SPECIAL EDITION: 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FIRST MOON LANDING
The World Pauses to Remember the First Moon Landing
Welcome to the first Special Edition of Expedition News in our almost 25-year history. When it comes right down to it, what exploration was more momentous than man's first moon landing?
We are of a certain age that we remember watching Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin live during a July 1969 broadcast of the first Moon landing. It was 10:56 p.m. ET on July 20, 1969, when Armstrong uttered one of the most famous quotes in human history: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Although a grainy image viewed on a black and white television during our summer course at SUNY Geneseo near Rochester, it nonetheless was an inspiration for our then budding interest in exploration.
Expect to see numerous stories in the media later this month commemorating this audacious 8-day feat for mankind. What we like to focus on in EN are some of the sidebar stories that perhaps won't get as much attention later this month.
As we anticipate NASA's projected manned mission to the Moon in 2024 (with a planned sustainable human presence there by 2028), let's consider some facts about the 50th anniversary you might not read elsewhere.
The Apollo 11 landing site, as imaged by the LROC camera aboard NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft, decades after the first Moon landing.
The Moon landing sites continue to be monitored by NASA's long-lived Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) since it entered into orbit around the Moon in June 2009.
According to Leonard David's Moon Rush (National Geographic, 2019), "High- resolution imagery of the six landing spots, from Apollo 11's 1969 landing to Apollo 17 in 1972, reveals the lunar module descent stages sitting on the Moon's surface, left behind by the departing astronauts, as well as lunar surface experiment packages and parked rovers. Faint trails of the astronauts' footprints show up, including observable tracks from the last three Apollo landing excursions as those crews rolled across the Moon's surface in their rovers."
An effort is underway to preserve the landing sites, including the artifacts left behind by Apollo 11 astronauts: a mission patch to commemorate the lives of astronauts lost in a 1967 pad fire; boot coverings; food wrappers; a hammer; urine and defecation collection devices; and those momentous first boot prints, according to David's book.
Tranquility Base and the other landing sites are historic landmarks. The concern is that subsequent robotic and manned spacecraft to the Moon could cause significant damage to this lunar legacy. Rocket exhaust plumes, for example, might blast away the celebrated footprints and rover tracks.
"There has never been historic preservation off our planet. It's a really difficult subject," says Michelle Hanlon, a law professor and space law expert at the University of Mississippi who co-founded For All Moonkind, Inc., a nonprofit group devoted to protecting historic sites in space. (www.forallmoonkind.org)
The USGS geologist Joe O'Connor wears an early version of the Apollo spacesuit during testing in the fall of 1965, at Apollo mesa dike in the Hopi Buttes volcanic field in Arizona. This rarely seen image was too good not to share. (USGS photo).
* When Arizona Stood in for the Moon
Throughout the 1960s, NASA scientists and technicians worked relentlessly to train their astronauts for the Apollo missions to come. Locations throughout Arizona were selected by the United States Geological Survey's new astrogeology branch to serve as lunar analogues-the Moon right here at home. Arizona had plenty of existing craters, exposed canyons, volcanic cinder cones, and lava fields to test NASA's people, suits, vehicles, and equipment. And to make things even more lunar, a field north of Flagstaff was loaded with explosives and blown to bits to create a cratered landscape complete with ejecta, the underlying rock excavated and flung onto the surface by the simulated meteor impacts.
Read the story in The Atlantic, June 20, 2019:
* Party Like It's 1969 in Washington, D.C.
The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum plans a "The Eagle Has Landed" Late-Night Celebration on July 20 from 8 p.m. top 2 a.m. It will include a rebroadcast of the Moon landing and first steps, Apollo 11-themed music, a Spacesuit Fashion Show and stargazing. Best of all, it's free.
Thanks in part to a Kickstarter campaign, Armstrong's Apollo 11 spacesuit goes back on display on July 16 for the first time in 13 years.
Learn more here:
Travel to Seattle to see the Real McCoy
* Lunar Block Party in Seattle
The Museum of Flight in Seattle is hosting a Lunar Block Party, July 19-21. Somewhat incongruously, it features American Idol Live in Concert with winner Laine Hardy, runner-up Alejandro Aranda and the 2019 finalists; a Beatles tribute band; and 1969 themed games.
