Apollo 11 40th Anniversery

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I’m six years old when Apollo 11 landed on the moon, the same age as my son Dan-dan is now. At age six, I’m still mixing up events in the real world with the Star Trek episodes that my older brother and sisters watch.

moon6I do clearly remember being woken up to see Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. It was the latest I had ever been up. I don’t remember who woke me up, or who else was watching on the TV in the family room, but I do remember seeing it. And I remember walking outside afterward with Dad to look at the moon. And I remember clearly the exact phase of the moon at that moment.

The John Kennedy Presidential Library has been running a real time website, with audio and visual effects, tracking the landing on the moon here. It’s been fun to keep the kids interested. And Dan-dan’s enormous attention span allows him to wait patiently through the loss of signal as Apollo 11 goes around the moon for the first time to when the signal is picked up again 20 minutes later.

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My personal feeling as this, exciting as this is, government sponsored manned space travel is a relic from the past. It’s enormously expensive, without real incentives to become more efficient. And the current programs serve no useful purpose (though it’s dang cool to watch the International Space Station whiz by on a dark night). Yes, I want man to go to Mars and the other planets as well, but it won’t happen without big changes. Free enterprise is the route to those changes. The future belongs to efforts like the Google Lunar X Prize, Virgin Galactic, Bigelow Aerospace and others.

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