Sunday, July 21, 2019

Moon landing through a crackly black and white telly!

At a little before 4 a.m. in the morning, our time, fifty years ago, I was woken by my father to witness the moon landing with my siblings. It was one of those bursting with excitement moments that is embedded in my childhood. It certainly lifted our family from the gloom of life in a dark and damp Dublin tenement.

I remember too, later that day, sitting on the stone step outside our flat, and being shocked that my best friend, Betty, didn’t know anything about the moon landing. No one had told her about this small step for man and this giant leap for mankind. Somehow, in my young brain, the fact that Betty didn’t know anything about this momentous event, has always stayed with me. Call it an early lesson in social awareness, realising how some people, because of circumstance, can miss out on certain things that others take for granted.

Recently, my older brother, was appointed by the government as the astronomer representing Ireland on the ESO Council, Europe’s intergovernmental astronomy organisation. I know my brother’s fascination with astronomy began within those early Apollo years, so I am very glad, for so many reasons, that as small children, bleary-eyed, we watched this on our crackly black and white television, half a decade ago.

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