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July 20, 2009

Over The Moon

Forty years ago today, millions of people watched, transfixed, as Neil Armstrong took his first step onto the moon. Today we talk with five people who remember that moment well.

Bill Bussey was 10. His parents drove the family to Florida to watch the launch from the Kennedy Space Center - then they got in the car and drove back to Georgia to watch the moon landing on TV.

Chris Gember's father used the moon landing as an excuse to buy a color TV - even though the actual broadcast was in black and white. Chris remembers the event as one that made her realize how peaceful and unified the planet could be.

John Polodna was serving in the Army. He heard about the moon landing in the middle of a misbegotten adventure, drifting down a river in Alaska in a boat that had run out of gas. 

And Steve Gustafson was in Holland, newly married to his Dutch bride. Her elderly grandmother, Oma, was convinced the whole thing was staged, filmed in an American desert like the television show High Chaparral. And if it were real, Oma was convinced the world was about to end.  

We also listen back to an interview Dick Gordon recorded with the astronaut Charlie Duke. Charlie visited the moon in 1972. While walking on the lunar surface, he and a fellow astronaut held, what they called, the very first Space Olympics, including a high jump "competition." That program aired on October 20, 2006.

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