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https://apnews.com/fcc3d442fe0cb4e640b0eae05d3e71c8

Why do I mention it? The story reminded me of what Wernher von Braun said during the Apollo 11 landing. Some reporter asked him if he thought the crew would find life on the moon. He replied: "Life on the moon? Of course, there is life on the moon. We just put it there."

Someday soon, we will have astronauts on Mars. Which reminds me of what happened at our house during the landing. We were holding a birthday party for one of my sisters, with most of the (extended) family there. My parents were there. My father had worked on designing power supplies for the radars at Cape Canaveral. (The NASA facility is named for JFK. The radars were, and AFAIK still are at Patrick AFB and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.) Also there were my mother's parents. My grandmother had flown (on commercial jets as part of her job) with all 7 of the original astronauts. (NASA later switched to trainer jets for the astronauts to keep their flight hours current.) My grandfather had been a pilot during World War 1 and had literally learned to fly from the Wright Brothers. Oh, and I did a little bit of work on the Apollo guidance computer under Doc Draper, at what later became Draper Labs.

Llong introduction, but... While we were waiting for Neil Armstrong to step on the moon, I commented that the TV camera to be used was black and white, not color. So the first pictures we would see live from the moon would be black and white. My mother said, "Live from the moon? Live from the moon. When I was your age, we would say 'its as likely as flying to the moon,' to indicate that something was impossible."

My grandfather piped up, "Helen (my mother, three Helens there) do you remember when I came up to your room and said we were going (from outside Philadelphia) to New York to see an old friend off? "I never thought Lindbergh would make it!"

Several years later, I visited Bud in a nursing home. We watched Voyager II pictures "Live from Saturn." Bud reminded me of his comments during the Apollo landing. He said that this was so far beyond him that the idea that it would go on to Uranus and Neptune was just more of the same. I always wonder what my "Lindbergh" moment will be. Not Apollo 11. I remember an early briefing on Apollo which showed the advantages of a lunar orbit rendezvous. Initially two earth launches, then the Saturn V design which could do it all in a single launch. Once that happened, I was sure I would see the first men on the moon. (There is a film on the web showing just how risky the Apollo 8 mission was. If you had to evaluate risks, much riskier than Apollo 11. If the Apollo 13 explosion had happened on Apollo 8? No Lunar Module, no chance.)

I think that an FTL spaceship that reaches more than ten times the speed of light should do it. (I may be living on a planet around Proxima Centauri by then. Near light speed spaceships should make that possible, even if they use some form of Alcubierre drive to avoid the problem of increasing mass near light speed. ;-)
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