Hey, folks. How’s things today? I hope you had a great weekend, and are having a good start to your week. Did you get a chance to have a look at the Moon last night? It was gorgeous rising into the evening, 99.3% fill and waxing. Remember, the bigger (huzzah!) show is tonight. It’ll be waning by the time we get a chance to see it—unless you’re lucky enough to be in Hawai’i where it’s still night now as I type these words that I am typing now—but it’ll look even bigger in the sky because it’ll be closer. No matter, it’ll be gorgeous.
Well, today’s a big day. Forty-seven years ago, at 11:22 A.M. Eastern time, November 14, 1969, Dick Gordon, Al Bean, and Pete Conrad sat atop their Saturn V rocket and rode a pile of smoke and fire to the Moon aboard Apollo 12. It’s an off-year anniversary for an often forgotten Moon mission, but these things are worth taking the time to look back on. The Apollo program was a world-wide, though admittedly, mostly American, thing; the absolute tops of science, engineering, teamwork, brainpower, muscle power, you name it. It’s one of those times when people from all over came together and achieved something incredible. What’s more, people even managed to achieve it six times! Nine if you count Apollo 8, 10, and 13 which flew to the Moon but didn’t land.
In honor of that, actually, in honor of last year’s 46th anniversary of Apollo 12, I put together this image, so I figured I’d share it again. With screenshots from Stellarium, it’s kind of how the Moon looked from Earth in the evenings of each of the Apollo landings, showing the giant yellow circle the astronauts painted on the surface of the Moon each time.
Even though I’m too young to remember these missions; the last of them, Apollo 17, splashed down before I was born, I still can’t look up at the Moon without thinking “We walked there.” It’s almost unbelievable, still seems like science fiction, and really reminds of what people can do if we look past all of the differences we have and, instead, to do something great.
If you have a chance when you look at the Moon tonight, maybe take an extra, extra second to imagine what it was like to be there. Or remember it was like to have been here when people were walking there. Maybe just say “wow.”
Clear skies, everyone; I’ll catch up with you later this week.