On This Date In History:
On this date in 1969, Neil Armstrong and Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr. landed on the moon. Michael Collins was left behind in the command module (Columbia) orbiting the moon. Armstrong and Aldrin had landed in the Lunar Module (LEM) called the “Eagle” with but 1 second of fuel remaining. It was nearly a catastrophe. “Houston” was the first word ever spoken from the moon…a point of pride for Texans. The first seven words were, “Houston, Tranquility Base, the Eagle has Landed.” They had landed in the “sea of tranquility” on the moon, a name given to a region that appeared to have few craters or boulders. I’ll spare you more details and let you look it all up yourself, though here is one site with an interesting angle.
But consider this….the earth spins at 1100 mph. The moon is 243,000 miles from the earth and rotates around the rotating earth in 28 day cycles. Space is 3 degrees Kelvin, or 3 degrees above absolute zero which is when all molecular activity stops. There is no atmosphere. It is the most inhospitable place for any human. There were no micro computers and not even calculators. In order to pull it off, calculations had to be extremely precise. The burning of the engines had to be down to the millisecond. All angles had to be exact as well as speed and acceleration. Any slight mishap would spell disaster. Engineers relied on slide rules and theory. Armstrong, Collins and Aldrin as well as all astronauts, even today, are extremely brave frontiersman. It is absolutely unimaginable what happened on this date in 1969. By all rights, it shouldn’t have happened. It is one of the few times that “Yankee Ingenuity” truly lived up to its billing. If you know physics, you know how remarkable this was…if you don’t…take my word for it, it was unbelievable. Perhaps more unbelievable is that at the time, I was running around trying to spend the night at David Cruce’s house while everyone was watching on tv. My parents just said, “yes”. I bet when I wasn’t home the next morning that they had to think about where I was.
Perhaps more unbelievable, my daughter was born on this date on the 25 year anniversary of America’s greatest triumph.
Around the World: Parents today want to keep an extra eye on their kids. I’ve never seen so many parents at kids football practices, particularly mothers making sure that the coaches aren’t mean to the kids. That’s especially true around here since the death of a high school player last year. But, parents in California allowed their 16 year old son miss school…for a year. Zac Sunderland was allowed to sail solo around the world. Here was the NPR story of his bon voyage. Last week, the now 17 year old Sunderland returned safely in his sailboat to California as the youngest person ever to sail around the world. Quite a feat and quite an addition to the young man’s resume. I’m sure he’s got some stories to tell…some I’m sure he won’t tell his mother about.
But, it apparently was not an “unassisted” voyage. Unassited apparently means that one cannot get any help, take on any supplies or materials and all repairs must be made without any outside help or material. So, this Aussie 16 year old girl is going to try to sail solo around the globe unassisted and one-up Zac..a case of anything you can do, I can do better.
Weather Bottom Line: First off, we finally have something to talk about in the tropics but it’s not much. Invest 97L is, on the one hand, is looking a bit more organized but still appears as but a swirl of clouds and should run into some unfavorable upper level winds over the next day or so. But that’s near term and, on the other hand, some models are kinda agressive and the general flow pattern should take it on a northwesterly track up toward the Yucatan Channel, which is the opening to the Gulf. The GFS hasn’t really picked up on it much but the NAM wants to put it south of Florida, sorta over Cuba as a low in 84 hours. You can see that there are but a few of the 18Z hurricane models that have picked up a track and I suspect that, if this guy doesn’t go away, the other models will begin picking up on it. Nothing to get too worked up over but it is something to look at because of the 7 models providing an intensity outlook, 5 make it a tropical storm, one only makes it a depression and one is off the reservation, calling for a Category 2 hurricane.
Locally, I told you it would be cool. Record low high temperatures for both Saturday and Sunday with afternoon highs in mid/late July of 69 and 72 respectively. Showers Sunday afternoon were pretty few and far between. I thought it would be too dry for much. We begin moderating and move to the upper 70’s and low 80’s as we move through the first few days of the week. Nice stretch.