How people flew to the moon-exploring the HEART of health in space

Humans on the Moon-July 20, 1969

July 20, 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar module Eagle landing on the Sea of Tranquility on the Moon. But more remarkable than landing a vehicle on the Moon, was sending three humans to the Moon and back-safely.


Human bodies are designed for Earth, not outer space, so taking them into space and bringing them back safely was a monumental task and grave responsibility. And it was not accomplished perfectly-early on in 1967 the Apollo 1 spacecraft cabin caught fire and claimed the lives of three astronauts.

Despite the strides NASA has made in its perpetual quest to make spaceflight safer, it’s still a dangerous business. Our astronauts are stepping on top of a bomb when they climb into the capsule of a spacecraft, a bomb they trust will go off in a controlled manner.

Of the 135 space shuttle flights, two ended in disaster, claiming seven lives each.

Sam Howe Verhovek, article in National Geographic 07.2019
“If we die, we want people to accept it. We are in a risky business and the conquest of space is worth the risk of life.” astronaut Gus Grissom, who died in a fire in the Apollo 1 module

My space exploration

I grew up watching the space exploration adventure develop from Mercury to Gemini to Apollo and beyond and am still fascinated by it. My family and I never miss a chance to tour a museum exhibit featuring space and have enjoyed visits to the Johnson Space Center in Houston and the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Here

I’m sharing memories of my travels which I hope you enjoy.

life size photo of the Apollo 11 crew-Armstrong, Collins, and Aldrin
I (almost) met the Apollo 11 crew at the Johnson Space Center in Houston
  • Distance from Earth to Moon-238,855 miles
  • Duration of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon-8 days, 3 hours, 18 minutes
  • Top speed of ship to moon 24,000 miles per hour
  • Length from the ladder to the moon surface of Armstrong’s “one small step”- 3.5 feet

Info as reported in AARP magazine, June/July 2019



Exploring space at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago Illinois

A Bold Leap Forward-the Gemini space missions
A Gemini Spacecraft
sign about the Gemini 12 Spacecraft
how a space flight was monitored from the ground

Health in space

During space flight, a medical doctor monitored the crew’s health. They were concerned with learning “can man live in space?”

They learned that man could live very nicely in space for two weeks. The cardiovascular system would adapt quite nicely.

Gemini 7 Temperatures diagram

“You get to know each other quite well.” (How to use the toilet in space.)

There are no toilets on a small spacecraft so an astronaut’s liquid waste went into a tube, vented to the outside. Solid waste went into a plastic fecal collection bag, then stored behind their seats.

Gemini-7-Surgeon phone

When I flew on the space shuttle and the space station, I would look at the moon…I didn’t feel like I missed something by not going there. Just knowing that people got there-regular people, very brave ones-it makes it so that I’m there a little bit.

Humans pulled this off. We can do incredible things. Impossible things

Cady Coleman, retired astronaut , from AARP magazine

Please visit this previous post where I tell you about another woman astronaut, who gave her life in service to her country and the space program. On February 1, 2003  the STS-107 crew perished during re-entry as Columbia broke up over Texas en route to a landing in Florida. They amassed 15 days, 22 hours and 20 minutes in space.

Dr. Laurel Salter Clark

exploring the HEART of health in space

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

To start following Watercress Words , use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn, links are on the left side bar here and the Home page. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 


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