Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Lunar Musings

Here are some Lunar questions for you. Have you ever thought about the fact that, with no atmosphere to refract light, shadows on the Moon are completely black? Like, you can't see your feet for your own shadow black? Me neither. (I'm not talking to you really brainiac geek types who have analysed all things and have calculated how light would act, or what things would weigh, on every known planet in the solar system. You need to go read someplace where the writer can keep up with you. Send me an email if they say anything in dabble-speak and maybe I'll read the Cliffs notes.) So, how about skiing in moondust--did that thought ever cross your mind? Me neither. (I'm also not talking to those of you who are so ski-centric that chewing gum makes you think of the slopes. OF COURSE you've thought of skiing in moondust. You've thought of skiing in quicksand. Next question.) Have you ever wondered what moondust smells like? Me neither. (I gotta tell you--I'm seriously sensitive to smells--lots of allergies, and I never even considered that moondust had a smell. Maybe I just figured I'd never make it to the Moon and didn't want to trouble my pretty little head with frivolous speculation. I'll give myself a pass.) Last question--purely speculative--could you sleep in a brightly lit, really cramped lunar module, just hours before heading back out into space after a successful Moon landing? Me neither. Neither could Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldren, even on the Sea of Tranquility. (For those of you who could, because you can fall asleep at will, I have only two words. I'm jealous.)

All of these questions relate to a series of NASA articles I just read about various Apollo trips to the Moon. As NASA is preparing to head back to our favorite satellite (around 2018) it's digging out a few memories from the archives that they say even NASA old-timers have for the most part let slip away. It's a fun trip down memory lane, even if they're not your memories. So far there are four installments, and I'll send you to them one by one. Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 are all worth a gander, and maybe even a goose. Enjoy.

Funny thing. Moondust apparently smells like burnt gunpowder on the Moon (verified by astronauts safely tucked inside their lunar modules), but has no smell here on Earth. Freaky, huh?