A Look back at the First Moon Landing

I was at the neighbor’s house babysitting and the kids were already in bed.  Walter Cronkite was on television misty-eyed,  pondering whether we’d ever view the moon in quite the same way, now that Neil Armstrong had stepped onto its ghostly surface.  I watched as the pale images played behind him. Was it really fifty years ago?

I recently visited Seattle’s Museum of Flight and the Destination Moon Exhibit, the centerpiece of which is the Apollo 11 Command Module, the only part of the spacecraft to return back to earth intact.  I was surprised at how small it was – 10 ft. 7″ high and 12 ft. 10″ in diameter, and yet it once sat on top of a 363 foot Saturn V rocket that hurtled three men into space.

It was home to the astronauts on their historic journey and orbited around the moon, piloted by Michael Collins after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin left in the Lunar Module for the moon’s surface.  It received them back again, then carried crew, equipment and lunar samples back into Earth’s atmosphere before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean.  It’s come a long, long way.

While at the Museum I picked up Michael Collins’ book, Carrying the Fire written in 1973.  If you’d like to know what it was like to be an astronaut during the sixties and learn about the mission to the moon from the inside, then this is the book for you!   Collins writes candidly and with humor, and leaves you with appreciation for the magnitude of the mission and the brilliant minds of those who tackled it.

But back to Walter and his musings.  Would we ever again view the moon the same as before men walked on its surface?

I admit I do.  To me, it’s still the same beautiful, glowing orb best seen from earth –  full of intrigue and mystery.

Still, it’s good to remember – and be proud I think – that this happened once.

~ Susanne

15 Comments on “A Look back at the First Moon Landing

  1. I’m not that interested in Space exploration, but you do take some great photos of the Moon, Susanne. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • Thanks Pete. I’m not sure how I feel about future exploration, especially of the moon, but this was a real milestone and it’s fun to remember it. 😊

  2. Great memories…and several movies have touched on this historic adventure, but I think the non-fiction documentaries are the way to really understand it….great post!

    • Thanks so much John! I’ve really been enjoying the documentaries on PBS this month. And I’m looking forward to the special: 8 Days – to the Moon and Back.

      • I have a couple of documentaries as well – one called “The Last Man On The Moon” – he was the final person to set foot there and nobody remembers him because it was “been there done that” by then!

      • Sounds good! I hadn’t heard of that one. There’s also a new IMAX film out on Apollo 11 I hope to see soon at the Science Center. I find it all fascinating!

  3. It’s funny. Even though I know that it happened, I still have trouble really believing that a person was up there when I go out in the evening and look at the moon.

  4. That must have been cool to see the command module. I agree with the recommendation for ‘Last man on the moon’ and I also liked the new Apollo 11 movie. So much good footage in them. I’d really like to see them take the same approach for the Apollo 13 mission, but don’t know if they’d have the same extent of recordings to choose from.

    • Yes, it was interesting to see the Command Module from Apollo 11. And you just reminded me that I also saw the Command Module from Apollo 13 years ago at the Cosmosphere in Kansas. (Yes, Hutchinson, Kansas!) I’m enjoying the celebration of the Moon Landing with all the special documentaries this month and appreciate the recommendations.

  5. I can’t say I remember watching the moon landing on TV as a child, but I must have, because I described it in detail in the diary I kept at that time. It was fun to read over the entry and think “Wow this is actually a piece of history right here!”

  6. I enjoyed reading your memory, Susanne. I’d love to see the space capsule. I had a great time at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington. I hope to visit the Kennedy Space Center, as well. Once upon a time I wanted to be an astronaut… Happy Moon Day!

    • Thanks so much for your comment! I’m glad you enjoyed the memories! You are braver than I to have wanted to be an astronaut! I’ve been lucky to visit the Air and Space Museum and the Kennedy Space Center too! 🙂 We also stumbled across a great space museum in Kansas of all places and saw the Apollo 13 module there. All were wonderful!

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