By Ron VandenBoom
I remember July 20, 1969 only because I was sitting in a U.S. Air Force barracks at Fort Custer in Battle Creek, Mich., watching the first landing of a man on the moon.
Its kind of a can you remember what you were doing when scenario. Had it not been for that one event, July 20 would probably be just another day. But it was not just any day, it was the first time in history man walked on the moon.
While today the trip may seem like yesterdays news and cause many to take a so what attitude, it still ranks as one of the greatest accomplishments in human history. A culmination of mankinds will to achieve, and the power of the human brain to achieve it, was never more truly realized than on that one day 30 years ago.
Just to give one example of how dramatic the accomplishment was in terms many might understand today; the on-board computer used by the astronauts had a total memory capacity 1/20 the size of a modern day floppy disk.
Learn more about the wondrous adventure of man on the moon by typing www.hq.nasa.gov/ into your browser and check out the source of Apollo 11 and all of the other space projects at the NASA homepage.
The 30 Anniversary link will take you to the menu page where documents and pictures of the actual event are available for viewing. You can check out the galleries for photos and Biographies will give you a close-up look at the individual heroes Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins.
Only 21 hours were spent on the lunar surface and only 46 pounds of rocks collected for the effort. Relive the adventure through the word and pictures of NASA.
While at NASA, you may want to check out some of the more modern projects currently being pursued at the agency or maybe just ask a question. If you search hard enough you can even learn how to make an appointment for a tour of NASA no doubt you were considering a trip next year anyway.
If you would like to visit an unofficial site also with a lot of pictures, you might want to surf over to www.historyplace.com/unitedstates/apollo11/index.html.
Lots of pictures here and text that will explain what you see. The photos are arranged in a chronological order so it is possible to get a sense of the adventure as you cruise through the pictures. Clicking on the shots will enlarge them for better viewing.
http://educate.si.edu/spotlight/moonwalk.html is another independent site called Spotlight Biography. It offers text on the mission, but also pictures, sound bytes, and video clips. You may have to dig a little to find them, and because they are AVI format, you will have to wait for download a real disadvantage in an age of video streams. But the clips can be worth it if you have a long-term need or there is a special reason you might want to save them.
The Apollo 11 Turns 30 site located at www.infoplease.com/spot/moonwalk1.html also offers old news and new on the space program. Just click on the highlighted words or phrases to visit the subject most meaningful to you.
This site offers a variety of subjects that might at first glance appear to have little to do with Apollo 11, but in context add flavor to a subject that without this context loses some of its glory.
Click on the Cold War, the USSR, or Vostok 1 to get the full impact of the Apollo 11 mission in the context of the times. It was not just fun and games that led into space.