Skip

The Original MoonWalking
December 12, 2010 12:44 AM   Subscribe

Occasionally here on MetaFilter, the subject of an FPP 'drops by' to add information or respond to comments. That happened to Robert Krulwich the other day over on his blog 'Krulwich Wonders ...'. In one of his posts he had wondered why the first lunar astronauts had only walked less than a hundred yards from their lander. Who better to drop by and give him the answer but Mr. Neil Armstrong ...
posted by woodblock100 (59 comments total) 53 users marked this as a favorite

 
Moon dudes will fuck you up

YOU DUMB MOON
posted by The Whelk at 1:00 AM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm in a state of awe of what we achieved in going to the moon. We should certainly go back again.

I liked his closing statement: "During my testimony in May I said, "Some question why Americans should return to the Moon. "After all," they say "we have already been there." I find that mystifying. It would be as if 16th century monarchs proclaimed that "we need not go to the New World, we have already been there." Or as if President Thomas Jefferson announced in 1803 that Americans "need not go west of the Mississippi, the Lewis and Clark Expedition has already been there." Americans have visited and examined 6 locations on Luna, varying in size from a suburban lot to a small township. That leaves more than 14 million square miles yet to explore."

Thanks for posting this.
posted by arcticseal at 1:04 AM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Please understand that I'm a bitter, cynical guy when I write:

SQUEEEEE! Neil Armstrong!
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:18 AM on December 12, 2010 [19 favorites]


This is more than someone stopping by to make a couple of comments. Armstrong almost never does interviews or public appearances.
posted by zamboni at 1:19 AM on December 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


The more I think about it, the more the entire enterprise of actually getting people to the moon seems crazy.

Like BATSHITINSANE crazy.
posted by stratastar at 1:22 AM on December 12, 2010


Joey Michaels: "Please understand that I'm a bitter, cynical guy when I write:

SQUEEEEE! Neil Armstrong!
"

The Platonic embodiment of SQUEEEE: Neil Armstrong immediately after the first moonwalk.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:34 AM on December 12, 2010 [12 favorites]


Stratastar, if you want to learn more about the craziness, you should totally read the new Mary Roach book, Packing For Mars. It has a lot about the quirky logistics of past, present and future space missions. It's really informative and frequently hilarious.

Although, I skipped a lot of the chapter on barfing because I read on the bus.
posted by redsparkler at 1:43 AM on December 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


he had wondered why the first lunar astronauts had only walked less than a hundred yards from their lander

Duh. Because the TV studio that NASA rented to stage the moon landing was only 100 yards wi—*BUZZ ALDRIN PUNCH!*
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:57 AM on December 12, 2010 [8 favorites]


Thanks so much for this.
posted by freya_lamb at 2:41 AM on December 12, 2010


Thank you. Way cool.
posted by bardophile at 3:14 AM on December 12, 2010


The Whelk: "Moon dudes will fuck you up

YOU DUMB MOON
"

This comment from the video had me rolling:

After seeing this, I've decided that Buzz Aldrin is so tough, he never did go to the moon. The moon came to him...
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 3:27 AM on December 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


I hope I never get jaded enough about the Internet that I don't bask in how unutterably cool it is that some guy can ask a question about the moon missions on his blog, and Neil Goddam Armstrong answers it.

and I say that with all respect, Mr. Armstrong, sir
posted by Mooski at 4:05 AM on December 12, 2010 [21 favorites]


This is nice and all, but I still haven't forgiven Neil for being such a recluse all these years.
posted by fairmettle at 4:15 AM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


How cool is that? I agree, one of the coolest things about the internet is you never know who might stop by.

Have we forgotten about Suitcase Jefferson, though? Yeah, old link, but--this is the key--still hilarious.
posted by maxwelton at 4:34 AM on December 12, 2010


This is nice and all, but I still haven't forgiven Neil for being such a recluse all these years.
The man's an international treasure because he's intensely private. You'd like the first person on the moon to be… what? A politician, like Glenn, or a celebrity, like Aldrin? Armstrong's decision to keep himself apart from all of that is what makes him great.
posted by zamboni at 4:54 AM on December 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


That thing that always amazes me about Armstrong is that previous to Apollo 11, he had only spent 3 hours in space, but man, those three hours!
posted by nomadicink at 5:34 AM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oops, I was wrong, Gemini was actually 10 hours from launch to landing, but the point still holds, Armstrong kept a level head in an emergency.
posted by nomadicink at 5:39 AM on December 12, 2010


You'd like the first person on the moon to be… what?

