Part 1 – Neil Trivia:
Meet Neil Armstrong! He was born in my hometown of Wapakoneta. His claim to fame – he was the first man to set foot on the moon. That was over 50 years ago, and I still can’t believe that someone from Wapakoneta could do something so history-making. Here are two trivia questions about Neil when he was16. Would you believe he was a school year away from graduation?!
1. Which license did Neil Armstrong earn first?
Driver’s license Pilot’s license
2. What did he start building a month later?
A Wind Tunnel A Generator
The answers . . .
1. Neil earned his pilot’s license first. He started taking lessons at age 15, and he paid for them himself! Neil worked at the local drug store, stocking and sweeping. He earned 40 cents an hour. When he turned 16 on August 5, 1946, Neil took his solo flight, and he earned his pilot’s license. He didn’t get his driver’s license until the following spring, just in time to drive to prom.
2. Neil built a wind tunnel. He had dreamed about it for years. He’d studied them in aeronautic magazines, taken notes on how they were put together and how they worked. Neil modeled his wind tunnel after the Wright Brothers, the ones who were the first in flight. BTW – Neil build his generator when he was in Boy Scouts in Upper Sandusky. He was probably in middle school, but it was definitely before he moved to Wapakoneta in 1944.
Sources of Information:
Neil Armstrong - Wikipedia
Neil A. Armstrong - Ohio History Central
Neil Armstrong’s Wind Tunnel Dream
By Me, Rinda Beach
Part 2 – Wind Tunnels – What are They? What do They Do? Why are They Important?
This is one of NASA’s wind tunnels. It’s 12 feet or 12 floor tiles long. It has a model of a D-11 airplane inside. It was made to scale so it’s a miniature version of the real plane. I think this picture of the wind tunnel was taken in January of 1996.
Why is it a wind tunnel? 1. It’s a large tube. 2. Large fans blow air through it. 3. The tube is used to test how a plane that’s anchored in the tunnel, reacts when wind moves around it. It’s the same reaction the plane would have when it’s flying through the sky.
Why are wind tunnels important? It’s easier and cheaper to test a model and correct the design before the real plane is built. Some tunnels are model-size, but there are some big enough for real planes and cars to fit inside.
This is one of the earliest wind tunnels. It helped Wilbur and Orville Wright design and fly the first airplane. Obviously the Wrights never put the real plane inside. But testing a scale model of the Wright Flyer in that wind tunnel, helped them get the real one off the ground.
The Wright Flyer was the first heavier-than-air powered plane to take flight. Wilbur and Orville flew it four times on December 17, 1903. They picked the sand dunes near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina so they’d have a softer landing pad. They hoped there’d be less damage to the plane, and fewer repairs.
The first flight took the plane 105 feet in 3.5 seconds. That’s 35 yards down a football field. Their best flight was the last one that day. It took the plane 852 feet in 59 seconds. That’s 284 yards or almost 3 football fields they flew over, and they stayed in the air for almost a minute. If you’d like to see the Wright Flyer, go to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C.
Take a look at this wind tunnel. The photo was taken in 1935 when it was part of a German aviation lab. I couldn’t find anything else about this wind tunnel, but I wanted to share it so you can see how big they can be. I’d love to walk inside, and take a look around.
This is a photo from 1990. It shows fan blades from a 16-foot transonic wind tunnel. Transonic means the plane reached or broke the sound barrier. Those flights used to get bumpy, but transonic wind tunnels helped make them smoother.
Look at the dark bar in the middle. Shift your eyes to the right. Then look for a person who’s walking around inside the tunnel. Can you imagine a fan blade that’s taller than you? I can’t!
Sorry, you can’t walk inside this tunnel any more. It was retired in 2004 from NASA’s Langley Research Center. I wonder what they have now.
Tomorrow - How I made a wind tunnel, and how you can make one too!
- Replica of the Wright brothers' wind tunnel: By The original uploader was Axda0002 at English Wikipedia. - Photographed by uploader, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3780674
- German Aviation Laboratory in 1935: By Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-17158 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5415574
Part 1 – This was me at the Mazza Museum on March 1st. It was a lovely day. Crowds enjoyed what this museum had to offer. It was their last open house before the Coronavirus shut everything down.
Mazza isn’t an ordinary museum. It’s extraordinary! It’s a museum just for picture book illustrations. I am not, nor will I ever illustrate them so I was thrilled to be invited to share NEIL ARMSTRONG’S WIND TUNNEL DREAM.
I brought my wind tunnel along. These kids were kind enough to get their pictures taken. I wish I had one when the wind tunnel was in action. Those kids were so excited to see it work. It was that way with every single kid who stopped to see it in action.
Part 2 – This is my wind tunnel on the dining room table. It’s almost as long as the table is. When kids stopped for a demonstration, I had them look at the red shape first, then peek in the window.
Look in the window below, and you’ll see a model airplane. It has a stick running through it. That’s to hold the model in place. It’s anchored in a cup of sand.
The red shape is a digital scale. When kids came over, I turned it on. The scale always started at 10 units, the weight of the sand/model. Then I reset it to 0, and took the kids to the end of the tunnel.
Not the one with the fan. I took them to the opposite end. It’s open. You can look down the tunnel past the model and into those black tubes. They’re really used in golf bags. You stick your club inside to protect them.
I had them look down the tunnel, then we went back to the scale. I told them to watch its numbers as I turned on the fan.
Every single time I turned on the fan, the number dropped below 0. Sometimes it went down to -2, to -5, even to -10. Then I asked the key question – what happened? How could the plane weigh less after I turned on the fan? The weight of the plane and sand never changed.
Part 3 – The answer in one word – LIFT! Did you figure it out? A first-grader did. He said, “The wind lifted the plane.” He saw it and explained it in simple clear words.
Here’s mine. It’s a little more complicated – when the plane lifted up, it shifted its weight up too, so the scale went down. It was an example of Newton’s law of motion in action – for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The plane goes up, and the scale goes down. Simple physics!
I think Neil would have loved seeing another wind tunnel in action. I hope I learned enough from researching Neil and wind tunnels to do a good job answering that first grader in March, and to write about it tonight. Wouldn’t it be lovely if that first grader, or a blog reader, wound up working in the space program? What a lovely dream!
