Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Wanttogoto Places No. 1 - The Smithsonian Institution

Some time ago Science Fan told me about the Smithsonian Institution in Washington in the USA. I have never been but it is on my list of wanttogoto places. At the Smithsonian Institution there is a whole exhibition on Apollo 11 . In 1969 Buzz Aldrin went up to the moon though Neil Armstrong sort of stole the show and Michael Collins was there as well but he didn't get out much. Their mission was to get to the moon and get back again. While they were there they did loads of interesting experiments and collected 47 pounds of moon stuff. They were not looking for aliens as the moon is dead. Which is a shame.
And they even had time to jump about on the moon for a bit. Well two of them did. It makes me wonder, if you are going to go to all the trouble of training to become an astronaut, you would actually want to get out there and have a little walk about. So once the 'Eagle' had landed in the Sea of Tranquility, I wonder if there was a big fight about who was going out and who was going first.
If there was a big fight then Neil Armstrong must have won and he got to say, 'That's one small step for Neil Armstrong (big breath); one giant leap for the rest of you (cackle)'.
But of course NASA changed it to make it sound as though he got on with everyone and was thinking about the whole world and not just about being the first person to step on the moon.
Anyway what they found out was that they could really fly to the moon and get back again without dying. What I have found out is that at the Science Museum we are going to meet a REAL astronaut; a man who has been into actual space in a spacesuit. Buzztastic.

No aliens though.


Jude said...

Lucky you, Wilf. Do you want to be an astronaut when you grow up or do you have other plans? An inventor maybe?

Atyllah said...

Come round for tea sometime, Wilf, and you can meet me - I think I'd qualify as an astronaut - being an "alien" as you'd no doubt call me. I could tell you how vast it is out there and how insignificant the moon is and Earth too - and how there are so many wonderful worlds and galaxies beyond the Milky Way.

Wilf said...

Yes, yes an astronaut! Or maybe an inventive astronaut or maybe an astronautical inventor-it's so hard to choose.

Wilf said...

Dear Atyllah
I would love to come round for tea but I think I'll wait until your Granny has gone home (no offence); Aunt Aggie's all right though.
There is so much to find out.

Susan Abraham said...

Hi Addy,
Wanted to say how much I enjoyed the post.

I found this bit,'they were not looking for aliens as the moon is dead' to prove educational to a child in its storytelling mood & my favourite part for the jazzy but wry underlying humour was:

"And they even had time to jump about on the moon for a bit. Well two of them did. It makes me wonder, if you are going to go to all the trouble of training to become an astronaut, you would actually want to get out there and have a little walk about."


Wilf said...

Thanks Susan, I do feel for Michael Collins as the almost forgotten member of Apollo 11. I'm sure I would make an appalling astronaut as apart from not liking confined spaces I would certainly not enjoy confined spaces with two other people. Or maybe I just lack that essential ingredient that Wilf doesn't yet have - team spirit, the right stuff!

Claire Jones said...

'ere Wilf and Ads,
did you see Buzz on Channel 5?

15 seconds from oblivion, a computer that was throwing a tantrum and Neil Armstrong incapable of uttering the greatest sentence of all time... One small step for A man Neil!!!

It's enough to try an astronaut's patience!


Wilf said...

No! I missed that! You know there is dispute about wether he uttered the 'a'- being a Buzz fan I go with the course he didn't, camp.

Claire Jones said...

Historians don't you just love 'em!;-) Of course he didn't say it!

Buzz was very naughty - he was the one bouncing around - he was conducting his own experiments completely off script!! Neil of course behaved himself and stuck to rock collecting - boring!

I quite liked the bit of the story that said they only got the lunar module off the moon because Buzz stuck his pen in a hole to act as a fuse for the ignition. They had broken the fuse getting out of the module.

I wonder if he kept the pen?


Wilf said...

NASA historians at that! A

Buzz just gets cooler and cooler. W

science fan said...

I'm amazed that there are people so intersted in the minutiae of what people said when stepping onto he moon.
Let's compare the computing power in the whole of teh Apollo 11 mission to that of he computer I am now writing this post on.

Wilf said...

I don't like to think about it, Science Fan. It makes my head hurt. Nevertheless apparantly the palm computer has more computing power than the Apollo 11's mission control. And I expect my godmother would be able to confirm that you could send a mission to the outer reaches of the universe and back using her Apple.
My dinosaur parents still think an Apple is a simple piece of fruit.