As a technology writer, I have the fortune of living near one of the smartest places on the planet - MIT in Cambridge, Mass. Indeed, its role was pivotal in getting humans for the first time safely to another planet of sorts, the moon.
Next week, MIT will celebrate the 40th anniversary of one science’s and its most crowning achievements, the Apollo 11 moon landing (and let’s not forget about the return trip!). I will be there.
I was 18 at the time and watched on a black & White 19-inch Philco TV (made in America - it was THAT long ago!) from my parents’ family room. A teary Walter Cronkite reported that the Eagle had landed. Then Neil Armstrong bounded down the Eagle’s ladder and uttered the words “I am stepping off the LEM.” After that, he intoned the words immortalized in the headline.
The lineup card for the “Giant Leaps Symposium” includes a celebration of principal Apollo architect and former MIT engineering dean Robert Seamans who died a year ago. Among the all-star lineup at the Symposium this Thursday are Apollo navigation and guidance architect Robert Battin; former Boeing 787 team leader Mike Bair; Flight Director Christopher C. Kraft Jr. whose name then was synonymous with Apollo program; and Ted Sorensen, author and speechwriter for President John F. Kennedy.
The Symposium culminates with a performance of the Holst’s Symphony “The Planets” by the Boston Pops Orchestra. Included in the performance will be a tour of solar system by Apollo 11 astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin who joined Armstrong as the second man to walk on the moon.
It’s folly for me to describe the landing. The two videos below do a much better job.