Part 4 – The Mazza set up. I came in and got my station ready first. Then I took a walk around the building to see what the museum was going to offer its guests. There was an amazing range of activities,
I couldn’t leave my station, but I saw so many kids and their parents around me having a wonderful day, thanks to the Mazza volunteers.
This activity came from The University of Findlay College of Sciences. They took up half the room beside me with table after table set up like these two. Whenever I peeked over, I saw families engaged in science experiments. My only regret – I didn’t get to ask or try out their activities. I was curious before the kids got there, and I was still curious after they left.
This is a Rainy Day Craft, thanks to the University of Findlay Japanese Student. It’s so simple and cute. I think I could make it at home. I bet you could too!
This was one of the most popular places to visit, Pawsible Angels Therapy Dogs. Who doesn’t love dogs, and these two were so well trained!
Yum! They had snacks too! Rain drops and ice. And books, of course!
Mazza is a Picture Book Illustration Museum.
And best of all, I’m not an illustrator, but Neil and I were welcome too!
It was a thrilling day!
One of the best things about having a book for sale is getting to talk to people. I told them the stories I learned from my research about Neil Armstrong, and they shared theirs. Here are my six favorite stories:
TALE #1 - This is a small photo of the Saturn V rocket. Each of the nozzles in the center is bigger than me. I could stand inside one and not bump my head.
It took many people in many places to build the Saturn V. Since my book launch I’ve met several people who helped build it, and they were proud of being a part of history.
I talked to a lady whose father worked on the Saturn V rocket in Mexico. She remembered having no phone at home, but her dad still managed to get a call from NASA at work. All these years later she still couldn’t believe the technological power of NASA, and she was still proud of her dad’s contribution to Apollo 11.
Tale #2 – This story begins and ends at Neil’s boyhood home. It’s in the picture above. The plaque, below tells you the story of how Stephen and Viola Armstrong moved Neil, June, and Dean back to Wapak when Neil was 13.
Neil graduated from Wapak’s Blume High School three years later. If you enlarge the signs, you can read a summary of his life from the time he left Wapak to the end of his aviation career.
The first picture is the front side of Benton Street where the Armstrongs lived. The last picture is a shot down the alley behind the house. Now for the story from a Benton Street neighbor. It happened when Neil was an adult, probably before his NASA days. He was flying home to visit his parents and wanted to let them know when he got into Dayton.
Neil didn’t do it in the ordinary way, with a phone call! He would fly over the field behind his parents’ house. The plane would thunder past the houses and shake them, at least that’s how I heard the story. Then Neil would fly south to Dayton and drive an hour home to see his parents.
This is the Gardens. It opened in 1999 in the field behind Benton Street, long after Viola and Stephen moved out to my neighborhood in Oakwood Hills. By 1969 their street was renamed Armstrong Drive.
Looking at the Gardens today it’s still mostly field. A corner of the building is in the picture to the left. Grass, and trees lie beside it! I closed my eyes and imagined Neil flying overhead. I could hear the faint thunder of his plane and feel a slight rumble under my feet. I thought of Neil and smiled. He loved airplanes!
PS- If you’d like to look inside, click on this link to meet Karen Tullis the owner. You’ll even get to peek in her office, once Neil’s bedroom.
TALE #3 . . . a very small story. Today this is Home Stretch. They sell t-shirts, but from 1943 till 2000 it was Brown’s Restaurant. In the 60’s it was one of the few places to eat out in Wapak.
I met a former busboy from Brown’s at a book signing. He asked if I’d ever met Neil. I said no so he told me his story. He was clearing tables one night when he noticed a man who looked like Neil. He asked, and it was. That was the sum total of their conversation.
Neil is known in Wapak, and beyond, as a very private person. He kept a low profile, and that’s exactly what this busboy noticed, and now all these years later he still remembers his small conversation with Neil.
TALE #4 . . . a story about Neil’s dad. This story was told to me by Wapak Mayor Don Wittwer who was part of the team who put the 1969 parade together. I was curious about how they got Bob Hope. He was so famous back then. Don said someone in Wapak knew someone who knew Bob. They made the call, and he came. I guess it’s easy to get Bob Hope when it’s a parade for the first man to set foot onto the moon.
From 1955 - 1962 Neil was a test pilot which was a super dangerous job. Don Wittwer was at a meeting with Neil’s dad Stephen. He noticed Stephen was unusually quiet and tense. Later in the evening Stephen got a phone call. Afterwards he seemed more relaxed, more talkative. Later Don found out Neil had a test flight that day. The call was to say that the flight had gone well. I imagine it wasn’t the first time, or the last that Neil’s parents worried about his safety.
TALE #5 . . . the story of a photograph. I met the photographer who took this picture. I was doing a book signing at Riverside Arts and chatting with him. He asked me to Google ‘Neil Armstrong paper airplane.’ I thought it was an odd request, but it seemed harmless. It was.
This picture came up. It was taken in 1974 by one of Neil’s students at the University of Cincinnati. The man I was talking to was THAT student 40 years ago. He’s still proud of his photo, and of the fact it comes up first on Google.
Here are two links for you . The first is on Pinterest, and it’s just the photo. The second is from the university magazine. It tells you a little about the picture setting and the photographer. He never introduced himself, but he bought a book that I was thrilled to autograph. How often do you meet someone who had Neil as a teacher? Now I’d like to introduce you to Ralph Spitzen, UC graduate, Neil’s student, and Pinterest photographer.
Pinterest Link: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/c7/d7/c8/c7d7c8ff957cd2bcfa87cffaa79d2d52.jpg
UC Magazine: https://magazine.uc.edu/issues/1011/oncampusyesterday.html
TALE #6 . . . the final story – a salute to Neil from his son and granddaughter. I couldn’t find a picture of Mark or Kali in the parade, but I found this one with the Navy band. Neil spent 3 years as a Navy flier, and it was an important part of his journey to the moon.
I missed the parade, but a Wapak friend told me to google Neil Armstrong’s granddaughter. I did, and I found a video of Kali Armstrong singing the song her dad wrote to honor her grandfather. The link is below.
Under it is another one for First on the Moon. They’re the people who organized a year’s worth of fun for the community. The site has two great videos. The first will give you a taste of what Wapak was like this summer.
The second one is near the bottom. It’s a clip from ‘So You Think You Can Dance.” A hometown boy was on the show, and we all loved listening to their attemps to say our name, Wapakoneta. Enjoy!
