Mad Scientess Jane Expat (nanila) wrote,
Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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Apollo 11 anniversary thing! Yay!

Hello! I have had two large glasses of wine on an empty stomach at the reception after the "Apollo 11 40 Years On" lectures, aka Spodfest '09. It was fantastic and I gathered up all manner of interesting little facts that I want to work into an outreach talk about manned spaceflight, if I can find an excuse for giving one. Perhaps the inertial guidance system involving accelerometers ("autopilot") will provide me with it? Must ponder.

  • The Saturn V rocket distinctly tilts away from its tower when it's launched. It "yaws" like this on purpose to ensure that it decouples from the five sets of arms holding it in place. Once this is pointed out to you in the launch video, it is rather scary.

  • Werner von Braun, developer of the Saturn V rocket, was not happy that the rocket was tested only twice before people were put into it.

  • The lunar landing module on Apollo 11 didn't decouple from the control & service module properly, thus causing it to overshoot the intended landing site by three miles.

  • When the command module returned to Earth, it was traveling at 11 km/s. At that speed, one could cross London in 5 seconds.

  • It is a commonly held misconception that Teflon and Velcro were developed for the Apollo missions. They were in fact developed years before [I knew this about Teflon, actually]. Apollo simply popularized their use.

  • However, silicon chip technology was in fact a spin-off of Apollo. At one point, half of the chips in production in the US were being used by NASA.

I totally bought the book (NASA Mission AS-506 Apollo 11 Owners' Workshop Manual). And walked into the tube station at Hyde Park with my fellow spodling from our group, waving my arms babbling about the MoonLITE mission and dropping £5 and having it returned to me by a man in a suit who barely refrained from shaking his head indulgently at our nerdy enthusiasm for science.

I love the Moon! I love science! I have to go try and cure my dronk with strawberries and ham sandwiches now! Bye!
Tags: dronk, science
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