On this day 50 years ago, man set foot on the moon.
It still seems incredible to me that in 1969 it was possible for three men to take off from the earth, navigate to the moon, land on the moon, take off again, and return to earth successfully!
If we had not done that 50 years ago, and we were setting out to do it today, I would still be impressed!
But I guess the thing that astonishes me most, given all of my years in computing, was the “Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC)”. This computer had 36k words of ROM and 2k words of RAM, weighed about 70 pounds(about 31kg ), was accessed using a calculator-style keyboard and display (called a “DSKY”), and “flew most of Project Apollo except briefly during lunar landings”!
That is amazing to me. The astronauts gave it instructions using a 2 digit verb and a 2 digit noun!
Apparently the power of the computer was comparable to an Apple II (which I had about 8 years later).
And apparently the “software development on the project comprised 1400 person-years of effort, with a peak workforce of 350 people”. At its peak, the Apollo program employed 400,000 people apparently!
In 2009, a DSKY (just the interface, not the whole computer) was sold in a public auction for $50,788 (about €45k)
It’s no wonder some people believe that the Apollo moon landing was faked. It’s an amazing achievement.
I was 7 when the mission took place. I remember looking at the fuzzy pictures on a TV. I’d like to say it was in black-and-white but we were on holidays at the time and I think the TV we were looking at had some kind of green filter!
Here is a link to the Wikipedia page for the AGC:
And here is the photo from the Apollo 11 mission with which I am most familiar (it was in the volume of encyclopedias we had at home when I was growing up!)