Song Link: https://kryptonradio.com/2019/07/17/listen-to-neil-armstrongs-granddaughter-sing-flight-of-fancy/
First on the Moon Link: https://www.firstonthemoon.org
Timeline: Blast-off for a Trip to the Moon
7:45AM – The closeout crew sealed the hatch, and they purged and pressurized the cabin to make it safe for launch. That means the cabin was explosion-free.
8:30 AM - The closeout crew left the launch pad.
9:32 AM – Apollo 11 launched.
9:35 AM - The 1st stage engines shut down and dropped into the ocean.
9:41 AM – The 2nd stage rockets cut-off and fell into the ocean.
9:44 AM – Apollo 11 entered the earth’s orbit.
12:22 PM - After circling the earth 1-1/2 times, they fired the 3rd stage engine sending Columbia on its way to the moon.
12:52 PM – Michael Collins separated Apollo from the 3rd stage rocket. He turned Columbia
(command module) around and parked its nose next to the Eagle (lunar module). The discarded rocket was thrown into an orbit around the sun so it wouldn’t run into Eagle or Columbia.
My source for the dates and times is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_11. I converted the time to Eastern Standard, hopefully correctly, to make things easier for you. I didn’t see any events for July 17th or 18th. My guess is that the Apollo astronauts kept Columbia ship-shape, talked to NASA Mission Control in Houston, and monitored conditions aboard their spaceship.
July 19th - 1:22 PM Apollo sailed behind the moon, then fired its engine to begin lunar orbit. They circled the moon 30 more times, and they scanned the surface for the Sea of Tranquility.
July 20th - 8:52 AM - Neil and Buzz climbed into the Eagle and prepared to leave Columbia behind.
1:44 PM – Eagle and Columbia separated. Eagle made a spin so Michael could check to make sure the spaceship wasn’t damaged and that its landing gear was correctly positioned. It was!
As Eagle headed towards the moon, the two astronauts noticed they were passing landmarks 2-3 seconds early. Eagle was moving too fast, and it would land miles west of their target.
Five minutes into the descent and 6000 feet above the moon, about a mile, an alarm went off. It signaled that the computer couldn’t do all its jobs on time so its software postponed a few. Eagle continued downward.
Neil focused again on the landing target – it was covered in boulders. He took partial control of the Eagle. Buzz called out navigation info. At 250 feet Buzz saw a crater in the new landing site. At 100 feet, the fuel supply was dwindling, and they had to land soon. The astronauts had 90 seconds of fuel left before they crashed. Dust was kicking up, and it was hard to see, but Neil used some large rocks to guide him.
A few seconds later a probe hanging from the footpads of the lunar module touched the moon, setting off a light. Neil was supposed to shut down the engine, but he forgot. The NASA engineers were afraid Eagle’s exhaust would cause an explosion. It didn’t! Three seconds later Eagle landed, and Neil shut down the engine. They had only 25 seconds of fuel left.
4:17 PM – A second later, Neil said, “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.” Ground Control said, “Roger, Twan – Tranquility, we copy you on the ground. You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We’re breathing again. Thanks a lot!
Dr. Robert Bryant from NASA sent me the video link below. Neil will take you through the
last 3-1/2 minutes of the moon landing. The screen will split in two. You’ll see what the astronauts saw on their way down. You’ll also see what Google could show us in 2011. https://www.lpi.usra.edu/lunar/documents/moonLanding/https://www.lpi.usra.edu/lunar/documents/moonLanding/
Timeline: Prepping for a Moonwalk
6:47 PM – Buzz radioed NASA for a pre-approved message. He asked listeners to take a moment to think about the landing. Then he asked everyone to give thanks. Buzz did – by taking communion privately.
7:43 PM - Neil and Buzz started getting ready for their moonwalk. On Earth it took 2 hours. On the moon, 3-1/2. Then they depressurized Eagle.
10:39 PM - Eagle’s hatch opened. Neil, in a space suit, struggled to squeeze out the door. Would
you believe the two astronauts had their highest heart rates going in and out of that hatch?
10: 51 PM - Neil climbed down the ladder, but he couldn’t see his feet. Why not? The camera remote control that he wore blocked his view. The shots were grainy, but Neil got them.
10: 56 PM - Neil stepped off the ladder and said “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for
mankind.” Neil planned to say ‘a man,’ but either he slurred the words, or the camera did. Recent study says camera static caused the omission.
11:03 PM - Neil collected a soil sample and put it in the pocket of his space suit, in case of
emergency. One of the mission’s key jobs was to figure out what the moon was made of.
11:15 PM - Neil picked up the camera and took a sweeping shot of the moon. Then he put it on a tripod. Buzz climbed down the ladder. His comment, “Magnificent Desolation.”
Then the two astronauts tested the moon’s gravity. It is 1/6 of the Earth’s. Neil said it was easier than their practice sessions on Earth. Two small problems, they felt like they were constantly tipping backwards, and the ground was a little slippery, but the astronauts kept their balance. Loping along was the best way to move, but they had to plan their path 6-7 steps ahead.
Then the astronauts planted the flag in front of the camera. Buzz hoped nothing would go wrong, but the flagpole only went a couple inches into the ground. Buzz was afraid it’d fall over in front of their worldwide audience. He saluted it, and then President Richard Nixon’s voice came on the telephone-radio system. He said it was “the most historic phone call ever made from the White House.” He made a short speech, following the advice of astronaut, Frank Borman.
Then the astronauts had another 30 minutes on the moon. They set up an experiment to measure moonquakes. They also took pictures and
gathered soil samples, but time was flying so they stopped labeling them. Neil was moving so fast, and his metabolic rates were so high, that Mission Control sent him a coded message to slow down.
Their body rates remained low so NASA gave the astronauts 15 more minutes. That first moonwalk was limited in time and distance because NASA didn’t know how much water their bodies would need to control their temperature.
Buzz went back inside the Eagle first. They used a pulley to get their 48 pounds of soil on board. Then Neil reminded Buzz to throw down the memorial
bag. It honored the fallen astronauts from Apollo 1 and Soviet cosmonauts Vladimir Komarov and Yuri Gagarin. It also included a gold olive branch, and goodwill statements from leaders around the world. Then Neil climbed aboard, and they turned on the LM life support. To lighten liftoff, they threw out the life support backpacks, their moonboots, the empty camera, and some other equipment.
