Andrew Chaikin, Apollo author and historian talks about the future of space exploration and how he feels quite possibly that there is life on other planets. He talks about how he would not want to go to Mars because of how it’s a 3 year round trip there and back. He says he is fascinated with Mars though and the possibility that in the past Mars may have had life. Andy said that he would like to go to the Moon. He always thought of going to the Moon when he was young because he wanted to see what the Earth was like from the Moon or from space. Seeing the Earth from Space for me would be amazing because I would be staring at that little blue marble millions of miles away. I would be knowing that everyone that I know and all the people that I don’t know and my house and family is there so far away that it seems like a light year away.
Chaikin talks about a gentlemen from England who was hired by NASA to make a zipper for the space suits. I feel that he speaks about how the Apollo team was a huge team effort. There were tons of people that you’ve never heard about and probably never will hear about. Andy had the same idea as the book Team Moon that there are many unsung heroes of the Apollo space missions.. You could do a ton of research on the Apollo project and yet not hear about thousands of peoples stories. I suppose everyone who worked on the space program has an interesting story to tell and they have only passed their story on to a few people.
This is a drawing my father did for the 40th Anniversary of the final Apollo Moon mission, Apollo 17, it shows Gene Cernan, the last man on the Moon.
In Parkes, Australia there was a large satellite dish that had a very important role in the space program. The people there had the job to broadcast one great leap to the world on television. It was a very important job and it was also very hard. During the time that they were going to broadcast winds were blowing form the South threatening to knock over the dish making it so that the millions and millions of viewers might not be able to see Neil Armstrong stepping foot on the Moon. They must have felt a lot of pressure and stress having the weight of showing the only images coming form the Moon to the world.
“I didn’t know what was going to happen that day. It started out as a days work and blossomed into something better. I was sure proud to be there, proud to be part of it.” Cliff Smith, Parkes Radio Telescope, Australia.
In 2000 there was a movie that came out in Australia that was a comedy about the role of the people in Parkes Australia.
People in every country huddled together watching the TV screen as this historic moment happened. People all over the world came together to experience the same event at the same moment. A plaque was left on the moon stating,
HERE MEN FROM PLANET EARTH FIRST SET FOOT UPON THE MOON
I gave my father some questions to ask Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean. Bean was the fourth man to walk on the Moon in 1969.
The questions I had for Alan Bean were-
What did you feel the first time you saw planet Earth from Space?
Who was the most interesting person you met during the space program?
Was the Apollo 12 space suit comfortable?
Listen here as Alan Bean answers these questions.
I think that the point that Alan Bean was trying to make was that the space suits were as comfortable as engineers and science could make them. On pages 33 through 38 it tells about the materials that were used to make the space suits. The book also explained how the people in the space program didn’t know what to expect on the Moon. Alan Bean said that the space suits were made to protect the person inside of them. Bean thought that Werner von Braun was a very interesting person. He thought this because Von Braun knew more about the space program than anyone else. He always knew what he was doing, he was a genius.
When most people think of the Project Apollo Moon Landings they remember the famous photographs of the people like Neil Armstrong and the other Apollo astronauts walking on the Moon. If this is all you know then you are not getting the entire picture of how we went to the Moon and the many people all over the country who helped and worked behind the scenes during the Apollo Missions to get the astronauts there.
The book, Team Moon by Catherine Thimmesh talks about some of these people and in their own words we learn about their jobs and lives and how they were part of the thousands and thousands of workers who helped to achieve man’s greatest accomplishment of sending men to the moon and returning them safely to the Earth.