We'll skip those and focus instead on the command module Columbia - the actual spacecraft from the first Moon landing mission. The exhibit features a 3-D tour of the module's interior made with high resolution scans from the Smithsonian.
"This is the not the first time Columbia has traveled the country. In 1970, NASA organized a tour that took Columbia to each of the 50 states," explains Michael Neufeld, senior curator for space history at the National Air and Space Museum.
Learn more at:
Restored Mission Control Console
* Apollo Mission Control Center Restored in Houston
Space Center Houston and Johnson Space Center debuted a totally restored Apollo Mission Control Center. This is the facility where NASA monitored nine Gemini and all Apollo lunar missions, including the historic Apollo 11 trip to the Moon and the final Apollo 17 trip to the same lunar body. It is located in Building 30 of NASA Johnson Space Center.
To make it look exactly like it appeared in the 1960s, the museum hand-stamped the ceiling tiles with original patterns, ordered a period-appropriate coffee pot on eBay, restored the flip tops of ashtrays with 3-D printers, and returned flight control consoles to their original Apollo configuration.
Learn more about the restoration here:
* Cosmic Birth
Cosmic Birth is an upcoming 2019 Icelandic documentary film about mankind's journey to the Moon and the experience of viewing the Earth from a quarter of a million miles away. The film also looks into the role that Iceland played, along with other locations around the world, in the training of the Apollo astronauts for the first manned missions.
The documentary will be released simultaneously in cinemas and on TV in Iceland on July 20, 2019, in celebration of the 50th anniversary. An event commemorating the historic significance of Apollo 11 will take place in the documentary cinema Bíó Paradís in Reykjavík before the premiere of the film.
Cosmic Birth is written and directed by Exploration Museum founder Örlygur Hnefill Örlygsson and filmmaker and musician Rafnar Orri Gunnarsson with original score by Andri Freyr Arnarsson and Óskar Andri Ólafsson. Expedition News makes a brief cameo.
Watch the trailer here:
This Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Chronograph sells for an astronomical $5,350.
* Prices Take off for Omega Moonwatch
As nostalgia for the Apollo 11 mission builds, prices for the most sought-after vintage Speedmasters have taken a trip into orbit, fueled by a booming market for vintage watches and a cult following on social media (see #SpeedyTuesday), according to the New York Times (June 5)
According to writer Alex Williams, at a Phillips Geneva auction last year, a first-generation Speedmaster from 1958 sold for nearly $410,000, a price typically associated with the finer vintage Rolex Daytonas.
Part of the draw is Speedmaster's no-nonsense, action-watch heritage. With its minimalist black dial recalling an old Porsche speedometer, the chronograph oozes stealth-wealth allure, according to the Times story.
Read the story here:
* Own a Small Piece of the Apollo 11 Command Module
And we do mean small. Mini Museum is offering a fragment of mission-flown Kapton foil which provided thermal protection for the astronauts aboard the Apollo 11 Command Module. The specimen measures approximately 1mm x 1mm and is enclosed in an acrylic cube with a magnified lid for easy viewing. Perhaps a free microscope would have been better.
Upon the return of Apollo 11, sections of the Kapton foil were removed from the Command Module and affixed to acrylic squares for presentation purposes. These acrylic squares were also presented to certain NASA employees, including Production Control Engineer W.R. Whipkey. Whipkey received this foil in 1969 and it remained in his possession until purchased for use by the Mini Museum in late 2017 at public auction.
Started via Kickstarter in 2014, Mini Museums are micro-sized versions of full-size museums dedicated to curating artifacts of cultural, historical, and scientific importance. Rather than marble halls, the collection of specimens are arranged inside transparent plastic in a form small enough keep on a desktop.
Buy it here:
Warhol's phallic Moon Museum image is in the upper left corner.
* Warhol Sneaks Penis Image Onto the Moon
In another little known fact we unearthed while researching EN's first Special Edition is the Moon Museum, not to be confused with the aforementioned Mini Museum.
