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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mooning about

And so it is, that Tuesday has come to us all with the passing of Monday.

Last night while I was sat in the garden (smoking when I shouldn't have been) the moon was at it's fullest as far as I could tell and it lit the place up as if it were the sun. In truth, it partly is the sun - or at least the light part of it is - as it's merely reflected from our central star. But this got me to thinking about the moon as I have been known to do on occasion.

First a few facts (which given that I've written them in my blog are undisputable).

1. It's roughly 250,000 miles from the earth to the moon which I think means I've driven the distance there and back once in my lifetime so far (give or take a few miles).

2. There are golf balls that Alan Shepard shanked and sliced about during the Apollo 14 mission, several flags, a family photograph, the Fallen Astronaut (a tiny statuette left by the crew of Apollo 15) and many probes, satellites and reflectors as well as the Landers and Rovers used during the 6 manned visits. None of them can been seen with the naked eye, nor even with a telescope (leading to all sorts of conspiracy theories about whether NASA actually went in the first place), but there has been some photos from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter that prove the existence of such sites as tranquility base (the most famous landing site from the summer of '69).

3. It's made of cheese (some say it's cheddar) but samples brought back from the 60's and 70's moon landings are eaten at the presidents birthday dinner each year and those that have tried it swear it's either Brie or Camembert - The tougher outer shell gives it away.

OK, so that may not have been 100% fact, but then I've never claimed anything I write here is, apart from the bits that are ;-)

I'm sure you've noticed that when you look at the moon it has the darker grey portions and very light almost white portions. Everytime I see it like that I feel like I'm looking at an old version of the Earth. It's only in greyscale / black and white because it pre-dates colour. It's like Earth from the 1930's. The dark areas are actually lunar maria created by volcanic fallout and not seas (in Latin "Maria" hence the name) as the early astronomers mistakenly thought.

I've always felt that I have a personal affinity with it because of my age. 1969 was the both my year and that of the first moon landing and while the fact that man even went there should be important enough, for me it just seems so much more significant. The whole Apollo thing has a special place in my heart even if I was too young to remember it. I have a copy of "Life" magazine from the day I was born hung on my office wall. The picture on the cover depicts the Earth as seen from Apollo 8. It was a '68 special all about NASA's mission. On Christmas Eve 1968 this mission also took the infamous "Earthrise" photograph that shows the Earth rising over the horizon of the moon. It's an image that I keep coming back to and is simply Iconic.

I hope one day we'll go back. I saw Moon a couple of months ago and it paints a dark, bleak picture of our orbiting rock's future. I dream of it's future being much brighter and of one day maybe even visiting it myself. But I'm sure there's a whole generation of people 10 years older than me that have had that dream and upgraded their destination to Mars, just because when they were 10 they saw men walk on the moon and believed Mars would be our next stop. Now that we've skipped a generation, we've got to go back and learn how to do it again, and as we've not got any spare cash to do it, I suspect that both mine and their dream may never come to fruition. I live in hope.

In other news - I think my WiFi is nearly dead. It keeps just dropping out for no reason. Now I don't really want to go and buy a new router (and I could go back to my O2 supplied Thompson) so I think a little more research is in order before I go shelling out. Ho-Hum.
 

Where is Golfyball?

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