April 1961. The president was in a terrible funk. He kept muttering: “If somebody can just tell me how to catch up. Let’s find somebody — anybody ... There’s nothing more important.” He kept saying, “We’ve got to catch up.” Catching up had become his obsession. He never so much as mentioned the rockets.

Dryden said that, frankly, there was no way we could catch up with the Soviets when it came to orbital flights. A better idea would be to announce a crash program on the scale of the Manhattan Project, which had produced the atomic bomb. Only the aim this time would be to put a man on the Moon within the next 10 years.

Barely a month later Kennedy made his famous oration before Congress: “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth.” He neglected to mention Dryden.

INTUITIVELY, not consciously, Kennedy had chosen another form of military contest, an oddly ancient and archaic one. It was called “single combat.”

The best known of all single combats was David versus Goliath. Before opposing armies clashed in all-out combat, each would send forth its “champion,” and the two would fight to the death, usually with swords. The victor would cut off the head of the loser and brandish it aloft by its hair.

The deadly duel didn’t take the place of the all-out battle. It was regarded as a sign of which way the gods were leaning. The two armies then had it out on the battlefield ... unless one army fled in terror upon seeing its champion slaughtered. There you have the Philistines when Little David killed their giant, Goliath ... and cut his head off and brandished it aloft by its hair (1 Samuel 17:1-58). They were overcome by a mad desire to be somewhere else. (The Israelites pursued and destroyed them.)

More than two millenniums later, the mental atmosphere of the space race was precisely that. The details of single combat were different. Cosmonauts and astronauts didn’t fight hand to hand and behead one another. Instead, each side’s brave champions, including one woman (Valentina Tereshkova), risked their lives by sitting on top of rockets and having their comrades on the ground light the fuse and fire them into space like the human cannonballs of yore.

The Soviets rocketed off to an early lead. They were the first to put an object into orbit around the Earth (Sputnik), the first to put an animal into orbit (a dog), the first to put a man in orbit (Yuri Gagarin). No sooner had NASA put two astronauts (Gus Grissom and Alan Shepard) into 15-minute suborbital flights to the Bahamas — the Bahamas! — 15 minutes! — two miserable little mortar lobs! — then the Soviets put a second cosmonaut (Gherman Titov) into orbit. He stayed up there for 25 hours and went around the globe 17 times. Three times he flew directly over the United States. The gods had shown which way they were leaning, all right!



At this point, the mental atmospheres of the rocket-powered space race of the 1960s and the sword-clanking single combat of ancient days became so similar you had to ask: Does the human beast ever really change — or merely his artifacts? The Soviet cosmo-champions beat our astro-champions so handily, gloom spread like a gas. Every time you picked up a newspaper you saw headlines with the phrase, SPACE GAP ... SPACE GAP ... SPACE GAP ... The Soviets had produced a generation of scientific geniuses — while we slept, fat and self-satisfied! Educators began tearing curriculums apart as soon as Sputnik went up, introducing the New Math and stressing another latest thing, the Theory of Self-Esteem.

At last, in February 1962, NASA managed to get a man into Earth orbit, John Glenn. You had to have been alive at that time to comprehend the reaction of the nation, practically all of it. He was up for only five hours, compared to Titov’s 25, but he was our ... Protector! Against all odds he had risked his very hide for ... us! — protected us from our mortal enemy! — struck back in the duel in the heavens! — showed the world that we Americans were born fighting and would never give up! John Glenn made us whole again!

During his ticker-tape parade up Broadway, you have never heard such cheers or seen so many thousands of people crying. Big Irish cops, the classic New York breed, were out in the intersections in front of the world, sobbing, blubbering, boo-hoo-ing, with tears streaming down their faces. John Glenn had protected all of us, cops, too. All tears have to do with protection ... but I promise not to lay that theory on you now. John Glenn, in 1962, was the last true national hero America has ever had.