Moon Museum is a small ceramic wafer three-quarters of an inch by half an inch in size, containing artworks by six prominent artists from the late 1960s and placed on Apollo 12. The artists with works in the "museum" are Robert Rauschenberg, David Novros, John Chamberlain, Claes Oldenburg, Forrest Myers and Andy Warhol.
Warhol created a stylized version of his initials which, when viewed at certain angles, can appear as a rocket ship or a penis. "He was being the terrible bad boy," said fellow wafer artist Forrest Myers in an interview.
* Armstrong Spacesuit Zip-Hoodie
There's no shortage of 50th anniversary memorabilia. If a tiny flown piece of Apollo 11 doesn't interest you, geek out in this 50th Anniversary 3D Armstrong space suit Zip Hoodie for just $48. Order it here:
Martha Stewart experiences weightlessness with ZERO-G.
* Fly With an Astronaut on the Vomit Comet
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, Zero Gravity Corporation (ZERO-G) will partner with Space Florida to take space fans on two weightless flights on July 20, 2019. Departure point is Space Florida's Launch and Landing Facility (formerly the NASA Shuttle Landing Facility) at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport.
Flyers will float effortlessly alongside former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly.
The anniversary flight in a specially modified Boeing 727 will demonstrate the feeling of exploring the Moon's surface by recreating lunar gravity and allowing participants to float with the ease of carrying one-sixth their normal body weight.
ZERO-G pilots will perform a series of parabolic arcs for 90 to 100 minutes while flying in FAA-designated airspace. At the top of each arc, participants will soar through the plane in a floating playground, and perform effortless tricks and flips. The flight will also include several zero gravity and Martian gravity parabolas.
To avoid motion sickness, Dramamine and Meclizine are most commonly used by flyers. It also probably helps not to scarf down a 1200-calorie Chipotle burrito beforehand.
The cost to participate on one of the anniversary flights is $6,000. For ticket and flight information, visit (www.gozerog.com).
Black Toilet Paper and Other "Innovations" Come to Outdoor Retailer Show
Three times a year the outdoor industry convenes in Denver for the four-day Outdoor Retailer trade show and conference. In June, over 25,000 industry professionals packed the Colorado Convention Center to learn what's new in outdoor gear, much of it a mainstay of exploration, from 1,400 exhibiting brands. It's the largest trade show of the year in the 584,000 facility. Ever since the show started in the early 1980s, we've been trolling its aisles looking for unusual products to take outdoors. This year's trade show didn't disappoint.
* Wearable Fan Looks Like Headphones
The W Fan is a wearable dual-headed fan that looks like a pair of headphones around your neck, but instead of speakers there are two adjustable five-bladed fans that run on rechargeable lithium batteries and provide a constant cooling breeze. Adjustable fan heads turn in any direction. The company says its perfect for sports, camping or menopausal women. ($35, www.timeconceptinc.com)
* When Dinner is Done, Burn the Grill
This eco-friendly, disposable biodegradable grill uses a natural bamboo grate instead of metal, plus cardboard, lava stone, and bamboo charcoal cakes that are easy to light without the need for any lighter fluids. The manufacturers says it can maintain 60-plus minutes at 600 degrees F. When finished, throw it into a campfire or bury it. Ingenious. ($19.95, www.casusgrillusa.com)
* PowerWatch Runs on Body Heat
The jury is still out on the world's first smartwatch powered by body heat. At the core of every Matrix PowerWatch is a thermoelectric generator that captures body heat to power up. No charging is required. Not sure if this is the best choice for polar exploration. Clever, but you'll have to try it for yourself. (starts at $199, www.powerwatch.com)
* Black Towelettes Help You Hide in the Woods
One slightly creepy product on display were Combat Wipes Commando bio-degradable outdoor cleansing and refreshing wipes. What separates these moist towelettes from, say your everyday Huggies Baby Wipes is the color - it comes in black for "ultimate camoflauge."
The manufacturer says it's for "anyone experiencing the outdoors who does not have access to a shower or fresh water, yet wants to stay clean, refreshed and environmentally conscious." Although the color choice is somewhat icky, it's for those who are hunting, on night photo safaris, or on an outdoor mission and need a camo-wet wipe. ($7.20 per 25-sheet pack, www.combatwipes.com/commando)
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
"You've been trying not to pee in your pants your whole life."