1:11 AM - They closed the hatch, pressurized the LM, and tried to sleep. After 7 hours of rest, at about 8AM, Mission Control in Houston woke the astronauts to get ready to return home. It took
about 2-1/2 hours to get ready. Somewhere in my account or Wikipedia’s, my time is off. It should have been about 10:30 AM.
Also, sometime during that 7 hours, Buzz accidentally bumped and damaged a circuit breaker to the main engine, the one that’d lift them off the moon. Everyone was terrified, but sticking a felt-tip pen in the circuit saved the day.
1:54 PM - The Eagle lifted off, the silver ascent stage only. They left the red descent stage on the
moon. As they left, Buzz caught sight of it being whipped around by their exhaust – then – the flag toppled over.
Next up: the return home.
BTW – this is a famous picture from that 1st moon landing. It is the only picture where you can send both astronauts. Neil took the picture of Buzz in the spacesuit , and Neil is reflected in Buzz’s helmet.
Timeline: Time to return home to Earth
July 20th – 21st - When Eagle left, Michael Collins was alone making solo orbits around the moon. He wasn’t lonely, even though he was out of radio contact every time he passed the far side of the moon. Michael was busy with housekeeping jobs that would get everyone home.
His first was to find Eagle. Michael knew it was about 4 miles off target, but he never found it. He also did maintenance jobs, like dumping extra water the fuel cells made and preparing the cabin for Eagle’s return.
On his third orbit around the Moon, Mission Control warned Michael about the coolant temperature. If it got too cold, parts of Columbia would freeze. They wanted him to switch to manual control and implement procedure 17, but Michael switched to manual and back to automatic again.
Michael did chores and kept an eye on the temperature. By the end of the next orbit, the problem resolved itself. While Neil and Buzz moon-walked, Michael relaxed.
Then he slept. He needed to be ready to rendezvous with Eagle, but he was ready to fly down to get them, just in case.
July 21st - 5:24 PM Eagle and Columbia met each other, and by 5:35 they reconnected. No problems!
7:41 PM Eagle’s silver ascent stage, was jettisoned off to orbit the moon. Eventually its orbit decayed, and it fell to earth. No sorry, to the moon!
July 23rd – the astronauts made one last TV broadcast. Michael thanked the people who built and tested the Saturn 5 rocket. It was an incredibly complicated piece of machinery, and it worked as expected.
Buzz commented that there were more than 3 men on their spaceship. Government and industry helped it fly. Then he read from Psalms to acknowledge God’s role. “When I consider the heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the Moon and the stars which Thou hast ordained; What is man that Thou art mindful of him?”
Neil thanked the American people and government for believing that man could go to the moon. He thanked those who put their hearts, and their talents into the
Saturn rocket. He finished with, “To all the people that are listening and watching tonight, God bless you. Good night from Apollo 11.”
The astronauts were due to splash down on the 24th, but there were a couple problems to solve first. A bearing at the Guam tracking station failed. It would have stopped communication for the last part of the trip. It couldn’t be repaired in time so station
director Charles Force had his 10-year-old son Greg reach inside the housing and pack it full of grease. It worked! Neil sent Greg a thank you.
The next problem, Air Force Captain Hank Brandli had access to top secret spy satellites. They showed a storm front headed to the recovery area. It would make it hard to see Columbia, and winds would shred its parachutes. Two Navy commanders believed him. They put
their careers at risk and convinced NASA to move the recovery area 215 nautical miles to the northeast.
Changing the recovery area also changed Columbia’s flight plan and the sequence of its computer program. The Navy had the Hornet in position.
July 24th – Before dawn the Hornet launched 4 helicopters and 3 tracer planes.
12:44 PM – The helicopters spotted Columbia’s parachutes.
12: 52 PM - Columbia splashed down 1440 nautical miles east of Wake Island. It landed upside down. Navy divers attached flotation collars and a sea anchor. It took 10 minutes to right the capsule. Rafts were launched to get the astronauts.
The divers gave the astronauts biological isolation garments. They rubbed the astronauts down with a bleach solution. After the astronauts and divers were aboard the helicopters, the raft was sunk, on purpose. NASA was worried about moon
germs. They even wiped Columbia down with a disinfectant.
1:53 PM - The helicopter took the astronauts to the Hornet’s hangar bay where they walked into the Mobile Quarantine Facility. That’s where they finished the 21 days of quarantine that began when Eagle and Columbia reconnected in space.
President Nixon was already aboard the Hornet, ready to welcome the astronauts back. He thanked them, “As a result of what you’ve done, the world has never been closer.”
After the president left, Hornet used a crane to lift the 5-ton Columbia space capsule aboard. Then they moved it down beside the astronauts’ quarantine unit.
The Hornet sailed onto Pearl Harbor, Hawaii where the astronauts and their quarantine unit were loaded aboard a cargo plane and flown to Houston.
July 28th - 6AM The astronauts arrived at Houston’s Lunar Receiving Laboratory for their final days of quarantine.
July 30th – Columbia was flown to the Lunar Receiving Lab in Houston after it finished its checkup on Ford Island and Hickham Air Force Base in Hawaii.
August 10th - The Interagency Committee met in Atlanta and lifted the quarantine on the 3 astronauts, their physician, engineer and on Columbia itself.
Timeline: Time to Celebrate!
August 13 – This is the ticker-tape parade in New York for Neil, Buzz, and Michael. There was another one in Chicago that day. About six million people attended the two parades.
That night President Nixon held a state dinner in Los Angeles to celebrate Apollo 11. Members of Congress were there, 44 governors, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Vice President, and ambassadors from 83 nations. It must have been dazzling to the astronauts who’d just come out of quarantine.
President Nixon and Vice President Agnew presented each astronaut with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It’s the picture to the left.
September 6 – Neil came home to Wapak for a parade. I was there! I was 10. I don’t remember the heat, or Neil. Sorry! I remember Bob Hope came, Tricia Nixon Cox (the president’s daughter), the Purdue marching band, and best of all, Purdue’s Golden Girl (she twirled a baton). So did I!
Neil did a speech for kids at the football field, but I don’t think we went. It’s sad – I’m 60, and I see the opportunities I missed. I can’t go back in time and watch, BUT I can write about it for you. Here’s the link for the Wapak parade: https://www.cnbctv18.com/photos/buzz/hometown-of-neil-armstrong-ready-to-celebrate-50th-anniversary-of-moon-landing-3955881-13.htm
September 16 – The astronauts went to Congress. They presented a flag to the House of Representatives, and one to the Senate. Both had been on the Moon.
