Land, Eagle, Land
July 13, 2009 6:48 AM   Subscribe

We Chose the Moon: The JFK Library and Museum has just launched this interactive web experience using archival audio, video, photos, and recorded transmissions to re-create, in real time, the July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 mission to the moon.
posted by Miko (43 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
This is great! I am going to see if I can watch it with my son.
posted by Mister_A at 7:03 AM on July 13, 2009

And daughter!
posted by Mister_A at 7:12 AM on July 13, 2009

posted by honest knave at 7:13 AM on July 13, 2009

This is awesome! Also, nothing says Historical Archivey Goodness better than centre-justified Times New Roman.

It just says "You can have your mores, your caprices and your fashions. This is centre-justified Times New Roman motherfucker, and we'll be here long after your skinny jeans have been retired."
posted by Jofus at 7:14 AM on July 13, 2009 [5 favorites]

Not to be confused with We Like The Moon
posted by Confess, Fletch at 7:20 AM on July 13, 2009

You dropped an 'o'. Should be "We Chose The Mooon".
posted by DU at 7:21 AM on July 13, 2009

Completely Awesome.
posted by SirOmega at 7:44 AM on July 13, 2009

You dropped an 'o'. Should be "We Chose The Mooon".

posted by Miko at 7:53 AM on July 13, 2009

I just had a nerd-gasm. Thanks!
posted by JeffK at 7:53 AM on July 13, 2009

For people like me who are old enough to have been alive when JFK made that speech, this is a bittersweet anniversary. Still, thanks for posting this.
posted by tommasz at 7:58 AM on July 13, 2009

This is awesome and I was going to post it last night, but foolishly thought I'd wait tilll Thursday.

Curse you Miko!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:01 AM on July 13, 2009

posted by 7segment at 8:09 AM on July 13, 2009 [2 favorites]

I've posted this elsewhere, so forgive me, but: it occurred to me to look up some dates when I read this, and I realized that the last manned moon landing was in 1975, a bare five months after I was born. I knew this somehow, viscerally, but…

The last one. The last one, possibly the last one ever. Forty years later, we sit in the bottom of our gravity well and peer out at the universe through one decent orbital telescope (and peering back down with hundreds, I might add) and sending up camcorders on wheels to report back in black and white.

This sort of thing makes me want to cry. We go to the moon and then, as a followup, nothing, nothing more than puttering around in low earth orbit.

Screw you, baby boomers. Your generation has been a blight on every facet of the landscape, and you owe me a rocketship future.
posted by mhoye at 8:17 AM on July 13, 2009 [8 favorites]

"We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people. For space science, like nuclear science and all technology, has no conscience of its own. Whether it will become a force for good or ill depends on man, and only if the United States occupies a position of pre-eminence can we help decide whether this new ocean will be a sea of peace or a new terrifying theater of war. I do not say that we should or will go unprotected against the hostile misuse of space any more than we go unprotected against the hostile use of land or sea, but I do say that space can be explored and mastered without feeding the fires of war, without repeating the mistakes that man has made in extending his writ around this globe of ours.

There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation many never come again. But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon... (interrupted by applause) we choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."

- President John F. Kennedy, Rice University, September 12, 1962
posted by grabbingsand at 8:34 AM on July 13, 2009 [5 favorites]

Great site.

BTW -- if you are visiting Boston, the JFK Library & Museum has a special exhibit: "Moon Shot -- JFK and Space Exploration" until May 2010.
posted by ericb at 8:36 AM on July 13, 2009

I share your pain, mhoye.....

I was a project engineer at NASA during this time- Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville. Worked on the J-2 rocket engine project (2nd and 3rd stages of the Saturn V). Those were heady times indeed, and it's truly amazing what was accomplished less than seventy years after the first powered flight.
Question of resources? Look at what we've spent on Iraq and then trying to fix a spoiled economy. Just think about where we would be if only a minuscule fraction of that money were allocated to a rocketship future - and the education that would make it possible.

posted by drhydro at 8:42 AM on July 13, 2009 [17 favorites]

The cynic in me believes that we don't rush headlong into outerspace because the more of its vastness we see, the less meaningful the trivial bullshit that runs most of our lives seems. To some, that brings a sense of wonderment; to others, fear and obsolescence.

