Monday, July 20, 2009

Moon Walk

The last few weeks t.v. stations have constantly played images of Michael Jackson moonwalking, but today's moonwalking image is a 40 year old video of Neil Armstrong taking the first steps on the surface of the moon and uttering the now famous, "That's one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind." Walking across the surface of the moon along with fellow Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin while astronaut Michael Collins manned the space module, Armstrong likened the scenery to the American dessert.

YouTube has made available videos of both the moon landing and Armstrong's speech. NASA has a link to the news conference of President Obama with Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins at 2:30 p.m. today. Also available through NASA is the text of President Kennedy's May 25, 1961 speech proposing to put a human on the Moon by the end of the decade and his Sept. 12, 1961 address at Rice University with his oft-quoted words "We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."

Given this Rice and Houston connection, SpaceFest is commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing with a four day (July 17-20, 2009) celebration at Houston's downtown park, Discovery Green. Entertainment includes music, space films, historical exhibits, and activities for kids.

For more information about Rice University's extensive involvement in space initiatives, see the Rice News story "We choose to go to the moon."