Monday, July 20, 2009

Mission to the Moon

Hey, guys, it's the CARLMAN and do you know what today is? I'll give you a hint--it's an important milestone of humanity's exploration of space. 40 years ago this day, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped out of the Lunar Module and became the first human beings ever to walk on a surface outside of the earth. That's right--today marks the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon. There have been a lot of books published this year to commemorate the event but the best I've seen is Mission to the Moon by Alan Dyer. It tells an amazing story, from early moon myths to the invention of rockets to the whole Apollo space program and possible future plans for moon exploration. And there are the coolest photos!! There are pictures on the moon, of the different designs of spacesuits, inside the command module, and of the astronauts undergoing survival training in case they landed in the desert or jungle instead of the ocean! Plus there are all sorts of interesting facts about rockets, training the astronauts, and the moon itself. And it comes with a really interesting DVD of an old NASA film about Apollo 11. This is a fascinating book that I can't get enough of! CHECK IT OUT, GUYS! This is one you'll like a lot!

PS--here are a few interesting sidelights:

Did you know the astronauts had to spend a long time in quarantine after they returned? No one knew if they would pick up an alien germ that would wipe out life on earth!

There are some cool bonus features on the DVD. One of the best is the "Moon Walks" feature. It shows clips of other astronauts (there were six Apollo missions after Apollo 11) playing around on the moon! Yep, they couldn't resist jumping around or doing sharp turns with on the moon rover. It's good to know those astronauts did just what we would do if we were there! (Did you know some of them brought golf clubs and hit golf balls on the moon?)

Here's an amazing fact that no one mentions--we went to the moon and back on 1969 technology! Chew on that for a while.

One of the very coolest things in the book and on the DVD is watching that ENORMOUS Saturn 5 rocket blasting off.

I remember the moon landing. I was 13 when all this happened. The TV networks would always broadcast the blast offs and sometimes teachers would bring TV's into school so we could watch them. My family was on vacation that year and I saw Neil Armstrong step onto the moon from a TV set in a motel room in Oklahoma City.

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