Twittering the Apollo 11 Moon mission, 40 years on

Nature News twitters the Apollo 11 moon mission as it happened — 40 years on. Follow them at ApolloPlus40 ; location, the Moon.

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Two hours ago: #Apollo 11 passes 9-hr flight readiness review: 16 July launch date approved.

Robert left a comment to my "puzzled of Twitter" post the other day recommending a service called Thwirl, which I've duly downloaded. It seems to do for Twitter what the Friend Feed notifier does for Friend Feed and other similar pop-up notifiers do for their services (eg the dreaded email notifier which I have turned off). This pop-up route is apparently "the" way to use Twitter, not RSS (I have probably been told this before by other helpful people but only just got round to focusing on this pressing issue). Once Thwirl was installed (very easy, but requires Adobe AIR, as does the Friend Feed notifier) I immediately found out that the Apollo 11 programme had started (40 years on) so I can tell you about it – and I have also found, via Andreas (whose Twitter name is, I think, @Trabesinger – follow him if you want to know lots of things about physics and probably motor racing – he is very nice), 18 beautiful rainbows from around the world. I would certainly have missed seeing those without this Thwirly thing, so I'm grateful for that.

By the way, Thwirl also lets you include other services, including Friend Feed – I think I might find that level of integration just too confusing, though, because the only people who are allowed to appear on my FF notifier are the crime-fiction room members – so if I see a FF pop-up I know it is crime-fiction related (or OT!). And I imagine that everyone else I know on Friend Feed is also on Twitter so they will all be Thwirled, now.

While I've been writing this post, the Apollo 11 programme staff have been busy, popping up regularly with updates about their preparations for launch. It's so exciting, reminding me vividly of the tension, massive public interest, and sense of awe at the sheer scale of the ambition back in the "olden days". Then, I cut out pictures and articles from the Times's coverage (they ran various special supplements) and stuck them up on my bedroom wall. I had to visit a friend's house to watch the news on the day it happened because we didn't have a TV — waiting to see the film of the landing on that day was unbearable! How times have changed in terms of instant, constant, pictorial news reporting. (And my bedroom wall isn't the same either, believe it or not - but although this year it features a calendar of scenes of Yosemite national park, next year I just might go for planets and satellites.)

5 thoughts on “Twittering the Apollo 11 Moon mission, 40 years on

  1. Thanks for this, Maxine. I love the image of the girlish Petrona sticking Apollo pictures on her wall. Your enthusiasm is wholly understandable — when I flew to Florida recently, as we crossed the coastline the pilot announced “Cape Canaveral on the left,” and I nearly head-butted the window out of the jet, trying to get a good look at the launch pads and rocket assembly building.

  2. I used to dream of going there, in those “olden days”, so swept away was I by the romance of the space missions. I also developed a crush on the mysterious sounding “Houston”, mission control – it seemed fascinating, those rooms full of screens and people gazing at them intensely.

  3. I find the whole thing awe-inspiring, and can get incredibly emotional about it. We’re lucky to have grown up in the era when we could watch spaceflight in its first, questing stage. I hope our kids will be as lucky. Mars?

  4. Celebrate the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11 by reading moving and poignant comments from those that lived through it, and sharing your own memories at an Apollo 11 Special Post at Bog on the Universe.
    The Post includes extensive resources to foster sharing stories with family and friends, and how to follow the mission-in real time-as it happened 40 years ago through a JFK Presidential Library online Sim.
    With best wishes for a wonderful return to the Moon,
    Dr. Jeff Goldstein, Center Director
    National Center for Earth and Space Science Education

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