Tuesday, July 21, 2009

magnificent desolation

Although Mr. Armstrong is known as a man of few words, his heartbeats told of his excitement upon leading man's first landing on the moon.

At the time of the descent rocket ignition, his heartbeat rate registered 110 a minute -- 77 is normal for him -- and it shot up to 156 at touchdown.

From ASTRONAUTS LAND ON PLAIN; COLLECT ROCKS, PLANT FLAG; A Powdery Surface Is Closely Explored in the 21 July 1969 issue of the New York Times, rerun in today's paper as a special advertising supplement sponsored by Louis Vuitton.

It's worth picking up a print copy of the New York Times today -- it's that cool to read the story as it was reported when it happened.

Also in the insert, from a special report by Harold M. Schmeck Jr.:

Two American Astronauts proved last night that man can see, walk, and work on the surface of the moon.

Moving very cautiously at first, they soon found they could walk across the lunar surface easily in bounding, almost floating steps.

They seemed to have a little difficulty in adjusting their vision to the deep shadows of the airless moon, but their depth perception appeared not to suffer at all, nor did their appreciation of the scene.

"Magnificent desolation," was the phrase Col. Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. used to describe the view.

1 comment:

b1-66er said...

i haven't looked at the article yet, but the reason his heart rate shot wasn't because of "whoa, i'm going to land on the moon!" but rather that they were both seconds and tens of feet from crash landing as the guideance computers were overloading and signalling fault.

it wasn't a case of "look at the magnificence," it was, "if i don't change things here, i'm going to be dead in 30 seconds."

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