July 21st, 2019

jim

On human achievement

This week, of course, is the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.   I've been watching a number of the documentaries that have appeared on cable all week long.   I've found them incredibly fascinating --- I've long been fascinated with the space race, for a variety of reasons.    But my thoughts keep turning to a memory from some years ago.

Somehow, since I became a "grownup", I manage to find my way to Washington, DC, every few years or so --- sometimes on vacation, sometimes on business, sometimes a bit of both.   My memory is from one of those early trips.

I found myself on the Mall with a day (or at least an afternoon) free for whatever I might choose to do.   As many tourists are want to do, I wandered over to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum and spent a couple hours there.   My highlight was viewing the Apollo capsule on display there.   It amazes me that three people could live in a space so small for that long, while achieving the amazing feat of making it to the moon and back safely, with less computational power than I carry around in my pocket today.   It was clearly a technological achievement --- possibly one of the greatest achievements of humanity.

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