That was the beginning of a 38-day world tour that took the astronauts to 22 foreign countries. Leaders from many of those countries met the astronauts. Many honored them with medals. Some of Neil’s are in the Armstrong Air and Space Museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio. You can see them in the museum’s display case.
September 29th to November 5th – That’s how long the world tour lasted. I can’t imagine the sacrifice the astronauts and their families made. Sometime in July, pre-launch, they gave up their private lives to travel to the moon. They didn’t get them back till early November. That’s a huge price to pay! Maybe that’s why all 3 astronauts left NASA pretty quickly after the tour was over.
In 1970 Michael retired from NASA. He took a job at the Department of State as an Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs.
In 1971 Buzz left to become Commandant of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School.
In 1971 Neil resigned from NASA and accepted a teaching position at the University of Cincinnati. The reason . . . their aerospace engineering department.
This month was the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Moon landing. The astronauts all moved onto other jobs. Neil died on August 25, 2012. If you see someone wink at the moon in Wapak, you know they’re doing it to honor Neil. He’s still a big deal!
Michael and Buzz are still alive. I saw them on the news with President Trump and Melania honoring this big anniversary. I loved Buzz’s comment. He said something like, it’s a shame we haven’t been back to the moon. I agree.
Here’s to the next space adventure! Have you heard of Artemis? She’s Apollo’s twin sister and the name of NASA’s future missions, first back to the moon and onto Mars.
Late 2019 -- First commercial deliveries/landers to the moon
And that’s how I want to end my posts about the 50th anniversary, with hope for the future. The kids who will be building Orion or riding aboard Artemis missions to the moon, and then onto Mars, they sat in America’s classrooms over the last 10 years. Maybe one of them was a student of mine. I hope so!
This is the crew of Apollo 11 – Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin. Fifty years ago tonight they were somewhere close to Cape Canaveral in Florida, waiting for launch time. I wonder if they were able to go to sleep. I would have been awake all night.
Back in 1969 I was 10. I had no problem sleeping even though Wapakoneta, Ohio was a-twitter with the world watching us. My parents lived a block away from Neil’s parents. It was a huge deal!
This is the run up to the launch date. On May 20 , 1969 the Saturn V rocket started its trip to the moon using that 3.5 -mile crawler-way. The rocket weighed 6000 tons. That’s about the weight of 6000 cars.
The crawler pulled the rocket along at a speed of a mile an hour. That’s pretty fast if you imagine it pulling that stack of 6,000 cars. A Saturn V rocket was HEAVY!
Look below! That’s NASA Mission Control in Houston back in 1969. That’s what NASA engineers looked like, but not their kids, or me. We looked more like the Brady Bunch. That picture’s copyrighted so I’ll share the link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Brady_Bunch.
I also found the perfect song for 1969. It was the Age of Aquarius! Warning – music videos didn’t launch until 1981, but the song is still great. Enjoy!
The picture to the right was taken 48 years later. I was visiting NASA, and I took pictures of the things I remembered, things I thought you might be interested in. I hadn’t used any of them, till now. I hadn’t started writing NEIL ARMSTRONG’S WIND TUNNEL DREAM, but I had a blog to write.
Below is the link that started this post. ABC News was doing a feature about the 50th anniversary, and part of it featured the restoration of mission control. The only thing missing are those NASA engineers and their crew cuts. Enjoy!
This pair of pictures gives you an idea of the size of the Saturn Rocket and two pieces of the Apollo Space Module. Take a look at that first big black ring near the top of the Saturn Rocket. Everything above it is the Apollo Module that went into space.
Below it are three sets of rockets, three sets of fuel tanks. The bottom two fell into the ocean after their fuel was used up. This link might help you picture these pieces. https://www.dkfindout.com/us/space/moon-landings/saturn-v-rocket/
The top rocket and its fuel tank took Neil, Buzz, and Michael into space. Resource link: https://www.seeker.com/what-happened-to-all-the-saturn-v-rocket-stages-1768231080.html
Look below that black ring again. There are four pieces stacked on top of it. All four pieces went into space. The one on top is the Command Module. The picture beside it was taken in Houston. That module looks like it’s been to space and back. Here’s a link to help you imagine the pieces of the Apollo Capsule: https://www.dkfindout.com/us/space/moon-landings/apollo-spacecraft/
This is another photo from Houston. Do you see the Command Module at the top? That’s where the astronauts spent their time until they returned home again.
The Service Module is below it. It powered the life support systems for the crew. It made electricity to power Apollo. It also held the main rocket engine. It moved Apollo in and out of either the earth’s orbit or the moon’s. Thrusters made smaller adjustments.
Here are two trivia questions for you: Which astronaut got to be the 2nd man to walk on the moon? Which one stayed aboard the command module? Was it Neil, Buzz, or Michael? The answer – Buzz walked on the moon, and Michael kept the Command Modul in orbit so they could all go home.
Here’s question three: Did Michael ever make it to the moon? The answer – No, he didn’t. He retired from NASA a year later in 1970.
This is a model of the Lunar Module. It sat underneath the Service Module (from the picture above) in that huge Saturn V Rocket. The Lunar Module had two pieces. The ascent stage is the silver part on top, and the descent stage is the red part on the bottom.
Neil and Buzz used the red part first to power down to the moon. When they landed, they crawled out, did a little exploring, and then they left the descent module behind. It’s still there, 50 years later, sitting in that same spot on the moon.
The ascent module, the silver part, flew them back up to the Command Module orbiting the moon. It was the only piece of that huge Saturn V rocket that returned to Earth again.
Would you believe that the astronauts took pictures of each other after they separated in space? The first picture is of the Command Module orbiting the moon. It was named Columbia, and Michael Collins was all alone inside.
The picture beside it is the Lunar Module, and it’s heading for the moon. It was named the Eagle, and Neil and Buzz were inside. These are the pictures they took of each other back on July 20th, 1969.
Earth Day 2019 was April 22, but every day should be Earth Day. Do you know which country puts out the most carbon?
USA China India Japan Russia
The answer: China
Tomorrow: Details about each country and tips to be a good Earth citizen every day.
Can you find the countries below? Start on the western side of the Earth. Find a light green country. That’s the United States.
Now go east across the ocean to a huge yellow country at the top of the world. That’s Russia. Go south to an orange country. That’s China.