I want my fucking hover bikes.
posted by Dark Messiah at 8:47 AM on July 13, 2009

The moon was visible in daylight this morning and I was just thinking how impressive it was we shot some people up there. This is cool.
posted by starman at 8:49 AM on July 13, 2009

The weird thing is, most people (Regis and Kelly watchers) assume "space travel" is now relatively routine and that's why you don't hear much about it. After all, the moon landing was forty years ago, that's old hat. Meanwhile, as others have pointed out, I don't think any human being has been beyond low Earth orbit since the Appolo program.

The fact they're still using the space shuttle shows how kludgy and impoverished the idea of manned space exploration has become to NASA.

I think having the capability to successfully colonize beyond Earth is probably the most important problem facing humanity, in the medium long-term. More important than global warming, that's for sure. Nice temperate climates ain't gonna save you when a stadium-sized asteroid hits or a particularly bad sunstorm strips the atmosphere away.
posted by autodidact at 8:50 AM on July 13, 2009

They should also make a project called "the other things". That what always sticks out from that speech: "We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things... not because they are are easy, but because they are hard."
posted by smackfu at 9:06 AM on July 13, 2009

Seconding mhoye, drhydro, Dark Messiah (and everybody else, looks like).

Last year on a junket me and the boys visited the Boeing plant. We couldn't take the factory tour because of a strike, so we settled for the bus ride around the grounds (which normally drops you off at the factory, but on this day just made a loop). Standing in the waiting area for the bus, there are glass cases showing models of most of Boeing's commercial airliners from over the years, alongside military planes and space vehicles.

It's exactly the same sort of display I was seeing in museums when I was seven years old. The only new thing was a 777, and it's hard to get excited about that. I can understand intellectually that space travel is a hard physics problem and that robots make sense and satellites and computers make it all so much easier to just sit here and think...

But, yeah, I grew up thinking I'd missed everything. Even the Space Shuttle seemed lackluster compared to the SCIENCE! future I longed for.

On the upside, we got off the bus and wandered around here. It was a slow day and the guys working on the restorations were very chatty; the hangar is a tinkerer's dream, with tools and parts and ancient girly calendars and workplace safety posters. We walked around inside the de Havilland Comet they were busy restoring. At just over 6 feet tall, I could not stand erect, even in the middle of the aisle near the stewardess station, across from the floor-to-ceiling cabinet with a glass door which contained all the fuses.
posted by Rat Spatula at 9:15 AM on July 13, 2009

Screw you, baby boomers.

I'm a Baby Boomer and You Gen Xers think you're God Almighty, but you know what you are? You're cheap, lousy, dirty, stinkin' mugs! And I'm glad what I done to you, ya hear that? I'm glad what I done!

And by the way, I could have been a contender too.
posted by digsrus at 9:33 AM on July 13, 2009

and I realized that the last manned moon landing was in 1975

Actually it was in 1972. 1975 was the final Apollo mission, but it was the Apollo/Soyuz mission and it never left Earth orbit.

I just hope at least some of those 12 guys live to see another human walk there. I think there are only nine of them left.
posted by bondcliff at 9:54 AM on July 13, 2009

If you want to blame someone for our myopic navel gazing, blame the rise of the consumer culture, mass media and the entertainment sector. Because no matter how much money one or two companies can make creating rocket ships for the government, roughly 1000x as much money can be made convincing the entire population of the world that it is currently miserable and might feel just a little better about itself if one bought this lipstick, or ate these low carb cookies, or had this lovely pair of jeans, or had a house with a bigger back yard, or drove a car with three (not two) cupholders.

In other words, why are we still here on the ground? Because there's NO EASY MONEY in exploring the universe. And everyone knows that easy money is what Planet Earth, Incorporated is all about.

I get lumps in my throat about a lot of things; feel sadness and shame for all manner of human folly, but the depth of feeling I get from combining the yearning and questing in my almost infinitely curious heart for the dark outdoors with the disgust and pessimism I feel for the squandering of resources and potential perpetrated by the narcissistic fucktards running our governments and corporations is almost boundless in its bleak fury.

We are capable of so much, and yet do so little beyond spitting and squabbling amongst ourselves like ants tussling over grains of sand. Stupid monkeys.
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:03 AM on July 13, 2009 [7 favorites]

I just had a nerd-gasm.