There were three more Mercury flights, and then the Gemini series of two-man flights began. With Gemini, we dared to wonder if perhaps we weren’t actually pulling closer to the Soviets in this greatest of all single combats. But we held our breath, fearful that the Soviets’ anonymous Chief Designer would trump us again with some unimaginably spectacular feat.

Sure enough, the C.I.A. brought in sketchy reports that the Soviets were on the verge of a Moon shot.

NASA entered into the greatest crash program of all time, Apollo. It launched five lunar missions in one year, December 1968 to November 1969. With Apollo 11, we finally won the great race, landing a man on the Moon before the end of this decade and returning him safely to Earth.



Everybody, including Congress, was caught up in the adrenal rush of it all. But then, on the morning after, congressmen began to wonder about something that hadn’t dawned on them since Kennedy’s oration. What was this single combat stuff — they didn’t use the actual term — really all about? It had been a battle for morale at home and image abroad. Fine, O.K., we won, but it had no tactical military meaning whatsoever. And it had cost a fortune, $150 billion or so. And this business of sending a man to Mars and whatnot? Just more of the same, when you got right down to it. How laudable ... how far-seeing ... but why don’t we just do a Scarlett O’Hara and think about it tomorrow?

And that NASA budget! Now there was some prime pork you could really sink your teeth into! And they don’t need it anymore! Game’s over, NASA won, congratulations. Who couldn’t use some of that juicy meat to make the people happy? It had an ambrosial aroma ... made you think of re-election ....

NASA’s annual budget sank like a stone from $5 billion in the mid-1960s to $3 billion in the mid-1970s. It was at this point that NASA’s lack of a philosopher corps became a real problem. The fact was, NASA had only one philosopher, Wernher von Braun. Toward the end of his life, von Braun knew he was dying of cancer and became very contemplative. I happened to hear him speak at a dinner in his honor in San Francisco. He raised the question of what the space program was really all about.

It’s been a long time, but I remember him saying something like this: Here on Earth we live on a planet that is in orbit around the Sun. The Sun itself is a star that is on fire and will someday burn up, leaving our solar system uninhabitable. Therefore we must build a bridge to the stars, because as far as we know, we are the only sentient creatures in the entire universe. When do we start building that bridge to the stars? We begin as soon as we are able, and this is that time. We must not fail in this obligation we have to keep alive the only meaningful life we know of.

Unfortunately, NASA couldn’t present as its spokesman and great philosopher a former high-ranking member of the Nazi Wehrmacht with a heavy German accent.

As a result, the space program has been killing time for 40 years with a series of orbital projects ... Skylab, the Apollo-Soyuz joint mission, the International Space Station and the space shuttle. These programs have required a courage and engineering brilliance comparable to the manned programs that preceded them. But their purpose has been mainly to keep the lights on at the Kennedy Space Center and Houston’s Johnson Space Center — by removing manned flight from the heavens and bringing it very much down to earth. The shuttle program, for example, was actually supposed to appeal to the public by offering orbital tourist rides, only to end in the Challenger disaster, in which the first such passenger, Christa McAuliffe, a schoolteacher, perished.



Forty years! For 40 years, everybody at NASA has known that the only logical next step is a manned Mars mission, and every overture has been entertained only briefly by presidents and the Congress. They have so many more luscious and appealing projects that could make better use of the close to $10 billion annually the Mars program would require. There is another overture even at this moment, and it does not stand a chance in the teeth of Depression II.

“Why not send robots?” is a common refrain. And once more it is the late Wernher von Braun who comes up with the rejoinder. One of the things he most enjoyed saying was that there is no computerized explorer in the world with more than a tiny fraction of the power of a chemical analog computer known as the human brain, which is easily reproduced by unskilled labor.

What NASA needs now is the power of the Word. On Darwin’s tongue, the Word created a revolutionary and now well-nigh universal conception of the nature of human beings, or, rather, human beasts. On Freud’s tongue, the Word means that at this very moment there are probably several million orgasms occurring that would not have occurred had Freud never lived. Even the fact that he is proved to be a quack has not diminished the power of his Word.

