Monday, July 20, 2009

We Choose the Moon - What a Wonderful Way to Relive History

Reposted from my personal Home Page.

When Apollo 11 launched its lunar module to make the first landing on the moon back in 1969, I had just had a newlywed tiff with my husband and had stalked outside to cool off. We were visiting his grandparents and his grandmother called to me and urged me to come back inside to see Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. Being young and hot-headed I stubbornly refused. I have regretted it ever since.

Now, today, 40 years after that historic touchdown, I got to relive the moment thanks to a wonderful website called "We Choose the Moon" that virtually recreated the experience. A new friend I met on the web just a couple of weeks ago happened to send me the link and I checked it out earlier but was several days away from the actual landing. Today, I'd been in town all day running errands and had just sat down and picked up the paper and saw a short blurb on the front page about how 40 years ago today at 1:17 p.m. PDT, the lunar module had landed on the moon. I asked my husband (yes, the same one!) what time it was and it was 1:15 p.m. so I raced back into my office, navigated to the website and downloaded the graphics just in time to see the lunar module kick up the dust of the moon's surface and descend to Tranquility Base. How thrilling!! At last - I feel I really witnessed it live!

The website designers had live streaming audio of the simulated broadcast from mission control and it made it feel so real! I loved how the virtual landing was timed to coincide with the actual event at the same real time pace. Looking forward to the virtual event just as I had the real event truly heightened my anticipation. What a wonderful way to relive history!

This website is chuck full of videos, photos, and audio clips from the actual experience as well as offering widgets to track the mission on your computer, etc. As I have only marginal DSL service at 1.5 mbps, I had problems with the volume of data transfer that has to occur between the website and my workstation and kept losing my connection. But at least I saw the actual landing and listened to about 15 minutes of post-landing transmissions before I started experiencing data overload. I would love to have the opportunity to relive other historical events in this way. Can you imagine how exciting it would be to witness one of Julius Caesar's triumphs or the crowning of Thutmosis III recreated at a date corresponding to the same date in history and paced in real time?
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