Well I just had a moon-shot.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 10:07 AM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

When I was a kid, it felt like we were moving into the future with space. The moon landing, space stations, even the Space Shuttle seemed to my naive eyes like progress towards exploration. Popular culture was full of space travel - TV shows about space arks, Martians among us, and so on. It was inevitable.

Decades later, we're still sitting here.

I know it would be expensive to send a human to another planet, but I also think that it's our future, and that we can take giant strides when we choose to.

Where's our JFK to lead us?
posted by zippy at 10:15 AM on July 13, 2009

I wish the world was still this excited about space.

Excellent post, Miko.

I'm only 30, but I still get teary-eyed watching the Apollo 11 landing.
posted by futureisunwritten at 10:18 AM on July 13, 2009

I love that speech. Not really entirely sure what my daughter thinks of the garbled bits of it I recite to her in my silliest possible Kennedy accent, while pointing at the moon.

Then I do bits of Bruce Lee movies. "Don't... look at the finger. Or you miss all the heavenly glory"

Or we both just shout "Moooon... Mooooon..."

Anyhow, promoting moon awareness in toddlers is great fun.
posted by Artw at 10:24 AM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

It's especially poignant after the announcement that NASA plans to deorbit the ISS in 2016.

I miss the grandeur of spaceflight and exploration.. I like having a space station overhead. I like the fact that we built giant ass rockets to go to the moon..

I just wish we'd do more with it.

However, I have no desire to go to space. I don't see the need to expend that much money just so I can throw up uncontrollably in Low Earth Orbit.
posted by Lord_Pall at 10:49 AM on July 13, 2009

But without the ISS where will the shuttle go?
posted by Artw at 10:56 AM on July 13, 2009

Go China, go India.
posted by Artw at 10:57 AM on July 13, 2009

I assume from the reactions that the first link isn't taking everyone else to a page with an AOL favico and a lot of broken links, and which demands my full name, birth year, and e-mail before it will show me anything. Hrm.
posted by wintersweet at 11:04 AM on July 13, 2009

I also am of that age where I can remember the moon landings. I still have the scrapbook I kept. While I'm sure it's partly due to selective memory, I recall a certain attitude of exploration and an optimism about technology and the future that was embodied in both the space program and other research activities, for example, the Conshelf Three and Tektite One. Going to Expo 67 made it seem like those hovercars and floating cities were just on the horizon...a true "yes we can" era. Memories of those exploits have stuck with me longer than memories of the riots, assassinations, and deaths (one of my brothers was a big Hendrix fan) of the time.

For a great perspctive on the moon landings, I would heartily recommend the movie 'In the Shadow of the Moon' (also here, but with a somewhat irritating Flash interface). One of the most inspiring quotes from that movie was by (if I recall correctly) Apollo 11 command module pilot Michael Collins, who said on the occasion of the astronauts' world tour after returning, that the prevailing feeling of people around the world wasn't that you landed on the Moon, but that we - all of humanity - did. A much more positive bit of diplomacy than has occurred in recent years, methinks.

And as I grew up near the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, home of unmanned space exploration, let us also not forget that seven years to the day after Apollo 11 landed on the moon, Viking 1 landed on Mars.

And lastly, in addition to all the other benefits from space exploration, I work as a system administrator, and one of the critical things I must do is maintain a viable offsite backup. It would be nice to know that if we are unlucky enough to get hit by another major extinction event, that there's an independent colony preserving some fraction of humanity and human knowledge.
posted by foonly at 11:24 AM on July 13, 2009 [2 favorites]

I've never seen a thread go from the heights of "JFK: Hope! Your future is right in front of you, grab it!" to the depths of "Nobody has set foot on the Moon in thirty seven years."

I feel like I just read the obituary of the ex-wife I never had.
posted by Sphinx at 12:09 PM on July 13, 2009

Cribbed from a post I made on Fark a while back:

We should be reminded of this periodically. I remember my mom keeping me home from school to watch Alan Shepard ride that Redstone in what, at that time, after a series of hugely public failures, seemed like the greatest death-defying act in history. I saw John Glenn launch in the first manned Atlas. By the Gemini flights, some of the newness had worn off, but if they were up there, they led the nightly news.