Ambassador of the Moon.
posted by fairmettle at 5:58 AM on December 12, 2010 [8 favorites]


That was really, really awesome!
posted by Artw at 6:24 AM on December 12, 2010


When I was in grade school in the 90's, a really good friend of mine bought Neil Armstrong's family house, out in farm country in SW Ohio. He had for a long time lived in a richer neighborhood closer to Cincinnati, but had for some reason kept the old house, too. Before my friend's family was completely moved in, a lot of work needed to be done (i.e. removal of old green shag carpeting that was EVERYWHERE, redoing the kitchen, painting the barns, etc.). The house itself was full of little 'treasures' that hadn't been cleared out yet, which made exploring the farm so much fun. We saw moon pictures, bags of really strange gifts that kids from around the world had sent him (strangely enough, there were several taxidermied animals either holding the USA flag or wearing space suits), and bright orange training suits with NASA patches. The green car he drove to the launch was parked out by the barn and looked like it hadn't been driven for a while. Needless to say, the house and surroundings seemed to be serving as a storage place for his space goodies. One day, I went over to the house to play with my friend, and while I was waiting for her to come outside, I started talking to an old construction guy who was fixing up the front drive. The conversation wasn't really about anything special, and probably didn't last more than 10 minutes. Eventually, my friend came out, and we set off exploring some more. After a while, she looked at me and cavalierly said, 'Oh, so I see you've met Neil.' Apparently, he had come over to talk with her Dad, and to help fix up the front driveway, which is where I mistook him for a construction worker. Of course, my reaction was nothing short of hysteria - what kid doesn't have (even small) dreams of being an astronaut?? From Neil's perspective, I was probably the only kid in the past three decades who hadn't dissolved into jubilation or shocked awe once the conversation had started. Knowing how excited I was even hours after meeting him, I can understand why a person would want to slip into anonymity rather than be a constant public figure. What a great way to make an appearance, though!

tl;dr - As a kid, I met Neil Armstrong, but thought he was a construction worker. The excitement that I felt after I figured it out makes me realize why he's loathe to make public appearances.
posted by genekelly'srollerskates at 6:36 AM on December 12, 2010 [70 favorites]


I've always been a science guy and been really interested in space and space travel, and yet somehow all these years I never realized that it was *hot* during the landing (200F as stated in the letter). Somehow I always imagined it as very cold. Huh. It's obvious I guess because they were on the light side with no atmospheric insulation against the sun but still ... huh.
posted by freecellwizard at 6:39 AM on December 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


I had the same misconception, freecellwizard.
posted by RedEmma at 7:12 AM on December 12, 2010


Sincerely,

Neil Armstrong

Commander

Apollo 11



Yours truly,

Barack Obama

President

United States of America, 2009-present


With love,

Albert Einstein

Nobel Prize winner

Physics, 1921


With my sincerest apologies,

J. K. Rowling

author

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
posted by Tsuga at 7:23 AM on December 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


He seems to be doing more interviews in recent years; he's even had an official biography written. I wonder if he realizes he's getting older and feels the world should finally hear his story before it's too late. A lot of WWII vets who barely talked of the war for 60 years are doing the same thing.

When I dream of being one of those guys I never dream of being Neil or Buzz. Their job was to get there and back alive, maybe collect a bag of dirt or two, and give the Soviets a big "nanny nanny boo boo.". No, I want to be Gene Cernan and spend three days living on the moon, driving the rover, and exploring interesting mountainous terrain rather than a flat spot. What the first mission did was win the race, but it was the later missions that actually explored. Imagine what we could accomplish if we went back.
posted by bondcliff at 7:24 AM on December 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


and spend three days living on the moon

Yes. This. Can you imagine what it must have felt like to wake up on those 'mornings', open your eyes, shake the sleep out of your head, and then realize ... just where you were. Unbelievable!
posted by woodblock100 at 7:31 AM on December 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


An old employer of mine told a story once that I love -- in the early-to-mid-90's, there was a type of big puffy snow boot for kids that got nicknamed "Moon boots" because of their size. My boss had two little girls, and one, who was only about three or four, really loved her moon boots.

And somehow his family ended up at someone's open-house party, and -- Neil Armstrong was also one of the guests at his party. My boss' girls were two of the only kids there, and were gregarious, so they were having a ball talking to everyone, and everyone was pretty indulgent (because of the "aw they're so cute" factor). And at some point, my boss's three-year-old ended up chattering to Neil Armstrong, and suddenly ran to the front door where she'd left her boots. "Look! Look at my moon boots!" she said to Neil.

