When I was a kid, I was awestruck by the Apollo space missions. President Kennedy had set this audacious mission of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth by the end of the 1960s. It was an audacious, difficult, and dangerous mission. In January 1967, the crew of Apollo 1 was inside the capsule on the launch pad, running a test with the plan that in the following month they would blast off and be the first three-man mission to orbit around the earth. During the test, they went through the checklist. Inside the tiny capsule were 31 miles of wiring. Somewhere in the 31 miles of wiring, some of the insulation nicked off, and that wire happened to be close to a cooling line. The silver in that wire caused a chemical reaction with the ethylene glycol in the cooling line, and a spark took place, a chemical reaction. The Apollo capsule's atmosphere was pure oxygen, so within seconds flames spread across the ceiling. Roger Chaffee, one of the astronauts, was heard to say, "There's fire in the cockpit," and a few seconds later there were heard cries of pain. All three astronauts died.
When you try to go to another world it is incredibly dangerous.
Two and a half years later, as Apollo 11 was preparing to take people to the moon, President Nixon assigned columnist William Safire to write a speech titled, "In the Event of Moon Disaster." If anything went wrong in that mission, President Nixon would go on TV, read that speech, radio communications to the astronauts would be cut off, they would be left to die, and a minister would commend their souls to the deepest of the deep. But that's not what happened. On July 20, 1969, with less than 30 seconds of fuel remaining, the lunar module touched down on the ...
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