Happy Anniversary to the Apollo 11 mission

I remember the excitement of the television coverage of the launch, which we went to a neighbour’s house to watch as we didn’t yet have a TV. And then I remember our school putting a TV on the stage in the auditorium and us all watching footage of Men On The Moon.

There will of course be more documentaries and special tributes in all forms of media over this coming week than you can shake your tallywhacker at (if you have a tallywhacker close to hand, that is). If you read something particularly interesting or illuminating, please share the link with the rest of us here?

Categories: history, Sociology, technology


10 replies

  1. Of course, when we watched the launch it was a delayed telecast, seeing as it happened in the middle of the night here. I’m not even sure whether the launch was broadcast live in Australia at all – didn’t the telly shut down after 10pm back in 1969?

  2. *headdesk*
    Tabloid telly greets NASA’s newly released remastered video with the (apparently) all-important question “but will this quash the “staged moon landing” conspiracy theories?” (except of course they said “squash”).
    Yeah, that’s the ticket – that’s by far the most important thing about seeing clearer pictures of the Moon landing.

  3. And an unhappy birthday, yesterday, to the technology that made the Apollo mission’s rocketry desirable and practical.

  4. It is really hard for me to get past the whole “for MANkind” shit. If there had been any life there on the moon, men would have exploited, colonised and enslaved it by now. I’m glad there wasn’t.
    As for seeing even clearer pictures, it’s amazing just how much money men will spend in order to keep convincing themselves and each other of just how fucking great they are. “Look at us! Fucking the planet. Fucking the universe. Just cos we can!”
    That moon landing shit was the universal equivalent of the knobhead who revs his ute at the traffic lights.
    From a feminist perspective, nothing to celebrate here.

  5. Nope, having thought on it my opinion remains that there is a grandeur in exploring beyond the cocoon of our own pebble in the sky, and also that ultimately the future survival of earth species may depend upon us generating the capacity for large-scale space travel and space habitats.
    Also, what you said about what might have happened had there been life on the moon? It was very well known before the Apollo missions that there was no macroscopic life on the moon – that was abundantly clear from generations of observation of the lunar surface. There was no possibly of exploiting any native race of Lunarians. Your statement is sheer polemic.

  6. Liam, good catch on the Trinity anniversary. I’d missed that.

  7. I’ve heard a few people now wondering why they don’t remember as much attention being given to the 30th anniversary of the Apollo mission. Neither do I, and I wondered why and so I had a little dig into the Wayback Machine.
    Two major factors, IMO:
    * Proliferation of the Web: NASA’s always been websavvy and had a great website for Apollo even 10 years ago, but back then there weren’t the social networks existing to make their material go viral (was there even such a concept as viral marketing in ’99?)
    ETA: I’m loving @apolloeleven on Twitter, a realtime feed of the events as transmitted to Mission Control (“Long periods of nothing, then bursts of activity” @stephenfry – exactly).
    * The media cycle: JFK Jr crashed his plane on 16th July 1999, and coverage of the search for the plane & bodies, plus all the recycling of Camelot nostalgia, took over the top news spots that week (and on 22 July 1999, the persecution of Falun Gong began in China, so that was the next week’s top story). Despite NASA’s best efforts, the Apollo anniversary was very much below the fold in the news coverage. This time around MJ’s timing was much better for NASA – that media storm dispersed just as the anniversary approached and the news was looking for a new lede, and there was NASA with remastered footage for the new century.

  8. good catch on the Trinity anniversary

    Wouldn’t miss it, TT, perversely enough, The Bomb is the only reason rocketry turned from a primitive lob-it-and-hope terror weapon into a useful, practical tool for the advancement of goals outside warfare.
    My perspective is that the space programme—of which the moon landings were only the most spectacular part—brought amazing scientific gains at a huge price. We’ve learned invaluable things simply from having access to satellites, and it’d be a world poorer in knowledge without everything we gained. The price of course was the massive expense and moral crime that was the Cold War, the same technology being worked-out both to land on the moon and to plan first and retaliatory missile strikes on the next continent.
    I think Linda’s got a point when it comes to people’s motivations about rockets, IMO. For better or worse, I share Jack Parsons’ primal fascination with rocketry, though that’s a subject for another time.*
    *A great story, where “great” has the value of “you wouldn’t believe it if it were fiction, it’s just that he actually lived”. Wiki him if you believe half what you read on wikipedia, which in Parsons’ case, you probably oughtn’t.

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