Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Apollo 11

17-July-2019
   On Tuesday-16-July the Bogota Public Library hosted a lecture about the 50th anniversary
of the Apollo 11 mission. This was presented by Joseph Lennox. Mr. Lennox has written a couple of books  about space exploration. He also works with the Goddard Spaceflight Center on his lectures to schools and Libraries about the history of space exploration.  This lecture was given on the actually date of the Apollo Mission launch from Cape Kennedy 
(July -16-1969). 
 The audience was a mix of people who were able to watch  the Saturn V rocket take off and follow the Astronauts progress of the landing , and returning safely back to earth, as it happened. To the young Students, and some of there Parents this was all History of the past. Mr. Lennox  gave a brief  history of the United States  manned space program. He talked about Project Mercury which launched the first Americans into space. On 20-February-1962  John Glenn became the First US Astronaut to orbit the earth. Only seven month later (with the Project Mercury still being flown) President John Kennedy announced the goal of having the United States Land a man on the Moon, and returning them safely to Earth. This was first said at the halftime at a Rice University football game against the University of Texas.  This would begin a nation wide effort to met this challenge.  
   On 24-March-1969 the three man crew of Apollo 11 were named, Neil Armstrong, Michael  Collins and, from Glen Ridge NJ, Edwin Aldrin(Buzz). Mr. Lennox talked about the launch vehicle, the Saturn V rocket.  He showed the overall height of the rocket would be taller then the Statue of Liberty. And that the Bogota Library would be as high as one of the main boosters of the first stage. He showed that the almost 90%of the Saturn V was to bring the Astronauts out of Earth orbit and  most of the way towards the Moon. Then the audience was shown the makeup of the three main compotes of the Moon landing. This was the Conman Module, the Lunar Lander, and the Astronauts themselves.  Conman Module (CM) would stay in orbit around the Moon piloted by Michael  Collins. This was their vehicle to return to earth. Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) was the vehicle to land Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin on the surface of the Moon. This was a true space craft because it could only operate in the vacuum of space. Mr. Lennox explained to reduce the weight of the LEM there were on seats on it. The faceted shape also aloud the craft to be smaller in size since there was no atmosphere to cause drag. He then showed the outer skin of the LEM was the thickness of 3 layers of tin foil. He said the less weight allowed for the use of less fuel to be needed. And for the Astronauts there was a weight and height requirement and the need for advance education in a number of disciplines including Scientific and Engineering studies.  Mr. Lennox said their Space Suit was designed to be a personal space craft that on Earth would weight almost 360 lbs. He explained that the Moon gravity is 1/6th of Earth meaning  it felt like only 60 lbs.  
  When they finally landed on the Moon the two men sent 21 1/2 hours on the surface and just over 2 1/2 hours walking on a different celestial body. They, and following crews, gather samples, and performed experiments there. Some research on the item returned to Earth, and testing equipment left on the Moon are continuing to this day.  Before leaving for Earth a few commemorative items were left. Mr. Lennox showed photos of some of those which included a disc of greeting from leader of various leaders of the nation of Earth. Also a patch from the Apollo 1 Mission to remember Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, Ed White, and  Roger B. Chaffee who lost their lives in a capsule test. Photos of  Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first human to travel to space and  Cosmonaut Vladmir Komarov  who was killed as his  Soyuz 1 capsule crashed on reentry. Also left was an Astronaut Pin  and a replica Olive Branch.
   Mr. Lennox then focus on Apollo 11's return. He showed a sample of the heat shield to protect the crew from  the heat caused when passing through atmosphere. He showed the  Isolation suits that were required to prevent the spread of any unknown virus that may have been acquired on the Lunar surface. This was worn by both the crew as well as the Navy personal who removed them from the capsule. He also talked about the two weeks of quarantine the Astronauts and a NASA Physician had to be in after traveling to a different object in space. the audience were told that no foreign virus or germ were brought back to Earth. 
  Then after that  Mr. Lennox present a display of News headlines, reactions, and tributes from around the globe to the mission of traveling to the Moon. He also had a video of the what is planned to be the next Chapter of Space Exploration. At the end of the presentation  Mr. Lennox answered a few audience question. Some he talked more about was the who could be able to go back to the Moon, or even to Mars. He explained to the Students present that they can become a part of the future trips away from Earth. But they need to start planning even now. By taking and mastering Mathematics, Science , and Engineering classes. Staying physically fit  and always thinking of what could be possible with hard work.
  Finally the Audience  was able to get a closer look at some of the artifacts and models  Mr. Lennox used during his lecture.



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