Missing technology: Moon landings

I just came across Top 10 tech we miss at CNET.com, who are currently celebrating their ten year anniversary. They have put manned space exploration at the top of the list, and I think they’re right.

Apollo 11 liftoff! We first landed on the Moon on July 20, 1969 with the Apollo 11 mission. The launch of the Saturn V rocket is shown in the first image on the right. The second image shows Buzz Aldrin as he descends ladder from the Lunar Module, also on the Apollo 11 mission. The Apollo 17 mission was the last mission to carry men to the Moon and it returned to Earth on December 19th, 1972. The Command Module is shown just before splashdown in the third image on the right. Click on either image to get a high-resolution version from NASA. Crop and resize them a bit and they make perfect backgrounds!

So the age of exploring the moon lasted just over three and a half years and in the last 33 years no man has set foot on an extraterrestrial world.

Buzz Aldrin descends the Lunar Module ladder I think that’s a shame! We once had the technology to go to the Moon, but now it’s gone. But what’s worse: we have lost over thirty years of potential experience. If the Apollo missions had continued would we then have a base on the Moon now? On Mars? Nobody knows, but I feel that we’re not going to get those things if we keep flying around in near Earth orbit all the time.

I would love to see humans on Mars, our new Frontier. When I see films and documentaries from the space race in the sixties I always envy the people who lived to see the first man on the Moon. I would really like to be able to tell my children or grandchildren that I saw the first man (or woman) on Mars.

Apollo 17 Command Module nears splashdown I’m also the optimistic (idealistic even?) type of person who thinks that exploring and pushing the limits of what we know and what we can. Spending money on advancing science would be a much better way to improve the conditions for future generations than, say, buying yet more military hardware.

Sure there are lots of problem on our own planet Earth — hunger, wars, diseases, and lots of other problems — but that doesn’t mean that we should constrain ourselves to solving those problems before we can look beyond to other worlds. (Wow, that was almost poetic, wasn’t it? :-)

By the way: all the beautiful images here are of course from NASA, more precisely the Apollo Image Gallery where you’ll find over 3000 original images from the Apollo missions. All images produced by NASA are without copyright — this applies to all material produced by US goverments. Very nice exception I say! (This exception also applies to stuff produced by an agency like the CIA: for example, data from the CIA World Factbook is used by Wikipedia.)


  1. Martin Geisler:

    As could be expected, Stéphanie is against spending more money on space programs — she would rather see the money spend on students from Wallis, who receive no money what so ever to support their university studies.

  2. anonomous:

    i dont believe the moon landings are real… theories prove wrong this stupid hoax!! the flag waving, the letters on the rocks, the shadows, the light, and the camera eqipment would’ve been melted… AND how would the landing and take-off be filmed without a human on the surface?

  3. An fear mor:

    links to pics not valid = fake

  4. Ayui:

    NASA DID NOT FAKE THE FREAKING MOON LANDINGS!!! How stupid do you think NASA is? Don’t you think instead of releasing pictures with flaws they would’ve checked everything for flaws? They woudn’t release pictures that even the most naive people could see. You idiots!!!! YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES!

  5. Matt:

    WOW u noobs thinking the thing was a hoax. Look up the word theory, theories dont prove things right or wrong they are just theories. Evidence is what proves things wrong. And you have none.

    The “letter” on the rock was a hair on the camera lens. do some research before you open your fat mouth.

    The LEM had a camera on its side that could film its landing. The filming of it taking off was from a camera the astronauts set up before they left. (DERR DERR DERR).

    The shadows faced different ways. Lets give you a lesson in elementary school science. When a surface is not flat, shadows from one light source (the sun) hit the ground in all different ways.

    The flag: The flag was not a normal everyday flag like here. It had solid wires around the perimeter to hold it up numbnuts. Try putting a regular flag in space.

    And another thing: The equipment would melt in space if they did not use something called insulation! Look at the LEM, they used golden foil on the bottom to insulate it. Same concept for equipment.

    Go on send me another theory and I will tell you why you are wrong: masterhobo24@yahoo.com

    Some people really make me sick

  6. MDL:

    The opinion of ‘anonomous’ is typical of an entire geeneration that cannot think for itself.
    They must latch on to any wing-nut theory because they lack the ability to focus long enough to actually learn something!
    We can debate who is at fault for this educational failure,debate untill the cows come home as there is enough blame to go around.
    I find it pitiful to think that all it takes to dismiss the greatest undertaking in human history is a couple of VERY poorly done and ill-researched pseudo-documentaries!
    P.S. …..it’s spelled ‘ANONYMOUS’,bone head!!!

  7. John:

    The best thing to come out the space program thus far is Hubble. A close second is Tang!

Leave a comment