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Sea of Tranquility

Sea of Tranquility

Sea of Tranquility
July 03
12:25 2019

Jesus Sanchez Melean

 

Finally, the 6-year-old boy got it his way, and was able to hold the grey sphere in his hands. This sphere, less colorful and smaller than the earth, was something the boy always wanted to have. It belonged to his older brother, who was a fan of geography, who had it in a special place in his room. It was on the highest shelf of the bookcase, packed not only with books but also with clay sculptures, boxes of chalk and pencils. The sphere was a forbidden object, the kid used to think.

The afternoon of July 20th, 1969, his older brother placed the sphere in his hands. Having it so close, the youngster realized that they had told him lies about the sphere. It wasn’t made of cheese. Because he couldn’t read yet, he didn’t understand the text that was engraved on the sphere. The boy couldn’t do anything by agree with his brother when he said “that [pointing with his finger], is the spot where the Apollo 11 will land with three astronauts.” The boy felt confused when he learned that the place was called “Sea of Tranquility”, since the place had sand, not water.

Holding the sphere, the boy walked confidently into the room that had been conditioned as a small movie theater in the house. The windows had been covered to make sure the outside light wouldn’t interfere with the first live satellite transmission that the family would enjoy on television. The arrangements made for the occasion worked. Everyone in the room were able to watch clearly on an analog black and white television set, the landing of the Eagle module right on the Sea of Tranquility. The landing happened around 4:30 in the afternoon.

From that point, the kid couldn’t move away from the television set. At time, he would drift to sleep, but he would wake up excited thinking that it would happen at any moment. And he was right. Close to 11 pm, he was able to contemplate when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. He then followed closely every single move Edwing “Buzz” Aldrin made to lower the Eagle and to help Armstrong plant the U.S. flag on the moon. The boy only went to bed after he saw Armstrong and Aldrin pick up some rocks from the moon.

The youngster went to be with his lunar sphere, dreaming about the image of the astronauts playing around on the moon. It didn’t matter to him that the visit to the moon had only lasted 21 hours. The Eagle left the moon on July 21st, at noon, earth hour. It was also not an issue for him to know that that trip and other space voyages were possible thanks to the work the Germans developed on rockets. These were the same scientists that helped Hitler dominate most of Europe.

The boy didn’t understand that on that July 20th, the U.S. was winning a public image battle with the Soviet Union, country with whom there was political and military competition. After the soviet astronaut Yuri Gagarin went on orbit, U.S. President John Kennedy said his country would bring a manned mission to the moon, before the end of the 60s. To achieve that, the Americans gathered their best scientific talent at NASA, to develop the project.

It was hard for the kid that night to guess how that space trip would impact his adult life. The diamond scalpel, that helped NASA scientists cut the rocks Armstrong and Aldrin found on the moon, became an essential instrument on operating rooms around the world. The microwave oven came directly from the Apollo 11 to our kitchens. And the satellites that allowed the astronauts to communicate with NASA are now used to receive phone calls, T.V. signals, and data of all kinds.

The child didn’t know that many sceptics thought that the July 20th transmission was a Hollywood montage. Bill Kaysing and David Percy declared the whole operation a “Lunar conspiracy” And, even worse, the child, without knowing, was giving credit to those sceptics. For him, that night of July 1969, he had watched the best episode ever of Star Trek and Lost in Space. That same night, he had added Armstrong and Aldrin to his list of heroes, while he continued navigating the Sea of Tranquility of his childhood.

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EDICIÓN VIRTUAL | #347 | 12 DE SEPTIEMBRE 2019

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