Next go east of China and Russia into the ocean. Find a chain of islands that’s half pink, half purple. That’s Japan.
Finally go back to China. Travel south to a large green peninsula. That’s India. These are the world’s 5 top polluters. I don’t think any of them want to be on this list. Here are 2 charts that show 2 different ways to wrap your head around the numbers.
2015 Total Emissions Country Rank Carbon dioxide emissions from fuel combustion (million metric tons)
Sources: - https://www.traveltrivia.com/answer-which-country-has-the-most-carbon-emissions/
- Union of Concerned Scientists Last Updated: April 19, 2019
So what does all this mean? Is the USA alright? Do we need to do better? How? What do you think?
There’s always room for improvement, for me as a person. For the US as a country. We span across a continent with miles of highway to connect us. We don’t have mass transit, except in our large cities or on the east coast.
If you look at this link: Union of Concerned Scientists, there are 2 other countries in the 15 metric ton per capita range. Canada is at 15.32, and Australia’s at 15. 83. They’re like us, continent-wide with miles of highway to cross. The biggest surprise on this page, Saudia Arabia’s at 16.85 and tops the per capita list.
One of the nice things about aging is watching things get better. When I grew up in the 60’s, people were becoming aware of pollution. As a country we stopped using DDT. We put animals on the endangered list and worked to protect them. Back then there was no recycling, and now I see it around my little town. Yay! We’ve gotten better at taking care of our planet since the 60’s. But, we still have room to grow.
Now, how can YOU help the Earth? My friends at Traveltrivia.com had a couple suggestions. 1) Ride your bike whenever it’s possible. I have to confess I’m not a bike rider, but I try to watch my car trips so that I accomplish as much as possible in 1 trip. I used to carpool to work. We drove 1 car, not 2. These are simple things, but if everyone does the simple things, we can have a big effect.
2) Turn off the water. Don’t let it drip! Water is a natural resource. Don’t waste it. I also try to watch what I throw out into my yard. Whatever goes into the ground can go into our water system, and it can pollute your water.
3) Turn off the lights when you leave the room. The same is true for anything that uses electricity. Turning it off saves the natural resources that make your electricity. Saving water and electricity also saves money, and that’s a great thing! Money saved is money you can spend on something else that YOU want or need.
4) Reuse something instead of throwing it away. If it’s broken, can you fix it? Turn it into something else? I saved a card from my father’s funeral. I cut it into pieces, glued it onto a frame, and now it’s a treasured possession. Another great thing!
5) If you can’t use it, recycle it! I don’t throw out my newspapers – I recycle them. Did you know paper is one of the biggest things going into the garbage dumps? I can’t recycle old clothes, but I give them to places like Goodwill. You can get things there free or at a great price. Sometimes you even find treasures! Happy Hunting!
If you have other suggestions, please comment or email me. I’d love to share them so we can all make Earth Day every day.!
Sources: - https://www.traveltrivia.com/answer-which-country-has-the-most-carbon-emissions/
- Union of Concerned Scientists Last Updated: April 19, 2019
Usually I don’t get comments, but I thought I’d share this one with you, along with my answer.
Daniel: It is interesting to see the “emissions from fuel combustion per capita”. Regarding greenhouse emissions and global warming: This is the possibility that each of every American has an impact on carbon pollution. Instead of working against this outrageous number, people get more, bigger pick-ups, companies discontinue fuel saving vehicles like Ford Focus...Strange new world, and I’m disappointed about Americans who seem to not care.
Rinda: Daniel, I agree that every American has an impact on carbon pollution. I understand your concern about the big pick-ups versus the economy cars. I drive a Honda Crosstour. I’m not sure what my mileage is, but it’s better than our Honda Pilot (my husband worked at Honda, and they’re great cars).
I think Americans do care about the environment, but it’s one choice among a million you might make in a day. I was a soccer mom. Having a car big enough to haul my 3 kids around, plus any of their friends, was huge back in the day.
Our next car will probably be a truck, sorry! It’s not because we don’t care about the environment, but because we have a boat to move around. We also have a trailer that helps us move anything from tree limbs to furniture. In America, we don’t have the luxury of taking a train so we want a car that’s comfortable. I spent an hour in my car, round trip 5 days a week for 33 years. Now I substitute teach. I sub in Wapak, not my old district because it saves time, energy, and money, all things valued by Americans.
I hope my response will redeem truck-driving Americans in your eyes. At least in my family, we have a good reason for our choices. And Daniel, if you need a car, take a look at the Hondas! They’re fuel efficient, and last forever. Our Pilot has almost 300,000 miles. It’s a gem!
Who orbited the earth first?
Ham the Chimp John Glenn Yuri Gagarin Laika the Dog
Did you guess Laika? I did, and I was right. Laika was the first living creature to orbit the earth. She was launched on November 3, 1957, two years before I was born. Her achievement was also the beginning of the Space Race between the US and the USSR.
Spaceships back then weren’t well built. We have more than 60 years of experience so we build better spaceships now. We even have a space station where people can live for months at a time.
Poor Laika! She only lived a couple hours after launch. This is a model of Sputnik 2. It doesn’t look very comfortable. I hope Laika was treated well before becoming a dog-o-naut. Before that Laika was a stray living in the streets of Moscow. Russian scientists thought a stray dog would have an easier time living in the harsh conditions in space. If you visit Star City, Russia, you’ll find a statue and plaque that honors Laika and her contributions to space science. Her statue is next door to where she trained for her space adventure and where Russian cosmonauts still train today.
Now, can you guess who was 2nd to orbit the earth?
Ham or John or Yuri
I hope you guessed Ham. He won 2nd place, but only by a couple months. Ham was born in Cameroon in 1957, captured by trappers, and sent to a Rare Bird Farm in Florida. Really! The US Air Force bought him in 1959. He and 39 other chimps were sent to the Holloman Air Force Base. Ham made the top 18, then the top 6, then 1st prize. Back in 1959 he was known as #65 because the air force didn’t want a chimp, with a name, dying in space.
Ham blasted off January 31, 1961 and returned 17 minutes later. I was almost 2 by then. The biggest difference between Ham’s flight and those of previous chimps was his ability to push levers. Ham was a fraction of a second slower in space than on earth. That was a big deal because he showed scientists that astronauts could work in space. Ham’s flight led to the launch of the first American astronaut. Alan Shepherd blasted off May 5, 1961. Thanks, Ham!
