Celebrating the Engineers behind the First Moon Landing
Scientific American has this retrospective on the early space program and the engineers behind it:
When John F. Kennedy announced his moon challenge to the nation in 1961, thousands of minds set fervently to work. Incredulous, they gazed at legions of imposing problems: unsteady, exploding rockets; a largely mysterious lunar surface; and trajectory calculations full of best guesses. With less than nine years to complete a lunar landing, the engineers didn’t have a script. As my father’s colleague Marlowe Cassetti put it, “I can think of a toddler taking a first couple of steps and being unsure, and then you say, ‘In a couple of years, he’s going to run a marathon.’”
In the end, the toddler of NASA stayed on its wobbly feet and eventually started running. The engineers survived “core dumps” and rainstorms to nail capsule reentry times. They not only found the numeric razor’s edge to the moon, but also choreographed an awkward orbital dance between a fragile little ship and the moon’s lumpy gravity. Eventually, they timed a landing with optimal shadow lengths for the photos, films and first steps of astronauts.
8-6-2021 (August 6, 2021) is the Snakiest day of the year and it’s also this year’s CircuitPython Day! The day highlights all things CircuitPython and Python on Hardware. See you there!
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.