Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Commemorating The Greatest Adventure of All Time!
Thursday marks the 40th Anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11, the spacecraft that first took man to the moon, an event that many people feel is the greatest accomplishment in human history. To commemorate this historic event, a new website has been launched at WeChooseTheMoon.com which will recreate the entire mission from start to finish.
If you visit the site right now, and as I write this we're still more than 43 hours from "launch", you can see a virtual representation of the Saturn V rocket that would propel Apollo 11 out of the Earth's atmosphere. You'll also be able to hear ground control running through pre-flight checks as they prepare for the mission, which is still two days away. All of the audio feeds are authentic, and once the mission is underway, there will be video as well, as we follow the three astronauts, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins on their voyage, which will culminate next week on July 24th when they return to Earth with a splashdown. Of course, before that happens we'll get to relive the most significant piece of history when on July 20th, Armstrong and Aldrin pilot the lunar lander to the surface of the moon, and become the first humans to step foot on another world.
From what I understand, the details of the mission have been rebuilt to exacting specifications for this website, so we'll all be able to follow along in realtime. The site also allows you to view the liftoff from a variety of angles, and feeds us information about the speed and distance traveled. Other feeds provide trivia about the day, such as what the best selling books were at the time, and the songs that topped the charts as well.
Of course, once liftoff occurs, that's when the fun really begins. I'm told that there is nearly constant chatter between the astronauts and mission control, which should make for a very interesting way to relive this slice of history. I wasn't around when the moon landing happened, I was actually born a month later, but I have always been a fan of the space program, and have been fascinated with the idea of traveling to other planets. For the next week or so, this is going to be something that I'll be watching very closely. In my mind, it is indeed the greatest human adventure of all time, but if you can think of one better, I'd be happy to re-evaluate.