Best of all, Ham lived to tell, another 22 years, first at the National Zoo in Washington DC, then at a zoo in North Carolina. If you’d like to visit Ham, go to the International Space Hall of Fame in Alamogordo, New Mexico.
So, who was 3rd? Was it John Glenn, the American?
Or was it Yuri Gagaran, the Russian? Good Luck!
Yuri came in 3rd. He orbited the Earth on April 12, 1961 in Vostok 1. He instantly became a world-wide celebrity, winning both medals and titles. Yuri never made it back into space again. He died in 1968 when his training jet crashed. It was only 7 years after his historic flight.
I didn’t know that in 1969 Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin honored Yuri. They left a memorial satchel with Yuri Gagarin and Vladimir Komarov’s medals on the moon. In 1971 David Scott and James Irwin from Apollo 15 left the Fallen Angel Memorial behind. They didn’t tell anyone until they returned to earth.
This is the Fallen Angel Memorial. It honors 14 American and Russian astronauts.
Theodore C. Freeman - 1964 aircraft accident
Charles A. Bassett III and Elliott M. See Jr. - 1966 aircraft accident
Virgil I. Grissom, Roger B. Chaffee, and Edward H. White II - 1967 Apollo 1 fire
Vladimir M. Komarov - 1967 Soyuz I re-entry parachute failure
Edward G. Givens Jr. - 1967 car accident
Cliffton C. Williams Jr - 1967 aircraft accident
Yuri Gagarin - 1968 aircraft accident
Pavel I Belyayev - 1970 illness
Georgily T Dobrovolsky, Viktor I. Patsayev, and Vladislav N Volkov – 1971 Soyuz 11 re-entry pressurization failure
And, last but not least, John Glenn. Sometimes it’s good to be last . . . John lived to the age of 95.
Meet John Glenn, the 4th to orbit the earth, but the first American. John was ready to go in January of 1962, but his flight was delayed 11 times because of equipment malfunctions, improvements, and the weather. John didn’t worry. He flew 70 more missions in the simulator and reacted to 189 simulation system failures. John was ready to go!
Finally on February 20, 1962, Friendship 7 lifted off. Would you believe there were two failures during the flight? The automatic control system had problems. John had to manually control the 2nd and 3rd orbit and the reentry into the earth’s atmosphere. Sensors also said that the heat shield was loose. John talked with the ground controllers at NASA. They decided to leave a retrorocket pack in place, and John lived to tell. If the shield had been loose, Friendship 7 would have burned up on the way into the atmosphere, but John returned a national hero. He got a ticker tape parade in New York City. Confetti rained down on John to celebrate his 4 hour and 55-minute flight.
John was such a hero he wasn’t allowed to go up into space again. After he retired from the military, John got interested in politics. He served Ohio in the United States Senate from 1974 until 1999. He ran for president once but didn’t win the Democratic nomination.
But he was successful in returning to space. In 1995 John read a book by NASA doctors about bone and muscle mass loss in space. That happens to older people too so John started lobbying NASA to let him return to space. He said they could experiment on him. NASA agreed, but John had to have a scientific reason to go, and he had to pass the same physical exam that the younger astronauts did.
John did the research and passed the exam. In January of 1998 John got the announcement that at 77, he’d be the oldest person to fly in space. On October 29, 1998 John blasted off as a payload specialist on the Space Shuttle Discovery. In 2012 John said his biggest regret was that NASA didn’t continue to research aging by sending additional senior citizens into space.
John died on December 8, 2016. The phrase, “Godspeed, John Glenn,” was given to him by Scott Carpenter back in 1962. It followed him through his life and was part of his funeral too. When John died, he was the last of the Mercury Seven Astronauts. They were NASA’s founding space team.
Here are the Mercury 7 from their photo taken on April 9, 1959. That was a month before I was born.
Front row, left to right: Walter M. Schirra, Jr., Donald K. "Deke" Slayton, John H. Glenn, Jr., and M. Scott Carpenter;
Back row, Alan B. Shepard, Jr., Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, and L. Gordon Cooper, Jr.
As a writer, you use critiques and criticism to get better. As a teacher, you try to get things right, and you correct mistakes. Greg, my Armstrong museum friend and colleague, pointed out a few mistakes, and here are my corrections:
Neil never flew this plane over Korea, but he did fly it later as a test pilot for NASA. Neil flew everything from bombers to experimental rocket planes to futuristic simulators. Greg said this plane is an F5D Skylancer. I googled and discovered it was once cutting edge technology! Neil flew it low towards a marker, then rocketed up 7000 feet into the atmosphere, like 1.3 miles. He did a loop, rolled the plane upright, and finished with a smooth unpowered landing. Wow, what a ride! But, this plane led Neil to even bigger and better things. As a test pilot, he once flew 39.2 miles into our atmosphere. He didn’t make it into outer space, yet. You have to go 50 miles to get there, and Neil did!
This is the real F9F Panther. Neil flew planes like this over Korea. He didn’t fly 72 combat missions. He flew more…78. Here’s the best fact Greg gave me: In 1951 Neil flew a bombing run over North Korea and ejected because his plane was damaged. Aren’t you glad he made it back safely!
The only correction for the Gemini 8 mission is that Neil and Dave only stayed in space for 10 hours and 40 minutes. I don’t think Neil was thinking about those seats. I bet he was disappointed his 3-day ride was cut way too short.
This is Neil’s suit, but I’m sorry to tell you, it didn’t make it to the moon.
But, it really was his back-up suit, and it really was one of the three
suits made just for him. The suit you see weighed about 47 pounds,
but, when Neil was completely dressed for spacewalks, he wore 190
pounds of suit. Talk about heavy duty! With all that weight, Neil
could survive outside the space capsule for 6 hours. His back-up
life support gave him an extra 30 minutes, in case he had an emergency.
This post reminded me that it’s OK to make mistakes. It’s even better to correct them. But the best thing… is to learn from them. I learned, for anything technical about air and space, I need to proof my content with an expert before posting. Greg read this before I published it, and you can bet I’ll check with him in the future!
I hope you’ll learn from my mistakes too. I also hope you’ll get something good from them like learning more about Neil and the Armstrong Museum exhibits. That’s a great thing! Here’s to mistakes, and, turning them into opportunities!
