One Giant Influence

by | Jul 16, 2019 | NASA, Personal | 11 comments

Fifty Years

Well… here we are, fifty years after Neil and Buzz landed on the Moon. Fifty years after that “One Small Step…”

There are so many celebrations. So many memories. So many recreations, parties, movies, television specials, etc.

What’s this, then?

It’s a recognition of that “…One Giant Leap” as a seminal moment and influence on the life of a then-five-year-old boy.

I was five years old when Apollo 11 launched in 1969.  Like almost everyone around the world, I was totally locked into the space program.  The culture of the late 60s was very diverse, but there was a HUGE space-influence in popular television, cartoons (Roger Ramjet was my favorite), music, and even aspects of home, art, and automobile design!

When Eagle landed and “Houston, Tranquility Base here…” was spoken from the lunar surface, I was wearing this spacesuit and helmet, thinking because I had it on, I was there too!

Being able to stay up late that night (it was past my usual bedtime, after all) to watch Neil come down the ladder and take that first “small step” was life-changing. Little did I know how big that “one giant leap” would prove in my life, but it set forth a love of space, of science, and of technology.

I built plastic model spaceships, both real and imagined. I memorized every episode of Star Trek. I read everything I could get my hands on about space exploration.  My bookshelf was full of histories and photo books of rockets and space travel.

The bravery of the early astronauts was my inspiration.  The people at NASA, in Mission Control and at the Cape, helping the astronauts on their journeys were my childhood heroes!  I flew along with Mike Mars in his fictional adventures. I created my own along the way.  

It was the “One Giant Influence” that focused my little brain in such a way that there was almost no way that I’d ever do anything other than work at NASA on the space program.

Fortunately, that’s exactly what happened.

How did it influence you?

It doesn’t matter if you saw it live or not, the first lunar landing has impacted people for the last 50 years. Tell me about it below!