July 20, 1969, was the moment NASA needed, more than anything else in this world, the Word. But that was something NASA’s engineers had no specifications for. At this moment, that remains the only solution to recovering NASA’s true destiny, which is, of course, to build that bridge to the stars.

 

Tom Wolfe is the author of “The Right Stuff,”

an account of the Mercury Seven astronauts.

One Giant Leap to Nowhere,
NYT,
18.7.2009,
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/19/opinion/19wolfe.html

 

 

 

 

 

Total lunar eclipse turns Moon red

 

Thu Feb 21, 2008
7:23am EST
Reuters

 

LONDON (Reuters) - Thousands of hopeful astronomers around the world tried to catch a glimpse of the year's only total lunar eclipse -- but those watching from Britain saw little more than cloud.

Watchers from the eastern United States saw it easily Wednesday night and had posted dozens of successful pictures on the Internet -- but by mid-morning none had been posted from Britain, where it should have been most visible between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. British time Thursday (10 p.m. and 11 p.m. EST Wednesday).

"It's been pretty grim," said John Mason, spokesman for the British Astronomical Association. "There were a couple of gaps in the cloud for a couple of seconds from where I was but nothing else."

During the eclipse, the Earth lined up directly between the Sun and Moon, covering the latter with the Earth's shadow. Depending on atmospheric conditions on Earth, the moon should have appeared blood red, rusty or grey.

The Royal Astronomical Society had promised a "spectacular sight", saying that unlike a solar eclipse it could be viewed without any special equipment.

But in the event, special equipment would have been unnecessary anyway. The next lunar eclipse will not be seen until December 2010.

"It's bad luck," said Royal Astronomical Society spokesman Robert Massey. "But it's always one of these things when you're watching from the UK."


(Reporting by Peter Apps)

    Total lunar eclipse turns Moon red, R, 21.2.2008,
    http://www.reuters.com/article/scienceNews/idUSL2028499420080221

 

 

 

 

 

Total Lunar Eclipse Early Tuesday

 

August 26, 2007
Filed at 7:48 p.m. ET
The New York Times
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

 

DENVER (AP) -- The Earth's shadow will creep across the moon's surface early Tuesday, slowly eclipsing it and turning it to shades of orange and red.

The total lunar eclipse, the second this year, will be visible in North and South America, especially in the West. People in the Pacific islands, eastern Asia, Australia and New Zealand also will be able to view it if skies are clear.

People in Europe, Africa or the Middle East, who had the best view of the last total lunar eclipse in March, won't see this one because the moon will have set when the partial eclipse begins at 4:51 a.m. EDT. The full eclipse will begin an hour later at 5:52 a.m. EDT.

An eclipse occurs when Earth passes between the sun and the moon, blocking the sun's light. It's rare because the moon is usually either above or below the plane of Earth's orbit.

Since the Earth is bigger than the moon, the process of the Earth's shadow taking a bigger and bigger ''bite'' out of the moon, totally eclipsing it before the shadow recedes, lasts about 3 1/2 hours, said Doug Duncan, director of the University of Colorado's Fiske Planetarium. The total eclipse phase, in which the moon has an orange or reddish glow, lasts about 1 1/2 hours.

The full eclipse will be visible across the United States, but East Coast viewers will only have about a half-hour to see it before the sun begins to rise and the moon sets. Skywatchers in the West will get the full show.

In eastern Asia, the moon will rise in various stages of eclipse.

During the full eclipse, the moon won't be completely dark because some light still reaches it around the edges of the Earth. The light is refracted as it passes through our atmosphere, scattering blue light -- which is why the sky is blue -- but sending reddish light onto the moon.

''When someone asks why is it (the moon) red, you can say because the sky is blue,'' Duncan said.

The next total lunar eclipse occurs Feb. 21, 2008, and will be visible from the Americas, Europe and Asia.

