Monday, July 21, 2008

Apollo 11: 39 Years and a Day

I can't believe I missed blogging about the 39th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the Moon yesterday! Next year I'll pay closer attention, but it will be the 40th and it will probably be more widely noticed anyway.

So I will commemorate something that did happen 39 years ago today: the liftoff of Apollo 11 from the Moon at 17:54 UTC on July 21, 1969. This Orbiter screen shot (with the AMSO add-on) shows the ascent module just after liftoff from Tranquility base, with the EASEP scientific instruments to the left, and the US flag to the right. According to Buzz Aldrin, the the real flag was blown over by the engine exhaust (later missions planted the flag farther away from the LM). AMSO simulates impressive dust clouds when you land on the Moon, but doesn't seem to kick up any simulated dust from the ascent stage exhaust. There was no video camera on the Moon to record Apollo 11's launch, but on Apollo 15 and later missions there were remotely operated cameras that sent back videos (like this one of Apollo 17). You can see some debris but not a lot of dust, so maybe AMSO got this right too!

I've mentioned it before, but this 11 minute video of Apollo 11 simulated in Orbiter with AMSO is really cool. It recaps the whole Apollo mission and shows you what Orbiter and AMSO can do (with great production and music too). You can download a higher resolution version of "Apollo 11 Remastered" from the Tex-Films web site, along with many other Orbiter and other simulation videos.

1 comment:

GumbyTheCat said...

Hey, cool blog!

I almost missed it too... if it weren't for a quick jaunt over to Bad Astronomy I would have forgotten it altogether. I chose to highlight the "specialness" of that event by contrasting the NASA of the 60's with the NASA of today. Hint: I don't paint a rosy picture.