Neil just chuckled a little and said, "I've got a set of moon boots of my own at home, too."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:33 AM on December 12, 2010 [41 favorites]


One of my favourite Neil Armstrong facts is about Apollo 11's final descent towards the lunar surface. On the way down, Armstrong looked out of the window, and realised that the Lunar Module was heading for a rough, boulder-strewn area. So, in a move that seems straight out of science fiction (or possibly inspired a lot of it), he took manual control and flew the LM several hundred metres to find a clear spot, before touching down with less than 30 seconds of fuel remaining.

At which point, I like to imagine, he jumped out of the LM and casually strolled away, tossing aside a lit cigarette as the spacecraft exploded behind him.
posted by ZsigE at 7:35 AM on December 12, 2010 [22 favorites]


At which point, I like to imagine, he jumped out of the LM and casually strolled away, tossing aside a lit cigarette as the spacecraft exploded behind him.

He supposedly did something like that after a training accident. Can't remember where I read it, but fellow astronauts said he just filed some paperwork and went home, like it was a normal day, which I guess in a way it was.
posted by nomadicink at 7:46 AM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


heading for a rough, boulder-strewn area ...

The audio of the descent is pretty familiar to most of us, but a camera positioned in the window of the LM also captured video of the approach to the surface, including plenty of very scary-looking craters looming up in those final few seconds ...
posted by woodblock100 at 8:04 AM on December 12, 2010


awwww! i thought it was a random blogger, not a big media outlet like NPR. still ... squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
posted by liza at 8:19 AM on December 12, 2010


We like the Moon / because it is good to us

I'm a member of the Museum of Fight here in Seattle, and they have these annual-or-more-often fundraiser dinners on air or space themes, often with aviation-related celebrity guests, like Tuskegee Airmen or such. I haven't ever gone to one because I kinda figure it would be a bad fit for me culturally.

Until recently the museum director was Shuttle astronaut Bonnie Dunbar. A couple of years ago the big event was a space-oriented dinner. I think it was held around the time there was a special focus on the Apollo 11 landing in 2009, the 40th anniversary.

The next month, I got the newsletter/magaziney thing and they had an article on the dinner. The invited, attending, and speaking guests of honor were the crew of Apollo 11. There were apparently grip-and-grin opportunities all night.

I now carefully review the announced guests of honor for upcoming fundraisers at the Museum.
posted by mwhybark at 8:25 AM on December 12, 2010


It would be as if 16th century monarchs proclaimed that "we need not go to the New World, we have already been there."

And look how well they treated the New World when they got there!
posted by Miko at 8:52 AM on December 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


And look how well they treated the New World when they got there!

It's cool, there's no natives this time, we'll just exploit the natural resources which God left for us there!
posted by nomadicink at 8:55 AM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Commander. Fucking awesome. I'm going to start signing my letters "Commander ColdChef."
posted by ColdChef at 9:51 AM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Landing on the moon and packet-switching technology: last great American technical achievements.
posted by cogneuro at 11:29 AM on December 12, 2010


Rhaomi: The Platonic embodiment of SQUEEEE: Neil Armstrong immediately after the first moonwalk.

Oh, so awesome. *Head assplodes*
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:38 AM on December 12, 2010


Q: What's the difference between Michael Jackson and Neil Armstrong
posted by jcruelty at 12:00 PM on December 12, 2010


I'm a member of the Museum of Fight

the first rule of Museum of Fight is you don't talk about Museum of Fight
posted by liza at 12:01 PM on December 12, 2010 [9 favorites]


This is nice and all, but I still haven't forgiven Neil for being such a recluse all these years.

It's not that he's reclusive, it's just that he spends a lot of time in the bathroom looking in the mirror and shouting - "HOLY SHIT - I'VE BEEN TO THE MOON!"

At least that's what I'd be doing.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:09 PM on December 12, 2010 [8 favorites]


Bah just another example of American exceptionalism, expend tremendous natural resources just drive a car around the moon. How many starving children could we have helped instead.

Oh fuck it, screw you you dumb moon, we own you! We drove a car and played golf on you! Suck it hater moon!
posted by Ad hominem at 12:47 PM on December 12, 2010


One of my favourite Neil Armstrong facts is about Apollo 11's final descent towards the lunar surface. On the way down, Armstrong looked out of the window, and realised that the Lunar Module was heading for a rough, boulder-strewn area. So, in a move that seems straight out of science fiction (or possibly inspired a lot of it), he took manual control and flew the LM several hundred metres to find a clear spot, before touching down with less than 30 seconds of fuel remaining.

