Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A day late and dollar short...

Once again, I missed the boat. I did not realize that yesterday was the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon walk. To be fair to myself, my parents hadn't even met at the time of the moon walk, so there was no chance of me sitting around reminiscing on where I was when it happened. And, as several articles have pointed out, Americans' interest in the space program has plummeted since the 1960s, to the degree I really don't pay attention anymore. 

But, regardless, that was a very important day and exponentially cool when you think about it, so I'm going to do a post today. Besides, now I have the benefit of being able to sift through all the stories about yesterday without missing any unique ones. : ) 

The photo to the left, from CNN.com, is part of a fun story about how a 10 year-old boy played an extremely important role in the landing of Apollo 11. Greg Force, the child of the Guam NASA Tracking Station director, was sitting at home when he was retrieved by a member of his father's staff to perform a task only a child could. The antenna that was supposed to receive the last transmission from the astronauts before they landed had broken, but Greg's father thought it could be fixed with a little grease. However, grown ups' arms were too big to reach into the hole to apply the grease. Enter Greg. 

USAToday.com has a story on Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, and Michael Collins' trip to the White House to meet with President Obama on the anniversary of the walk. Reading this article I realized there was a third astronaut up there. I don't know why it didn't occur to me that someone would have to "stay with the ship" as it were, but I just never thought about it. Can you imagine being the one guy who doesn't get famous from the moon walk? Well, yesterday he got his day in the sun as Obama praised the men for being "real American heroes." (Take that, GI Joe...)

Finally, computerworld.com had a fun little slideshow on the technologies we use today that were inspired by 1960's era NASA projects. If it weren't for the space program 40 years ago, we may never have had the Dustbuster...

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