21.7.19

One giant leap

3,2,1 Blast off!  Get ready to geek out a little bit with me as we spent all week celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1969 moon landing.   Books were read, spaceships (aliens included) were drawn, astronaut ice cream attempted, balloon rockets launched, astronaut suits and space capsules were carefully designed and crafted.  The only thing I wish we had (which would have given me the best mom ever award) were the special edition moon-themed Oreos!



Did you know that over 400,000 people helped with the Apollo 11 mission, from the janitors, engineers, mechanics, suit-testers, seamstresses, and so on? For the grown-ups and interested kids alike, I highly recommend checking out the book Team Moon which is the story of many of these unsung heroes.  This is what the dedication of this book says: "For the kids of all those thousands and thousands of people who worked on Apollo.  For the sacrifices you made, the birthday parties, ball games, and bed time stories that your parents had to miss because the moon was demanding their time.  It must have been hard sometimes.  But look at what they did.  Thanks for sharing them with the world, when we needed them the most".  I can't even think of any experiences that happened in my lifetime, excepting tragedies, that brought everyone together like The Apollo 11 mission did.   I knew as a fact that the moon landing was a big deal at the time, but I don't think I ever realized the sheer significance of it.  The unfathomable mathematics, the risk of the unknown, the excitement, the families huddled around TV sets, the celebrations shared...I'm feeling the magic of it all this week.  



{link to the video here if you can't see it]

And I also have to admit, it was also a great week to be a homeschooling mom.  If only such exciting things happened every week!   Here are a few of my favorite things.  First, the favorite book on the subject goes to Moonshot by Brian Floca.  We also have been enjoying a website called Storytime from Space where astronauts read stories....from space.  It's like having a fun astronaut uncle or auntie to video chat with.  As always, Read Aloud Revival did not disappoint with their booklists, the podcast, and a tutorial for how to draw a spaceship.  We have a dozen or so spaceships adorning our walls right now.  And one article I found fascinating called 9 Things you should know about the communion service on the moon.

I also learned that Malaysia has had it very own astronaut who visited the International Space Station in 2007 (he trained in Russia), and just this year established its very own Malaysian Space Agency.  Inquisitive minds must know, how do Muslims fast in space?  Which way is Mecca?  What time to fast if there are 16 sunsets and sunrises in a single day while orbiting the earth?  How does one kneel on the ground in zero gravity?  All your questions will be answered thanks to the NY times article, Interstellar Ramadan .

1969 also is the year that Malaysia experienced some violent racial riots, and by July of that year, the country was in a state of national emergency.   Despite the unrest, the moon landing still made front page news here, and the US Embassy in KL recently shared an image of the front page of the local Malaysian newspaper from July 20, 1969:


"For every American, this has to be the proudest day of our lives.  And for people all over the world, I am sure they too join with Americans in recognizing what an immense feat this is.  Because of what you have done, the heavens have become a part of man's world.  And as you talk to us from the Sea of Tranquility, it inspires us to redouble our efforts to bring peace and tranquility to Earth.  For one priceless moment in the whole history of man, all the people on this earth are truly one." 

 -from President Nixon's phone call between the Oval Office and Armstrong and Aldrin on the moon, July 20, 1969.

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