Farewell, Uncle Walter

Walter Cronkite has passed away at 92. There are certain milestones that mark one's life. This is definitely one of them. It's only right that his passing coincides with the 40th anniversary of our first steps on another world. I remember watching him report Neil Armstrong's now famous phrase. I remember him taking off his glasses, wiping sweat from his brow. For him, that was showing a great deal of emotion. He'd been up many hours reporting the story. In those days, newsmen were objective to a fault. They had no opinion, no bias. That was left to us - Except this one time. I could see that in that moment he knew that he was a part of one of the few truly noble things we have done as a nation and a people. And if he showed some small semblance of emotion, well, it was easy enough to forgive.

It still amazes me to think that the Apollo's computers had less memory than one would find in your average cell phone or MP3 player. Of course, the computers were custom made. The ROM chips hand-made by teams of "little old ladies". The software was very specific and the code was entered (and re-entered) by hand. Back then, you could do a lot more with 64k of memory than you can now.

Recently, the LRO (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter) was able to image 5 of the 6 Apollo sites. They will remain unchanged for the next few million years as a testament of what humanity can accomplish when we put our mind to it.

Vaya Con Dios, Mr. Cronkite.

Labeled LROC image of Apollo 11 landing site
Apollo 11 lunar module, Eagle.

Image width: 282 meters (about 925 ft.)

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Labeled LROC image of Apollo 15 landing site
Apollo 15 lunar module, Falcon.

Image width: 384 meters (about 1,260 ft.)

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Labeled LROC image of Apollo 16 landing site
Apollo 16 lunar module, Orion.

Image width: 256 meters (about 840 ft.)

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Labeled LROC image of Apollo 17 landing site
Apollo 17 lunar module, Challenger.

Image width: 359 meters (about 1,178 ft.)

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