Last weekend was the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.
I’ve always been fascinated with space. To me it is very inspirational to learn about accomplishing things that for so long seemed impossible. Space exploration shows that the possibilities are endless and the horizons stretch to infinitely.
In the past couple of years I have learned more about space exploration and its history. So in honor of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, and to the inspiration that space travel holds, I am sharing resources about the history of space exploration that I recommend.
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly The blockbuster movie, based on the book, brought to life hidden heroes and their contribution to space exploration. The fact that many, including me, are just learning about these inspiring women is horrible. But I am glad that they are FINALLY getting the recognition they deserve. I read the book first, and as always, the book is better than the movie! The book dives deeper into the careers of the women and the major contributions that they made to NASA and future space exploration. For a quick overview, read the blog post I wrote for the Computer History Museum.
Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars by Natalia Holt. I kind of always thought that once President John Kennedy declared that we needed to go to the moon, that was it. NASA started its research and BOOM, blast off and humans were in space and exploring the moon. Of course something as complex as space travel just doesn’t happen over night, or even years. Try decades. Rise of the Rocket Girls chronicles, through the story of women in the industry, how early space exploration developed and how women were main characters in the technology advancement required for such exploration. In short, women have been present every step of the way.
CHM Core Magazine 2019. Each year the Computer History Museum publishes its Core Magazine with a different focus for each publication. This year’s theme was the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Beginning on page 32, the magazine features articles about the computers and technology that aided the moon landing and the implication of space travel on earth today. It is a free online publication that all are welcomed to enjoy.
Margaret Hamilton. The mission was successful and people landed on the moon. But did you know that it was so close to not being a success? The crew on board, before landing, started to experience technical difficulties. Luckily, thanks to Margaret Hamilton, one of the lead programmers for the mission, wrote in a code that prioritized what tasks were deemed the upmost important. Task like landing were coded as top priority and other functions had to wait. Without Hamilton’s ideas the history of the moon landing maybe different today.
Making Computer Parts by Hand. I honestly believe that people landed on the moon, but the more that I learn about the technology of the time, and what was used for the moon landing, I am shocked that it was even possible. Especially considering that important parts of the computer, on board, were made by hand! Yes, you read that right. At the time core memory was the best memory around. To create it WOMEN had to weave, by hand, the “ropes” that made up the memory. By weaving, and placing in magnetic core into the pattern, the women were programming the computer that would be on board to drive the mission to the moon. AND THIS WAS DONE BY HAND. Again, sometimes it is a miracle that the mission was successful.
Hopefully these resources help you learn more about the history of space travel and continue to inspire you to take on what seems like the impossible!