Where Were You When We Walked on the Moon? 

Everyone remembers where they were when Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon in 1969.

Now, NASA provides an interactive system that allows you to keep your eyes on the solar system from your desktop, called Eyes on the Solar System.

English: Neil Armstrong descending the ladder ...

Neil Armstrong descending the ladder on the lunar module. NASA S69-42583. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was one of those Boomers glued to my television on July 20, 1969 to see Neil Armstrong take his first steps onto the moon.

My husband was a newly-commissioned Second Lieutenant in the Army. We were stationed at Fort Benning, in Columbus, Georgia.

We knew his one-year posting was near both our parents in Georgia because he would soon be leaving for a year in Vietnam.

He left in October.

In July, when we watched Neil Armstrong step out, our son was a month shy of his first birthday.

What Do You Remember?

It is claimed that 450 million of the world’s 3.63 billion people watched or listened to that broadcast.

Our collective memory of Armstrong’s first words on the moon is, “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant step for mankind.”

The official record says that he had put one foot on the moon’s surface before he spoke.

But, that’s not my memory.

My memory is that he stood on the last rung of the ladder, spoke the words everyone was longing to hear, then, stepped off the ladder.

My memory is that his first words on the moon were, “Where’s the hammer?”

My memory is that in those interminable minutes before the lunar module set down, we still weren’t sure it wasn’t going to sink into silt that would cover it.

What Is NASA Up to Now?

Between July 1969 and December 1972, we walked on the moon six times, in Apollo missions 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17.

It seemed to be so safe by then, crowds stopped waiting breathlessly for our astronaut’s return.

In the years since, we’ve put up a permanent space station and astronauts have lived there.

But, we’ve also been sending space craft out to take pictures of the solar system.

Now, NASA has gathered the photos its spacecraft have been taking and assembled them into a real-time, interactive database.

The program is called Eyes on the Solar System.

Although I tried their tours and time reconstructions, I found these very slow to load.

What I found more fascinating and easy to access and print was their photos.

The order of planets from the sun are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune.

Remember Pluto has been demoted from the planet category to dwarf planet.

My son and nephew went to a NASA space camp when they were in elementary school.

Now, my nephew works for NASA and my son’s first job was to write software for submarines.

How will you inspire your grandchildren to explore the stars?

My Favorite NASA Photos

Though I didn’t have the patience to wait for NASA’s enticing solar system tour, I did get hooked on the beautiful photos they’ve been taking of the solar system.

Here I share some of my favorites of NASA’s photos.

You can view them and print them for free.

They are suitable for framing, if you have grandchildren interested in space.

VENUS

NASA has a June 2012 photo showing how Venus will cross by the sun for the last time before 2117.

Click here for the 2012 Venus Transit Approach to the sun.

 MOON

By 1976, NASA had mapped many of the moon landing sites from the Apollo manned missions, as well as NASA surveyor mission and Russian Luna spacecraft landings.

Click here to see landing sites on the moon in 1976.

One of the most beautiful shots is this one of our moon and the earth as NASA’s Galileo spacecraft looked back after its launch to photograph them together in 1992.

Click here to see a photograph of the blue marble of Earth hanging next to our Moon.

MARS

NASA gives us an astronaut-eye view of a three-mile high mountain (5 kilometers) inside a 96-mile wide crater on Mars.

By way of comparison, the fourth-highest peak in the United States is Mount Bona, in Alaska, at 5044 meters, or 16, 550 feet (5 kilometers is 5,000 meters).

Click here to see a view of Gale Crater, on Mars.

In a Winter view of dunes on Mars, the rust-red color we associate with Mars looks like a fancy chocolate concoction worthy of an Ace of Cakes creation.

Click here to see a Winterview of dunes on Mars.

What is it about the beauty of dunes?

The Kaiser Crater Dune Field on Mars was colored in a photo to make it look blue, but NASA points out there are spots that are seasonal frost, so, perhaps the blue is appropriate.

Click here to see the March 2007 photo of the Kaiser Crater Dune Field on Mars.

In February 2012, NASA returned a photo showing dust storms on Mars looking for all the world like a serpent made of dust.

Click here to see the Serpent Dust Devil on Mars

SATURN

Saturn’s famous rings were photographed by NASA in March 2011, paired with seasonal differences in the planet that look like a beautifully striped billiard ball.

Click here to see The Face of Beauty, Saturn’s Rings.

Saturn has 62 moons, but only 13 of them are larger than 80 miles across.

NASA has a photograph with five of the moons lined up around Saturn in a July 2011 photo, as though they were balanced on its rings.

Click here to see Quintet of Moons, five of Saturn’s moons.

In case you thought auroras were the sole province of the earth’s Scandinavian countries, NASA has a September 11 photo of auroras over Saturn’s North Pole.

Click here to see Unusual Auroras over Saturn’s North Pole.

STAR

And, in a final favorite photo, taken in April, 2012, the nearby star Fomalhaut, 25 light-years away (?!), has a dust belt around it that appears to be comets crashing into each other.

Click here to see Comet Massacre, near the star Fomalhaut.

 

How old were you when we landed on the moon?

Do you take your grandchildren outdoors at night to look at the stars?

Do they know any constellations?

To you and seeing the stars through the eyes of your grandchildren.

 

Carol Covin, Granny-Guru

Author, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers

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http://newgrandmas.com