It was 40 Years Ago Today

At 20:17:40 UTC Neil Armstrong said, “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”

At 02:56 UTC on July 21 He became the first human to walk on the Moon.

I was 13 years old and had been glued to my parent’s TV for several days. I think I slept in front of the TV, too.

It is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen and a memory touchstone.

Where were you and what were you doing? (Provided, of course you were alive. I’m not trying to be a smart-ass.)

Bootprint on the Moon   Apollo 11 Landing Site Seen by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter   Apollo 11 mission insignia

Happy 40th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Launch!

We choose the moon is an interactive experience recreating the historic Apollo 11 mission to the Moon in real time. Live event begins 9:32 AM EDT July 16, 2009. Exactly 40 years after Apollo 11 lifted off.

This was one of the highlights of growing up geek. I was 13 at the time and pretty much stayed up for a week watching the TV coverage. That meant Walter Cronkite on CBS. This was NEWS, you couldn’t entrust your information source to some amateurs.

Two Sad NASA Anniversaries

On January 28 in 1986, the STS-51-L Challenger was lost during launch carrying Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-B (TDRS-B); SPARTAN-203. On January 27 (yesterday) in 1967, Apollo 1 caught fire during pre–flight testing. Astronauts Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, Ed White and Roger B. Chaffee were killed.

Those anniversaries always make me melancholy.

False-color “postcard” from the Phoenix Lander

I mean no slight for not linking earlier to Susan Kitchens’ own excellent coverage of the Phoenix Lander and, in fact, all things JPL and space-related.

This is via Emily’s post Phoenix: last press briefing of the day after the successful landing at the Planetary Society Blog:

False-color "postcard" from Phoenix

False-color “postcard” from Phoenix
This image, one of the first captured by NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander, shows the vast plains of the northern polar region of Mars. The flat landscape is strewn with tiny pebbles and shows polygonal cracking, a pattern seen widely in Martian high latitudes and also observed in permafrost terrains on Earth. The polygonal cracking is believed to have resulted from seasonal freezing and thawing of surface ice.

Phoenix touched down on the Red Planet at 4:53 p.m. Pacific Time (7:53 Eastern Time), May 25, 2008, in an arctic region called Vastitas Borealis, at 68 degrees north latitude, 234 degrees east longitude.

This is an approximate-color image taken shortly after landing by the spacecraft’s Surface Stereo Imager, inferred from two color filters, a violet, 450-nanometer filter and an infrared, 750-nanometer filter.

Credit: NASA / JPL / U. Arizona

Mars Phoenix Lander at 23:53:52 (UT) 4:53 p.m. (PDT)

Today is the day for the Mars Phoenix Lander to land on Mars. These details are from Phil’s Bad Astronomy Blog.

The Mars Phoenix Lander will be touching down on the surface of Mars on Sunday at 23:53:52 Universal Time (4:53 p.m. Pacific time). Of course, there will be lots of action leading up to that moment.

You can get live info from a few different sources.

For online video and such, your best bet is NASA TV. If you have it, The Science Channel is covering it live on TV. And if you want live blogging action, Emily’s your destination. She has a nice schedule on her blog of the whole thing. She’s also been doing some great blogging on the pre-landing press conferences, so she has all the info you want. And if you’re in the Tucson area, the Lunar and Planetary Institute Lab has a ton of stuff going on for the whole family.

[update:] Today’s APOD is all about Phoenix on Mars with lots of details, including NASA’s animation of the landing sequence.

links for 2008-04-25