Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Moon Landing Anniversary
Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of the 1969 moon landing of Apollo 11. Ron, Benny and I headed over to Nasa Ames near Mountain View, Calif., to celebrate on Sunday. I don't think NASA expected such a big crowd; the traffic was backed up to the highway. We parked in an enormous parking lot next to the airplane runways.
We watched model rockets being launched and I took pictures. The first three pictures are of a black-and-white model of the Saturn rocket that carried Apollo 11 to the moon. The last rocket picture is of a yellow model rocket painted like a crayon. Ron put Benny on his shoulders to watch.
We had a great time, but it was ungodly hot. The march from the rocket launch to the parade grounds was like walking on the surface of the sun. We never made it to the displays and activities; instead we collapsed under a tree and ate lunch (see picture). Then I dragged a reluctant Ron across the complex to the gift shop and indoor display center. The center's exhibits included 3-D pictures of Mars and a videotape of the moon landings, plus a moon rock brought back by Apollo 15.
Ron was able to attend a NASA event on Monday morning and got to ask a question of Buzz Aldrin and the other astronauts. (He asked about public-private partnerships to fund space exploration.) Benny's spent the last two days playing with the moon landing Toys his Uncle Greg sent from Florida and building a Saturn model out of Legos. This morning he stranded his little astronaut outside Jupiter with no more oxygen. "He held his breath all the way to Earth," Benny told me.