G'day everyone,.... Forty years ago TODAY, at 9:32 AM EDT, Apollo 11 was launched. Roughly four and a half days later, on July 20, 1969, Mission Commander Neil Armstrong and Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon. Command Module Pilot Michael Collins orbited overhead. Neil Armstrong had to take over and "fly" the LM to the surface manually after the onboard computer (with less capacity than the chip in a Furby) kept shutting down due to overloading. As they approached the surface, it became clear they were going to overshoot the planned landing site. It was later learned that this was caused when the LM de-docked from the Command Module. The docking ring area between the two craft had not been depressurized (nobody knew they had to be at that time). When they seperated, this pressure essentially popped the LM like a cork. This altered their trajectory and caused them to overshoot the planned landing site. Armstrong had to find an alternate landing site, but the area that looked clear from photos taken in earlier Apollo missions was in fact filled with house-sized boulders. Taking the LM beyond the planned landing site consumed precious fuel. As he went on and on looking for a clear spot, Aldrin called out the fuel remaining in seconds. They were past the point of no return and still did not see a suitable site. Armstrong finally found a good spot and eased it down. They landed with something like six seconds of fuel remaining. Four hours and 39 minutes later, Neil Armstrong exited the LM, climbed down the ladder, and set foot on the moon. I am a space program nut and go nuts over this stuff (obviously), but whenever I think about what was done in the days of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs...I usually end up in a bad mood. It's because I contrast it with today. The Apollo program was made possible by the efforts of thousands of people and the products and research from hundreds of companies. The government poured a lot of money into it, but mostly helped by staying out of the way after giving the contracts. Free enterprise got it done because they were allowed to. Now the gov't can't even stay out if the car business. Anyway... There is a website created by the JFK Library and Museum that will recreate the Apollo 11 misssion from launch to landing in real time. They are using original recordings, actors, and animation. It went live this morning at 8:02 AM (90 minutes before launch). But you can go back and catch up at your leisure. www.wechoosethemoon.org Just in case you are wondering, they are just about to seperate the LEM from Stage 4B via the CSM right now. I'm all a-quiver! Dr Who?