From the Stacks
By Carol Ann Robb, PPL Reference Librarian
I’m not sure when my fascination with the night sky began; I think it’s partially genetic since our father would take us out in the backyard to look at any astronomical event that was scheduled to take place. I still do that, weather permitting. There’s just something about looking up into the heavens, searching out that shooting star or planet alignment or even the space shuttle flying overhead.
I remember the Apollo moon landing that took place 54 years ago next week, though science-y things didn’t interest me at all. I learned far more about the mission during all the retrospectives shown during the 50th anniversary in 2019 than I ever knew back then. Knowing how much NASA was able to accomplish without today’s technology is mind-boggling.
The library has a number of accounts of the race to the moon, such as Douglas Brinkley’s “American Moonshot: JFK & the Great Space Race,” “One Giant Leap: The Impossible Mission That Flew Us to the Moon” by Charles Fishman, and “Moon Shot: The Inside Story of America’s Race to the Moon” by Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton. The three astronauts onboard the Apollo 11 mission—Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins—wrote books of their experience as well.
People around the world stopped to watch as the Eagle lunar module landed on the moon’s surface, many holding their breath as they watched men step into the unknown. That experience is chronicled in the book “For All Mankind: The Untold Stories of How the Moon Landing Inspired the World,” by Tanya Harrison and Danny Bednar. I may have stayed up to watch the landing but it didn’t steer me down the path to a career as an astronaut. I was very happy to stay planted on the ground (not to mention I hated math and science).
However, come next Thursday I’ll be outside looking up at the waxing crescent moon and marveling at the memory of what transpired fifty-four years ago.