------

On the Net:

NASA Lunar Eclipse Page:

http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/
eclipse/LEmono/TLE2007Aug28/TLE2007Aug 28.html

Total Lunar Eclipse Early Tuesday,
NYT,
26.8.2007,
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP-Lunar-Eclipse.html

 

 

 

 

 

On This Day - April 18, 1970

From The Times archive

 

Nasa’s Moon mission became an ordeal

after an oxygen tank exploded,

cutting electricity, light and water supplies

when the craft was 200,000 miles from Earth.

The crew had to use the Sun to navigate,

landing in the Pacific Ocean four days later

 

Houston, April 17: The three Apollo 13 astronauts, Captain James Lovell, Mr Fred Haise and Mr John Swigart, were last night on board the recovery ship Iwo Jima after a perfect landing in the Pacific.

Within three minutes of the capsule landing in the sea helicopters were over it in what is probably the fastest recovery in the history of the space programme.

After the three men emerged from the helicopter on the ship’s deck a band played The Age of Aquarius. They will spend the night on board and fly to Samoa today. They were smiling but looked tired.

At a White House briefing President Nixon, defending the space programme, said hazards had to be expected. The failure did not cloud the programme’s future.

A review board has been set up to investigate the failure in the spacecraft.

Apollo 13’s emergency return journey to Earth ended with a splashdown at 19 hr 7min 46sec B.S.T. with complete accuracy four miles south of the recovery ship. The spacecraft entered the atmosphere 400,000 ft above the earth, its heat shield glowing white hot at 7,000F.

As it hurtled towards Earth at 25,000 miles an hour the command module skipped twice on the denser layers of the atmosphere like a stone across a pond.

For more than three tense minutes after re-entry the spacecraft was blacked out of radio contact by the friction it generated in the upper part of the atmosphere. Controllers at mission control waited anxiously for the first words that the astronauts had survived.

On This Day - April 18, 1970,
Times,
18.4.2005,
http://www.newsint-archive.co.uk/pages/main.asp

 

 

 

 

 

On This Day: March 25, 1965

From The Times archive

 

American space probe Ranger 9

took some of the first pictures of the Moon

which were broadcast back to Earth

 

AMERICA watched today when the Ranger 9 space probe to the moon sent back live pictures of its descent into the pock-marked crater Alphonsus, near the centre of the lunar face. For about 15 minutes, anyone with a television set could have an astronaut’s eye view of the landing, from 1,300 miles above the point of impact.

It was exciting, if frightening, sensation.

Ranger 9, the last of the photographing moon probes, was launched last Sunday afternoon from Cape Kennedy, Florida.

This morning it switched on its six television cameras and sent back to earth between 5,000 and 6,000 photographs and then landed four miles from the target point.

For the final minutes of its flight its electronic signals were converted into a form suitable for showing on ordinary television, giving millions of viewers an opportunity to see things which no human eye had ever before discerned.

The first picture, covering an area 500 miles square, showed three large flat craters. These were arranged in triangular formation, the crater Ptolemaeus, 85 miles in diameter, at the top; Alphonsus, 50 miles across, on the left and Albategnius, 60 miles wide, on the right.

At five minutes from impact, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration expert reminded us that “the Ranger spacecraft is falling towards the moon”. At a distance of 177 miles away, two minutes from impact, the surface looked like pumice stone, or a magnified view of the human skin. At one minute from impact, we were only 90 miles away and still the pictures were sharp and clear.

Then suddenly the screen went black. Ranger had done her work, landing 20 seconds later than intended.

On This Day: March 25, 1965,
Times,
25 March 2005,
http://www.newsint-archive.co.uk/pages/main.asp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Related > Anglonautes > Vocapedia

 

Moon > Apollo 11

First lunar landing

20 July 1969

 

 

Moon > Apollo 10

Testing the Lunar Module in lunar orbit

10-18 May 1969

 

 

Moon > Apollo 8

First human journey to another world

21-27 December 1968


 

 

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space, astronomy

 

 

 

 

 

Related > Anglonautes > History > 20th century > USA

 

Man on the moon - 20 July 1969

 

 

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