How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon

Catherine Thimmesh in Delancey Place:

“Their voices were rapid-fire. Crisp. Assured. There was no hesitation. But you could practically hear the adrenaline rushing in their vocal tones, practically hear the thumping of their hearts as the alarms continued to pop up.

“Then the Eagle was down to 2,000 feet. Another alarm! 1202. Mission Control snapped, Roger, no sweat. And again, 1202! Then the Eagle was down to 700 feet, then 500. Now, they were hovering — helicopter-like — presumably scouting a landing spot.

“In hundreds of practice simulations, they would have landed by now. But Mission Control couldn’t see the perilous crater and boulder field confronting Neil and Buzz. Those things, coupled with the distraction of the alarms, had slowed them down.

“More than eleven minutes had passed since they started down to the moon. There was only twelve minutes’ worth of fuel in the descent stage.”

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