Monday, May 25, 2009

Man on the Moon

That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind

--
Neil Armstrong, on July 20, 1969, on the Lunar surface as part of the Apollo 11 moonlanding mission.


Exactly 48 years ago, on May 25, 1961, John F. Kennedy made his speech before the joint session of the US Congress, supporting the need for America to put a Man on the moon. The speech came days after Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to fly in space. Thus began the Apollo Program, which put among others, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins on the Lunar surface. Ironically, Kennedy himself couldn't witness the historic manned moonlanding mission, having lost his life to an assassin's bullets in 1963.

The Apollo program was not without its failures, in particular the not-widely-known deaths of three astronauts, Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee, in the Apollo 1 launchpad fire. What a lot of us do know, thanks to the Tom Hanks starrer, is the failure of Apollo 13, while its crew was safely returned to Earth.

This post pays homage to the three astronauts who lost their lives as part of the Apollo 1 mission while also celebrating the moonlanding mission which will soon be 40 years of age, thanks to the vision of one man amidst disbelief and apprehension from many close quarters.


Footnotes:

Image Courtesy - NASA

Image Description - Taken by Apollo 8 crewmember Bill Anders on December 24, 1968, showing the Earth seemingly rising above the lunar surface. This phenomenon is only visible from someone in orbit around the Moon. Because of the Moon's synchronous rotation about the Earth (i.e., the same side of the Moon always facing the Earth), no Earthrise can be observed by a stationary observer on the surface of the Moon.

32 comments:

  1. Where do you dig all this info from, Rak?? "This day that year"?? :)

    Truly 'Redefining Oblivion'...'Manly' topic though...(no pun, I find all this space expeditions a masculine venture...not disregarding Kalpana Chawla and her fans :)

    wishes,
    devika

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  2. Gud Information !! Great Rakesh !! Every Post In Your Blog Is So Knowledgeful...

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  3. Yep and probably soon we'll see an Indian on Moon..
    Let's hope.. Let's hope..

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  4. Good post, but I apologise for being a cynic about man on the moon projects.

    Countries do it for prestige - to be first, next or now to beat China.

    Sending robots can be done quicker, more cheaply and, most important, safely. But unmanned missions have little prestige, no popular hero and no career path for astronauts.

    I won't even go into how moon rocket testing refines technology used in nuclear missiles.

    Pete

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  5. It’s indeed informative and esp. about the three astronauts. That’s a stunning view of earth from the moon! thanks bro :)

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  6. yeah and I wasnt even alive then :) What a great achievement by those Astronauts!

    Keshi.

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  7. yeah bro!!! an informative post!! and thats one spectacular acheivement of human kind.. as Devika ma'm's points out! you're a walking calendar

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  8. Did u know there is a controversy on who the real first man who stepped on to the moon's surface was??

    Dig out that info if u can. Thatshud be interesting. :-)

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  9. I remember the Govt. announcing that we would have a man on moon by 2020? I ask, why not 2045? Why so soooon dear Govt?? :-)

    Destination Infinity

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  10. A wonderful achievement... a great post... I am glad to read this... it brings a lot of tears to the older folks that I speak with around my area.

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  11. Thanks for reminding me of all that :-)

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  12. Nice of you to commend those guys here.. Ofcourse I would want India to do this too.. but leaving that aside.. I cannot help at wondering.. like a fellow traveler like you would agree.. the mysteries of a unknown travel.. the astronauts.. if they were anything like us, would have for sure.. excuse the usage of the word, experienced almost orgasmic pleasure.. Hmm?

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  13. Devika Chechi

    Yeah, moon landings and space flight are still very male dominated, I agree ;)

    Rakesh

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  14. Bharath K

    Thanks very much! Am glad you find it so!

    Rakesh

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  15. Mohsin

    Well, on a serious note, I hope that is put off to feed a few thousand hungry Indian mouths, especially considering that now, so many years later, we certainly do not compete to be on the moon!

    Rakesh

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  16. Pete

    I completely agree! These projects are nothing but a showcase of financial and technological might!

    Rakesh

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  17. Jeevan

    It sure is a wonderful view of our planet! :)

    Thanks

    Rakesh

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  18. Mayank

    :)) I'm beaming, ear to ear!

    Rakesh

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  19. Keshi

    True, some passion and dedication!

    Rakesh

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  20. Bharath

    Thanks very much! Appreciate your comments!

    Rakesh

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  21. Andy

    Yeah, there is a controversy about the first man on the moon and also a bigger theory that the moon landings never took place

    Rakesh

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  22. DI

    Sometimes I wonder why the Indian government is wanting to put a man on the moon decades after the Americans have done it!
    For what significance?

    Rakesh

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  23. Michele

    Yes, the failure of Apollo 1 still evokes a lot of emotions!

    Rakesh

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  24. Samby

    Lol, yes! I'm sure the pleasure is more than orgasmic...... imagine doing something that no human has done! And besides, being in a realm totally unknown to mankind!
    I wish....... I was part of something such as that!

    Rakesh

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