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Monday, July 31, 2006

Moon View

Thanks to Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac for this item of rocket science nostalgia:

On this day in 1964, Ranger 7 radioed to earth the first clear, close-up pictures of the moon. There were 4,000 pictures in all, one thousand times as clear as anything ever produced by earth-bound telescopes. The pictures showed craters three feet in diameter and up to a foot and a half deep. When the pictures were transmitted on closed-circuit TV into the auditorium in Pasadena, California, where lab workers and news people were gathered, people stood on their chairs and cheered.

Take a look at the new moon this evening and imagine being in that auditorium, or even walking on it for the first time. It seemed as though the future might hold anything, as though we were entering an amazing new super-age. And sometimes, looking up at the moon, I still feel that way.

Here are some excellent moon images from NASA.