Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. If you are out admiring the moon tonight and find yourself wondering just where “the Eagle has landed,” look towards the southwest edge of Mare Tranquillitatis — the Sea of Tranquility. More specifically, this map I came across this map today (featured image above, signed by several Apollo crew members) shows us where that is.
While we are on the subject, a few things you may or may not have known about the Apollo 11 astronauts: Before becoming the first human to set foot on the moon, Neil Armstrong was a Naval aviator, flying 78 combat missions in Korea. On an armed reconnaissance mission southwest of Wonson, a cable (which the North Koreans would string up as booby traps for U.S. pilots) sheared six feet off his wing during a bombing run, causing Armstrong to limp his mortally wounded F9F Panther back to friendly skies in South Korea. The future astronaut bailed out over the water, which it turns out had been mined, but the winds blew him safely into a rice paddy. Continue reading “Just where did Apollo 11 land?”
1861: Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell’s 35,000-man army departs Washington, D.C., marching to meet Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard’s Confederate force assembled along Bull Run some 25 miles away. Just weeks ago, McDowell was a major and now leads the largest field army assembled in North America to that point.
1945: (featured image) The atomic age dawns when man’s first nuclear weapon is tested at Alamogordo Air Base, N.M. (present-day White Sands Missile Range). The shock wave from the 19-kiloton device, nicknamed “Gadget,” could be felt 100 miles away and the mushroom cloud reached over six miles in the air. (note: the above image is taken just 16 milliseconds after detonation. The fireball is already 660 feet high.)
Within hours of the Trinity test, the cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA-35) departs San Francisco on a top-secret mission. The un-escorted cruiser sprints across the Pacific at a record-setting pace, bound for Tinian. On board is the uranium and parts for the “Little Boy” weapon that will level Hiroshima on August 6.