Fuck, and I can't even ever land without crashing in Lunar Lander.
posted by kmz at 12:50 PM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bah just another example of American exceptionalism, expend tremendous natural resources just drive a car around the moon.

It was three cars, you ass jittering Soyuz module.
posted by nomadicink at 12:55 PM on December 12, 2010


Mooski: I hope I never get jaded enough about the Internet that I don't bask in how unutterably cool it is that some guy can ask a question about the moon missions on his blog, and Neil Goddam Armstrong answers it.
Well. He's not just some guy with a blog. Krulwich is a regular NPR contributor and co-host of a national radio show about science. Armstrong might even be one of his listeners, for all we know.

I guess what I'm saying is: Armstrong never responded to questions about the moon landings on my blog. Not that I've asked any, but surely that's beside the point.
posted by Western Infidels at 2:51 PM on December 12, 2010


With my sincerest apologies,

J. K. Rowling

author

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone



Go fuck yourselves,

George Lucas

creator

Star Wars, Indiana Jones
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 3:05 PM on December 12, 2010


This is good, thanks.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:09 PM on December 12, 2010


So, in a move that seems straight out of science fiction (or possibly inspired a lot of it), he took manual control and flew the LM several hundred metres to find a clear spot, before touching down with less than 30 seconds of fuel remaining.

Maybe that's why he flubbed his opening line?
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 3:13 PM on December 12, 2010


Maybe that's why he flubbed his opening line?

He didn't.
posted by pashdown at 4:10 PM on December 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Neil Armstrong
posted by humannaire at 5:23 PM on December 12, 2010


excuse me, that's spelled Neil Fucking On The Moon Armstrong
posted by The Whelk at 5:24 PM on December 12, 2010


Who could ever forget those stirring first words from the moon..
posted by Wet Spot at 5:30 PM on December 12, 2010




Neil Armstrong is the ultimate rock star!! A hero!
posted by AugustWest at 7:27 PM on December 12, 2010


freecellwizard writes "I've always been a science guy and been really interested in space and space travel, and yet somehow all these years I never realized that it was *hot* during the landing (200F as stated in the letter). Somehow I always imagined it as very cold. Huh. It's obvious I guess because they were on the light side with no atmospheric insulation against the sun but still ... huh."

The number 200F doesn't really make any sense to me. After all the temperature of a vacuum is nothing; there is no heat without molecules to bump into each other. He's speaking authoritatively so there must be some rational for that number. Maybe the temperature of the surface of the moon or the surface of their suits? Anyone know?
posted by Mitheral at 10:40 PM on December 12, 2010


Yeah, the dayside temperature of the moon is a bit above 200F. I'm sure the albedo of the suits differs from the albedo of the surface, but it still gives a pretty good idea of the kind of cooling and insulation you'd need to keep the astronauts from dying.
posted by Justinian at 11:18 PM on December 12, 2010


ASTRONAUTS EAT BREAKFAST UPSIDE DOWN
posted by tehloki at 11:50 PM on December 12, 2010


excuse me, that's spelled Neil Fucking On The Moon Armstrong

That's what I said. Neil Armstrong.

You must have missed it for the "SHAZAM!"
posted by humannaire at 4:48 PM on December 13, 2010


Taschen published a book about Apollo 11 called MoonFire about a year ago. Like a lot of their best work it was originally a limited edition - currently running about $1K/copy - but they released it this summer as a non-limited version that's currently $26 at Amazon. It's a gorgeous book - the photography's incredible and much of it hadn't been previously published.
posted by ethand at 7:33 AM on December 14, 2010


Dude has his own air and space museum.
posted by gottabefunky at 9:50 AM on December 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Taschen published a book about Apollo 11 called MoonFire about a year ago. Like a lot of their best work it was originally a limited edition - currently running about $1K/copy

Pshaw! That edition is for chumps. The real edition you want, in a run of 12, comes with a specially crafted aluminum "lander" case plus a real, genuine, moon rock. It can be yours for the low, low price of $90,500. Although it will probably cost you a lot more now that billionaire collectors have bought them all.
posted by pashdown at 7:17 PM on December 14, 2010


« Older If you did your vacation slideshows this way...   |   Jul-hadi Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post