Things changed after a while. If you weren't here in 1968, you really can't grok what an awesome feeling it was, after the horrible year we had in terms of civil unrest, rioting, assassinations and whatnot, to see a live television broadcast *From the farking moon*. And then there was 11. A single, epoch-defining moment in history. I watched it on a cheap black and white tube television from Goodwill. That didn't matter much, in terms of picture quality. We were actually there. I remember my grandfather calling- he who had lived from the era of horse-drawn plows in the 19th century on the family farm in Illinois, through two World Wars, and into retirement in Florida, and hearing him cry for the first time in my life.

Apollo 13 brought back the sense of danger- the entire world held its breath for four days, anxious, some praying, others just hoping for the safety of three men who they didn't know. The movies and books don't bring back the immediacy of harried midnight press conferences with NASA engineers in the midst of a herculean, and ultimately unbelievably successful effort to save lives.

Yes, I think we went wrong with the space shuttle, and politics and military 'requirements' led to design compromises that have cost 14 lives so far. But the greatest failure of all is the failure of will, the loss of the spirit that led JFK to make his bold announcement of putting a man on the moon inside of 9 years. If we had the will, we could have had a permanent settlement on the moon by now.

When I was 6 years old, and I learned about space and the solar system, and having watched a couple of the Mercury missions, I can remember now, 50 years later, the feeling of certainty I had that I would stand on Mars someday and look back at the Earth. I knew it could happen.

I feel robbed.
posted by pjern at 6:52 PM on July 13, 2009 [3 favorites]

This is getting depressing. I prefer to think it this way. Neil Armstrong was not Columbus, he was Eric the Red. We may not all see it, maybe none of us alive now will, but I will always believe we will get to the stars one day.
posted by bowline at 9:15 PM on July 13, 2009

But without the ISS where will the shuttle go?

The Shuttle is being retired, too. After which the Constellation program will take over. The new launch vehicles - the Ares rockets - reach a significant milestone this year, with first test launch of Ares I-X scheduled for Aug/Sept.

On the drawing board is the Orion capsule, its first manned flight due in 2014. First lunar return mission for the Constellation program is planned for 2019.

After that, ostensibly to replace the ISS, is a manned lunar station expected in the early 2020s.
posted by crossoverman at 11:21 PM on July 13, 2009

...Question of resources? Look at what we've spent on Iraq and then trying to fix a spoiled economy. Just think about where we would be if only a minuscule fraction of that money were allocated to a rocketship future - and the education that would make it possible.

drhydro I agree with you 100%. I also believe that if we explored the universe, maybe we will get a better insight into who we are. It is a pity that we can't put as much as energy, time and resources into such exploration and understanding endeavors as we do to exploitation and enforcing ideas / beliefs. I really envy and deeply respect both people who have been into space and the people who make it possible....
posted by Prunedish at 4:48 AM on July 14, 2009

This was going along very nicely right until the audio cut out at T minus 90 seconds, to be replaced by a charming little "over capacity, tune in later" message. Did it not occur to anyone at Shoutcast that people might want to actually listen to this?
posted by Zonker at 6:34 AM on July 16, 2009

Zonker> This was going along very nicely right until the audio cut out at T minus 90 seconds, to be replaced by a charming little "over capacity, tune in later" message.

Ditto. Veery aggrevating. I mean, I know it was just an playback, but following the countdown for so long with launch control's very dry comments, I was really getting into it. I got the live audio back at the beginning of stage three though for some of the radio chatter.
posted by adamt at 6:49 AM on July 16, 2009

The lower right corner of the screen has a scroll of news and stuff from the day 40yearsago...
The #8 Best Selling Novel was "Except for Me and Thee" by the OTHER Jessamyn West. It was a minor shock to see a familiar name from the 21st Century while so immersed in 1969.

BTW, #1 was Jacqueline Susann's "The Love Machine", #2 "Portnoy's Complaint", #3 "The Godfather", #4 "Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle" by Vladamir Nabokov, #5 "The Andromeda Strain", #6 "The Pretenders" by Gladys Rockmore Davis, #7 "Slaughterhouse Five", #9"The Goodbye Look" by Ross McDonald and #10 "New Moon Rising" by Eugenia Price. That's the 1969 I remember.
posted by wendell at 7:35 AM on July 16, 2009

Houston, We Erased The Apollo 11 Tapes.

So the lost tapes (subject of this FPP) were not found and are believed to have been erased.

In consolation NASA has digitally enhanced broadcast TV footage, as per Brandon Blatcher's hyperlink above.
posted by ericb at 9:36 AM on July 16, 2009

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