Fifty years ago today, July 20th, 1969, NASA achieved what many still consider mankind’s greatest achievement; landing a man on the moon.
Now, trying not to give away my age, all I can say is I don’t remember the actual lunar landing 🙂
However, as a geeky kid growing up in the 70s and 80s, astronomy was always a passion even as a child. And it remains so today.
So if you grew up in the same era as I did, I’m sure you can agree with me that almost nothing makes you feel as old as knowing it’s been fifty years since that first moon landing! I still remember watching the nightly news when it was the twentieth anniversary! Damn man 😦
CAMERAS USED ON APOLLO 11
The above photo was taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II at prime focus on a Meade 90mm f/11 ETX Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope. But what were the cameras used on that first historic lunar landing?
According to NASA itself, the cameras used were three Hasselblad 500EL cameras. One was used in the command module Columbia, and the other two were taken to the moon on the Eagle lunar module.
These had special modifications to minimize what the astronauts had to do. Basically, they made it as “point and shoot” as possible. The lenses from what I have read were the 80mm f/2.8 Planar and the 60mm f/5.6 Zeiss Biogon. A Kodak Stereo Camera was also used for close ups of the lunar surface.
The film was a specially formulated Kodak 70mm film. I’ve often wondered what the ISO rating was for the film, and it seems like there are a lot of educated guesses but nothing official. I guess only us geeky photo nuts would be interested in knowing this 😀
At any rate, many skeptics over the years have mentioned how could the astronauts have possibly taken such fine photographs in their bulky cumbersome spacesuits.
The only thing I can say is…hey, in addition to the cameras being modified for ease of use, don’t you think they worked all that out? Practiced countless times?
This was not just a trip of a lifetime, it was a trip for the ages!
HOW FIFTY YEARS CAN CHANGE YOUR VIEWS
Can you believe that something so technologically astounding and complex as landing a man on the moon was something that was done fifty years ago? Are you kidding me?!
And can you believe that after that series of Apollo moon landings that I believe ended in 1972 with astronaut Eugene Cernan as the last man on the moon, we’ve done nothing ever since!
Of course, I’m speaking tongue in cheek but you know what I’m trying to say. When Neil Armstrong said “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” as he became the first man to step foot on the moon, I think we all can relate to that statement even today.
Yes, I know that out of space technology we have so many things that have helped humanity. Lasers, GPS, microwaves, and many more things we probably don’t even know about.
But what I’m talking about when I say we’ve done “nothing” since, is this; where are the colonies on the moon? Where is the promised man on Mars?
Yes, I know putting a man on Mars has been gaining a lot of momentum in recent years. The way they’re talking, it seems it will happen in the next decade. But the older I get the more skeptical I’ve become. Sadly, I now feel I won’t see a man on Mars in my lifetime.
But even more than that, I now wonder why would we even bother getting a man to Mars? Let me explain further. As a child with endless fascination, and all throughout my young adult years I would have been all for a manned Mars mission.
But now, with all the probes that NASA and other space agencies have sent to Mars, I think it’s very clear that there is no significant life there. Note, I didn’t say there is no life on Mars. I wouldn’t rule that out. But based on all I have seen, Mars is as barren a world as you can imagine.
There is no hint of an ancient civilization. No buildings. No drawings. No artifacts. No animals. No vegetation. No nothing. Just a cold, barren world with a very thin atmosphere not suitable for human beings.
I am a man of science at heart so I marvel at all the discoveries they have made on Mars. Yet at the same time, I believe all the Mars missions have done is to finally take away the romanticism of Mars.
The Martian “canals” of Giovanni Schiaparelli and Percival Lowell, the notion of desperate Martians building a canal system to save their planet, all just imagination. The invading Martians of H.G. Wells, just imagination.
They talk about terraforming Mars. To terraform the planet would take centuries, and would humans be able to survive even with all our best laid plans?
A trip to Mars will be a one way trip and most people who want to go there know this. They may know it, but how many would actually be able to deal with this frightening reality once the spacecraft heads off to Mars?
Anyway, I’m drifting too far off! What I say is, if they plan to go to Mars, they probably should start first with the Lunar colonies. The Moon is a lot closer than Mars. If an issue or emergency arises, it’s possible with our technology today to do something about it.
If an emergency arises on Mars, or on the way to Mars, forget about it!
THE LUNAR LEGACY
All my skepticism about Mars aside, I just want to say that it still amazes me to this day, whenever I look up at the moon and get lost in deep thought. I say to myself, wow, people actually walked up there!
Now even though neither I nor anyone I know personally has walked the moon, the fact that those brave men walked the moon, I think it makes us all united. They didn’t just walk the moon for themselves. It really was an achievement for all mankind.
And it helps to make an otherwise totally alien world seem a little more friendly. More than just a moon that happens to be locked in orbit with our home planet the Earth.
In a time today when celebrities are paid millions for just looking good, the brave men and women (in Mission Control) of the Apollo missions are to be admired.
Can you imagine dealing with the discomforts of doing in outer space, even the simple things such as eating, going to the bathroom (in their spacesuits I think!) and facing such unknowns, not knowing if you’ll ever make it home?
These astronauts and the people who worked behind the scenes are heroes for making one of mankind’s oldest dreams come true. As I said, they are to be admired, respected, remembered. Not just then, but now, and for always.
If you lived through that first historic Apollo 11 mission, I’d love to hear from you!