Memories of the First Moon Landing

Today is the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, and I’m feeling very nostalgic as I recall my childhood memories of that historic event:

As a matter of fact I was six years old at the time which is easily old enough to have been aware of what was going on, but I don’t remember seeing anything to do with Apollo 11 and the Moon landings on 20th July 1969. I do recall bits and pieces of later Apollo missions but, unlike many colleagues of roughly my age who went into astronomy astrophysics or space science, I can’t really say that it was these events that inspired me to become a scientist. What did was something quite different!

But just because I wasn’t very aware of the significance of Apollo 11 at the time, doesn’t mean that I don’t think it was a spectacular achievement that is well worth commemorating fifty years on. Happy memories to all those who remember it, and enjoy the celebrations!

P. S. Interesting actuarial factoid: of all the people who were alive on 20th July 1969, only about 20% have not died yet.

11 Responses to “Memories of the First Moon Landing”

  1. Dave Carter Says:

    Hmmm… I wonder which actuary worked that out. I will ask my son, who is one, but that 20% figure seems very low. I appreciate that this is worldwide, and life expectancy in some of the more populous nations is not what it is here, but still it seems low.

  2. Dave Carter Says:

    No, I understand that. Its that of the people alive in 1969, four fifths are dead. With a life expectancy of 80, I wouldn’t expect that. I was 16 in 1969. I would say that the majority of people 15 years older than me then are still alive (remember the life expectancy is reduced by younger people dying, i.e. those born since 1969, including infant mortality).

    Maybe, because of what we are involved in now, we see a lot of old people around, and forget about those who have died.

    • telescoper Says:

      Life expectancy was not 80 for the majority of people on the planet in 1969.

      • Dave Carter Says:

        It wasn’t 50 either. You would need to look at the age distribution of people at that time.

      • telescoper Says:

        Life expectancy in India for people born in 1969 was 46.43.

      • telescoper Says:

        I agree with your point, and it is quite uncertain as we don’t have good population data for much of the world. The fraction of people in America who were alive in 1969 and are still is much easier to calculate and is much higher than 20%.

  3. Dave Carter Says:

    Yes, so it may be that South and South East Asia (they had a fair bit of trouble in the latter around then) will reduce the proportion of survivors from 1969.

  4. I was seven when Apollo 11 landed. I still remember it – the day made a huge impact. It didn’t strictly push me into the sciences, either (physics, mainly) which I studied until veering, later, into social science. But the moon landing was part of a general background that basically did steer me in the direction of all things scientific.

  5. Dave Carter Says:

    To me the crowning achievement of the US manned space programme was not Apollo 11 but Apollo 13. That they could get the crew back after the side had blown out of the craft was an astonishing achievement.

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