Welcome to the Armstrong Air and Space Museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio. It opened in 1972 to honor Wapak’s hometown hero, Neil Armstrong. In 1969 he was the first man to set foot on the moon. Take a quick tour of some of the museum’s hot spots.
This is the first plane Neil flew. Neil either walked or rode his bike to an airport just outside of Wapak to take flight lessons. Would you believe Neil learned to fly at age 15, and that he got his pilot’s license before he got his driver’s license? He was 16 years old.
This plane sits outside in the museum parking lot. It’s one of the real planes Neil flew over Korea. He was a Navy pilot during the Korean War. Neil flew 72 missions, mostly in 1951 and 1952. He was 22 years old in 1952 when he left the Navy to return to Purdue University.
This is the real Gemini VIII. In 1966 Neil orbited the earth in this spaceship with David Scott. They almost died in it too. After docking with a satellite, the ship began to spin. After undocking, Neil had 30 seconds to get the ship under control. He made it! Maybe you can too. Test your skills in the museum’s simulator. Don’t forget to look inside the capsule. Can you imagine sitting in those seats for 75 hours? That’s 3 days and 3 hours. That’s a long time in those little seats! Neil was 36.
This is Neil’s real space suit. It went to the moon with him in 1969, but he never wore it there. The on, in Wapak was his spare. The suit he actually wore on the moon is in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC. Both suits weigh about 190 pounds. They’re made of 21 layers of synthetics, neoprene rubber, and metalized polyester films. Back in 1969 the suit cost about $100,000. In today’s dollars that’s about $670,000. But, the suit was like wearing a personal spaceship. It protected Neil and Buzz from the dangers of the lunar environment, like extreme hot and cold, no air, ultraviolet radiation, and micrometeorites flying 10 miles per second at you. It was a very good thing!
After you finish touring the Armstrong Museum, head south on I75 towards Dayton, Ohio. You can tour the National Museum of the United States Air Force. This is an aerial view of the museum. It’s huge! I picked 4 of their exhibits.
Do you remember the Wright brothers? This exhibit showcases their 1909 Military Flyer. It was the first military heavier-than-air flying machine ever. That’s a mouthful! In 1909 it sold for $30,000. This isn’t the real plane, but, it’s a great reproduction put together in 1955. The engine was donated by Orville. The chains, sprockets, and propellers was donated by the Wright Brothers’ estate.
In 1930 the War Department thought about hiring female pilots, but thought they were too high strung for the job. By 1942 men were off flying WWII combat missions, and the Department needed women to pick up the slack. The Women Airforce Service Pilots or WASP was born. Experienced women pilots now took over service flights within the US for the War Department. By 1943 there were 1000 WASP’s serving their county. They broke ground for today’s lady pilots.
This is the Lockheed JetStar. This star of a plane carried presidents, high ranking government officials, and visiting leaders from other countries. The Air Force bought 6 JetStars in 1961. This JetStar was never officially Air Force 1, but it carried Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan. It was retired in July 1987 after 26years of service. It truly was a star of a plane!
In July of 1971 this vehicle made it to the moon. It is the Apollo 15 command module, Endeavor. It was the fourth spaceship (of 6) to make it to the moon. The trip took 12 days total. The astronauts were only there for 67 hours. That’s almost 3 days (5 hours short). The astronauts were supposed to do lunar science experiments. They also got to ride on the first lunar rover, AKA moon buggy. Wouldn’t you love to rocket to the moon, then take a ride in a moon buggy? Would you believe Endeavor is checked out to the Air Force Museum, kind of like a library book? It’s on loan from Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC.
If you enjoyed reading and looking at planes and spaceships, schedule a trip to my favorite museums, or one near you. There’s so much to see and do! You’ll love it!
This is biography month, and this is a very famous American. Do you recognize him?
This is Neil Armstrong at age 6. He has already had his first airplane flight, and he’s fascinated with all things air-borne. By 15 he was walking or biking to an airport near Wapakoneta, Ohio for flight lessons. Would you believe he got his pilot’s license before his driver’s license? The second picture shows Neil’s senior picture and signature. In high school he built a wind tunnel in his basement so he could fly model airplanes. Can you imagine? After graduation in 1947, he was off to Purdue to get a degree in aeronautical engineering.
Time flew, at least for Neil! In the first picture, he was a Navy pilot who flew 72 missions during the Korean War. In the second, he was a test pilot who tried out 200 different planes. It must have been a dream come true!
For Neil, his dreams grew even bigger. In 1962 he was picked to be one of the New Nine, NASA’s second group of astronauts. In 1966 he lifted off in Gemini 8 with David Scott. The first 11 hours were perfect. They successfully docked with a satellite, but then, it began to spin. Not good! Neil undocked. But the capsule still spun! Neil had 30 seconds to react before facing black-out, a death sentence in space. Neil and David remained calm. They got the ship under control. It was NASA’s first in-space critical failure, but Neil and David saved the day, and their own lives.
The Gemini docking was a prep for extracting the lunar landing. Maybe the experience helped Neil later. He and Buzz Aldrin were picked for Apollo 11, the first mission to the moon. They landed the Eagle, the lunar module, on July 20th, 1969. They had 30 seconds of fuel left. Wow! Good timing, guys!
At 10:56 PM that night Neil climbed down the ladder and put his foot on the moon. Can you imagine how he felt? He had the perfect thing to say! When you’re in the hot seat to say something important, plan ahead like Neil did. He tried out his line on his brother months before the launch. It worked!
Neil and Buzz spent about 21hours and 36 minutes on the moon. Not even a whole day! They took pictures and video. They collected rocks and dirt. They left behind footprints, an American flag, some science equipment, and a memorial bag. They’re still there, along with the lunar landing vehicle. Its plaque says: HERE MEN FROM THE PLANET EARTH FIRST SET FOOT UPON THE MOON JULY 1969 A.D. WE CAME IN PEACE FOR ALL MANKIND
On July 21st at 1:54PM the two astronauts left the moon behind, never to return. I wonder if they knew.
The next picture is Neil in 2008, almost 40 years after the moon landing. He spent the rest of his life as a private citizen, out of the spotlight. He taught aerospace engineering in Cincinnati. He was chairman of an aviation company. Can you imagine working with Neil, or better yet, having him as your teacher?
In August of 2012 Neil died at age 82. If you want to remember him, go out on a clear night when the moon’s smiling down on you. Think of Neil and give him a wink.
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!