From the Editor; July 2009; Scientific American Magazine; by John Rennie; 1 Page(s)
Forty years ago this month I walked on the moon with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. The odds are good that you did, too, if you were within the reach of a television or radio on that July 20. My family and 10-year-old self were vacationing on Cape Cod at the time, but my attention was mostly 230,000 miles overhead. With whelk shells in the silky white dunes, I rehearsed the lunar module's landing dozens of times along audacious flight plans that NASA would no doubt have discouraged.
For days I watched news anchor Walter Cronkite take America on tours of mission control and interview scientists and engineers about what the astronauts might find in the Sea of Tranquillity. Film clips recalled past fantasies of lunar exploration, from the French 1902 short Le Voyage dans la Lune to the 1950 classic Destination Moon. To this day, I remember learning about the Great Moon Hoax of 1835, which claimed that telescopes had seen bat-winged humanoids flitting through lunar caverns.