July 20, 1969: Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.

 

 

 

Fifty years ago on July 20, 1969 Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to land a  craft on the moon.  As the Eagle descended from Columbia, Armstrong noted that the projected landing site was strewn with boulders, and he began maneuvering the craft to find an area clear of boulders. The Eagle landed in a clear patch with 90 seconds of propellant left.

Two and a half hours later, before they went outside, Aldrin made this statement:  This is the LM pilot. I’d like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way.  A Presbyterian, Aldrin then ate bread and drank wine in a Presbyterian communion service, the wine and bread having been prepared by his pastor.  NASA, afraid of atheist law suits, requested that Aldrin not broadcast what he was doing, and he did not.

Armstrong and Aldrin were scheduled to sleep for five hours before leaving Eagle and walking on the Moon.  They realized that efforts to sleep would be futile, and they began preparations immediately for their Moon walk.  Tomorrow would be a big day for them.

Published in: on July 20, 2019 at 5:45 am  Comments Off on July 20, 1969: Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.  
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Clair de Lune

 

 

Something for the weekend.  Clair de Lune (1905) by Claude Debussy.

 

Published in: on July 20, 2019 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Clair de Lune  
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July 20, 1969: I am the Vine and You are the Branches

In the radio blackout, I opened the little plastic packages which contained the bread and the wine. I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine slowly curled and gracefully came up the side of the cup. Then I read the Scripture, “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing.” I had intended to read my communion passage back to earth, but at the last minute [they] had requested that I not do this. NASA was already embroiled in a legal battle with Madelyn Murray O’Hare [sic], the celebrated opponent of religion, over the Apollo 8 crew reading from Genesis while orbiting the moon at Christmas. I agreed reluctantly. I ate the tiny Host and swallowed the wine. I gave thanks for the intelligence and spirit that had brought two young pilots to the Sea of Tranquility. It was interesting for me to think: the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the very first food eaten there, were the communion elements. And of course, it’s interesting to think that some of the first words spoken on the moon were the words of Jesus Christ, who made the Earth and the moon — and Who, in the immortal words of Dante, is Himself the “Love that moves the Sun and other stars.”

Edward Eugene “Buzz” Aldrin

Published in: on July 20, 2019 at 4:00 am  Comments Off on July 20, 1969: I am the Vine and You are the Branches  
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