1969, July 20: When the Curves Lined Up

Another year to note the first human moon landing. Fifty-two years ago, humans walked on the moon for the first time.  Will we return?  Promises have been made and plans are unfolding.

July 20, 1969, Humans walk on the moon (NASA Photo)
Photo Caption – July 20, 1969, Humans walk on the moon (NASA Photo)

by Jeffrey L. Hunt

In the final chapter of his book, Rocket Men, tracing the background of Apollo 11, Craig Nelson recalls a conversation with Gerry Griffin, a NASA Flight Director.  A group of NASA employees went to Caltech, where the first moonwalker, Neil Armstrong, “got up at the blackboard and he drew four curves.  They look kind of like mountain peaks.”  The titles of the peaks were “Leadership,” “Threat,” “Good Economy”, and “World Peace.”  As Griffin recalls, Armstrong said, “My theory is that when all of those curves are in conjunction, when they all line up together, you can do something like Apollo.  Apollo, or something like it, will happen.  And we happened to be ready for that when all those curves lined up” (p. 348).

Will those curves line up again?

1969, July 20: The sky at the time of first moon landing.
Chart Caption- 1969, July 20: The sky at the time of first moon landing.

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