Science Channel seems to be my favorite channel to watch on cable. Today, I am watching the program Moon Machines. This series surveys the contributions by the many scientists, engineers, and skilled workers who contributed to the total effort to send twelve astronauts to the Moon’s surface and fourteen other astronauts to lunar orbit. This series provides a lot of archival photos, film, and interviews to support the topic of each show. I am overjoyed by this behind-the-scenes look at how we sought to achieve such a lofty goal before the end of the 1960s. The astronauts, whose lives were on the line, could not have done any of the adventuring that they did without the 400,000 people who enabled the grandest of adventures.
Legos return to the Moon! I built the following Lego models of NASA’s Project Constellation spacecraft and lunar lander when I would take breaks from my PhD exam reading schedule. The Orion spacecraft includes a detachable solid rocket booster, and it can be mated to the Altair lunar lander craft. Orion carries three minifig astronauts, and the Altair has room for one minifig astronaut. I based my Lego models on some of the computer generated mockups shown on NASA’s Constellation program website here.
Visit this site to see pictures taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) of the Apollo landing sites. The lunar lander descent stages can be made out, but they are very tiny in the current images. The site says that future images of the landing sites will have a higher resolution, because the LRO had not yet attained its final orbital altitude.
With talk of Helium-3 and valuable mineral deposits on the Moon, a revived/reinvented/altogether new space race is just on the horizon.
This year is the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission “to land a man on the moon and return him safely to the Earth.” There is a cool new site that is recreating the launch experience in real time at wechoosethemoon.org.
In more recent space news, I was hoping that the Space Shuttle Endeavour was going to launch last night on my 32nd birthday. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t up to snuff, so the launch will hopefully take place later this evening at 6:51pm. More info on NASA’s Space Shuttle website here.
I hope to travel to the Cape for a launch before the Shuttle fleet is retired. Keep your fingers crossed that I can make that happen.