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Friday, 18 March 2011

If men were still on the moon

This is a copy of the letter that was prepared for President Nixon to read to the nation in the event that the Apollo 11 astronauts couldn't get off the moon. Note that they are still alive, but beyond hope of rescue.

As I think about it, I wonder if this letter really ever would have been read. At least I doubt that it was part of an automatic plan to be put in place in the event that the Lunar Module couldn't take off. In life, it seems, there seldom are automatic plans. Instead there are "options still on the table." Reading this letter was probably never more than one of several different options on the table.

It's really amazing, fifty years into manned space flight, that no astronaut has ever died outside the earth's atmosphere; none have ever been abandoned in space.

Had the Apollo 11 astronauts died on the moon, I expect that one of the subsequent Lunar Missions would have been tasked with retrieving their bodies. But, unless man does indeed return to the moon, we'll never again be faced with that possibility.

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