Not many of you were alive 50 years ago today (Sorry, dad) at the very start of the space race. On October 4, 1957 the Soviet Union (kids, ask your teachers) launched the world's first artificial satellite. And it was called Sputnik. And it was good.
Good for them because the sight of a little piece of Russian technology cruising over American skies every 90 minutes for 1440 revolutions was "proof" that their communist way of life was superior to ours.
And good for us too because the beating America's national pride took that fall was enough to convince educators and politicians alike of the need to make the teaching of math and sciences a matter of national interest and security.
(Thanks to the Toledo Blade)
As much as we got served by the Russians, who followed Sputnik with the the first animal in space and then the first human, we more than caught up by the early 60s and by the end of the decade had landed our first man on the moon.
This week I saw the outstanding new documentary on the Apollo program that is currently in theaters and can recommend it to you if you have even a passing interest in the space program.
Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin (pictured) are among the Apollo astronauts interviewed for the film and their personal accounts of the trip to and from the moon on Apollo 11 are as fascinating a tale as any human has ever had to tell. Look for In The Shadow Of The Moon in your movie clocks.