- Retired astronaut Scott Kelly, who wore a diaper for liftoff and landing on all four of his space missions wherein he spent a total of 520 days in space. Kelly later said that after returning from his final, 340-day mission, he suffered nausea, fatigue, swelling, muscle and joint soreness, hives and rashes.
Of his return to earth, he said, "You suddenly have a million choices, and it's confusing. It's probably very similar to what it feels like to be released from prison." Source: May 5 New York Times Magazine interview by Malia Wollan.
What are the Odds of Dying While Mountain Climbing?
By Chuck Patton
Special to Expedition News
I wish I could climb like Edmund Hillary, write like Jon Krakauer, or explore undiscovered parts of the world, and survive as Shackleton did. I have sampled their worlds and, in so doing, gained a healthy respect for their achievements. Few explorers reach the pinnacle of public esteem that these men have achieved and those few who do, have done so with great peril and the luck of the gods. Only a few climbers have attained true notoriety. The vast majority climb in obscurity unless they achieve the kind of notoriety they didn't seek - by dying in the process.
The chances of dying on Everest are between 1 in 15 including Sherpas, or 1 in 23 excluding Sherpas. The chance of dying on Denali is 1 in 78. The chances of dying on Kilimanjaro is 1 in 3,333, obviously a much safer mountain but still, 9 to 10 people die on it each year and 1,000 need to be evacuated. The overall chance of succeeding at summiting on K2 is 22% while on Kilimanjaro it is 75%. The average chance of summiting for the top six mountains is 60%. The chance of dying on the other mountains in Nepal ranges from 1 in 3 on Nanga Parbat to 1 in 18 on Manaslu.
Would you accept those odds? Seeing that the risk of mountain climbing is so high, this raises the age-old question, why do climbers climb? I have a sense of the rationale from my own very limited experience and from knowing some serious climbers, like Dick Bass (first to climb the Seven Summits and one of the authors of the book with that title) and a Sherpa working on Mt. Rainier in the summer.
In my opinion, climbers don't climb because "It's there." They don't climb because they have a death wish. They are not crazy or even misguided. They are adventurers that's for sure. Each has his or her reasons and, I imagine, there are a few who haven't thought about why they climb at all.
Climbers may climb because they would rather die doing something challenging than living a long life of "quiet desperation." Others may climb in search of "Flow," that mesmerizing state where your mind must stay focused on five minutes ahead and less than 30 seconds behind.
Some may climb because they like the satisfaction of achieving something most others haven't, won't or can't. Perhaps they climb to satisfy that human desire to be different, to be special, to be respected, to be unique. Even if it is only by a small community of other like-minded people. And being around people who relate to climbing is another reason. Maybe they "want to be somebody" or hang-out with like-minded friends.
Non-climbers or amateur climbers may think climbing to be a way to fame and fortune. Can you name one person who died on Everest last year? Climbing does not earn notoriety by itself; only by spectacular death or achieving one of those dwindling "Firsts" will a climber get recognized, and fortunes are not made that way.
The odds of becoming rich and famous are much smaller than the odds of dying. Jon Krakauer is the only one I know who made a lot of money, but more so because he is a great writer and less so because of his fame as a climber.
Every climber reaches their limit by quitting or dying. Four people died on Rainier while I was there, including two experienced rescue climbers. No one is exempt, on any mountain, from the possibility of a random trip and fall, avalanche, cascading rock, deep snow-covered crevasse, altitude sickness, or who knows what.
I reached my limit coming down from Kilimanjaro - not my physical limit but my "why am I doing this?" limit. After a nice accomplishment I had to ask myself "what's next?" Start training for Everest? Knock off Denali or a couple of highest continental trophies like Aconcagua or Mount Elbrus?
In considering if more climbing was in my future, I was smart enough to realize that, from my perspective, more climbing wasn't the right next step for me. The highest and best use of my time on earth, I concluded, was to start a business. Next time you think of climbing a mountain, figure your odds and act accordingly.
