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.

links for 2009-06-10

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.

links for 2009-01-10

  • "Leon Panetta was in the small handful of people who knew there was a terrorism problem long before anybody else had heard of al-Qaeda." — Richard A. Clarke [you’ve heard of him, right?]
    (tags: obama Panetta CIA)
  • "The Republicans' sudden reversion to the solemn frugality of their forebears would be amusing were it not so dangerous. Having established a record over the past decade or so as the wildest wastrels in the nation's history, they now present themselves as straight-laced accountants who simply cannot abide a misspent dime."
  • A pair of strong solar storms that hit Earth late last week were squalls compared to the torrent of electrons that rained down in the "perfect space storm" of 1859. And sooner or later, experts warn, the Sun will again conspire again send earthlings a truly destructive bout of space weather.(…)
    The event 144 years ago was three times more powerful than the strongest space storm in modern memory, one that cut power to an entire Canadian province in 1989. A new account of the 1859 event, from research led by Bruce Tsurutani of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, details the most powerful onslaught of solar energy in recorded history. [via Doug]
  • Historical records tell us that from the beginning of March 536 AD, a fog of dust blanketed the atmosphere for 18 months. During this time, "the sun gave no more light than the moon", global temperatures plummeted and crops failed, says Dallas Abbott of Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in New York. The cause has long been unknown, but theories have included a vast volcanic eruption or an impact from space.
    Now Abbott and her team have found the first direct evidence that multiple impacts caused the haze. They found tiny balls of condensed rock vapour or "spherules" in debris inside Greenland ice cores dating back to early 536 AD. Though the spherules' chemistry suggests they did not belong to an impactor, they do point to terrestrial debris ejected into the atmosphere by an impact event, Abbott says. "This is the first concrete geological evidence for an impact at 536 AD." [via Doug Miller]

Tunguska Centenary

What was it? Anti-matter explosion? Alien spacecraft? Or a meteoroid? Whatever it was, it happened 100 years ago today in remote Siberia…

The Tunguska Event or explosion

was most likely caused by the air burst of a large meteoroid or comet fragment at an altitude of 5–10 kilometres (3–6 miles) above Earth’s surface. Different studies have yielded varying estimates for the object’s size, with general agreement that it was a few tens of metres across.

Although the meteor or comet burst in the air rather than directly hitting the surface, this event is still referred to as an impact. Estimates of the energy of the blast range from 5 megatons to as high as 30 megatons of TNT, with 10–15 megatons the most likely – about 1000 times as powerful as the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan and about one third the power of the Tsar Bomba, the largest nuclear weapon ever detonated. The explosion knocked over an estimated 80 million trees over 2,150 square kilometres (830 square miles). It is estimated that the earthquake from the blast would have measured 5.0 on the Richter scale, which was not yet developed at the time. An explosion of this magnitude is capable of destroying a large metropolitan area. [Wikipedia]

Of course, anyone familiar with the X-Files knows the real story. 😉

links for 2008-06-28

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links for 2008-06-20

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