Charles Patton, 76, summited Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, and Mount Santis in Switzerland. He is a resident of Orlando, where he is Senior Vice President - Business Development for VacayHome Connect, a vacation accommodation distribution company based in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com
Climbing Everest Looks Like the Line at Trader Joe's
Comedian John Oliver, who hosts Last Week Tonight on HBO, examines May's Everest mess in a 22-minute humorous tirade on June 23. Claiming that climbing Everest looks like the line at Trader Joe's, he calls Everest a fecal time bomb and mocks stunts like the world's highest cellphone call.
Join the over five million who have already viewed the video and watch it here:
Skydiving, Mountain Climbing and Other Ways Execs Terrify Their Shareholders
"For companies, trying to curb top executives who are prized for walking the knife edge between calculated risk and recklessness is a dilemma. Tell them to stop flying airplanes, racing cars, horse jumping, skydiving, smoking, running with bulls or bungee jumping and they could leave. Let them go along their merry way, and you might lose them another way," writes John D. Stoll in the Wall Street Journal (June 22).
Micron Technology chief Steve Appleton's fatal crash in 2012 while piloting an experimental plane prompted a discussion in boardrooms about whether daredevil CEOs are worth the risk.
"Boards have to consider whether the same thing that made that person a successful CEO, for instance, also led them to engage in highly risky hobbies," said David Larcker, a professor who leads Stanford Graduate School's corporate governance research initiative. But, as Mr. Larcker has written, succession plans and disclosures may need bolstering if a key manager likes to live dangerously.
Larcker says that no matter how many safeguards are in place, companies can't entirely police their senior leaders. "How deep do you want to get into someone's private life?" he asks.
Andy Wirth's near-death skydiving accident occurred about three years into his run as CEO of resort operator Squaw Valley Ski Holdings. Wirth came into the job as a risk-taker, having spent time rappelling off cliffs and skiing treacherous slopes.
His partners were aware of his plane-jumping tendencies. He had trained for certifications and took precautions, according to Stoll's Journal story. But nothing could prepare the company for an accident that ripped off Mr. Wirth's arm and required 25 operations over 50 hours and a substantial hiatus.
Read the article here:
The Overview Effect
A cognitive shift in awareness reported by some astronauts during spaceflight, often while viewing the Earth from outer space. In one instance, a single photograph of Earth taken from space by Williams Anders, on Apollo 8, in 1968, served as an icon for the entire environmental movement.
People who have seen the Earth from space, not in a photograph but in real life, pretty much all report the same thing. "You spend even a little time contemplating the Earth from orbit and the most deeply ingrained nationalisms begin to erode," said Carl Sagan. "They seem the squabbles of mites on a plum." Source: New York Times Book Review, June 23, 2019.
Travel With Purpose: A Field Guide to Voluntourism (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2019) by Jeff Blumenfeld - How to travel and make a difference while you see the world? These are stories of inspiration from everyday voluntourists, all of whom have advice about the best way to approach that first volunteer vacation, from Las Vegas to Nepal, lending a hand in nonprofits ranging from health care facilities, animal shelters and orphanages to impoverished schools. Case studies are ripped from the pages of Expedition News, including the volunteer work of Dooley Intermed, Himalayan Stove Project, and even a volunteer dinosaur dig in New Jersey.
Read the latest review here:
Available now on Amazon. Read excerpts and "Look Inside" at:
Get Sponsored! - Hundreds of explorers and adventurers raise money each month to travel on world class expeditions to Mt. Everest, Nepal, Antarctica and elsewhere. Now the techniques they use to pay for their journeys are available to anyone who has a dream adventure project in mind, according to the book from Skyhorse Publishing called: Get Sponsored: A Funding Guide for Explorers, Adventurers and Would Be World Travelers.
Author Jeff Blumenfeld, an adventure marketing specialist who has represented 3M, Coleman, Du Pont, Lands' End and Orvis, among others, shares techniques for securing sponsors for expeditions and adventures.
Buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Get-Sponsored-Explorers-Adventurers-Travelers-ebook/dp/B00H12FLH2
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