Apollo 11 Memory
I was 10 years old when the Apollo 11 mission took place. Growing up in a mid-sized town in India I did not have access to TV. I did have a radio. I remember intently listening to the news about the landing on a small crackling transistor radio. Neil Armstrong’s first step was definitely an American accomplishment but was also a tremendous accomplishment for all of humankind. I recollect that my family and I were very excited about it.
As the weeks went by after the landing, some magazines published color pictures of the mission. I would carefully clip them out and paste them on poster boards in my room. I was so excited about NASA and dreamt of working there. I think that was the genesis of my interest in engineering and the desire to push boundaries. Perhaps that is one reason why I have many inventions and patents today.
Years later, when I immigrated to the U.S., I had the opportunity to visit the Control Room at Mission Control in Houston and also look at the Saturn V rockets and they gave me goosebumps. Then two years ago – almost 48 years after the landing, I got to meet Buzz Aldrin in person and tell him my story. I never did work at NASA but as you can perhaps tell, I am still excited about the Apollo missions!
I think ambitious projects like the Moon Shot and Apollo missions are so important – in addition to accomplishing the objective, they also inspire people. In this case they inspired a 10-year-old on the other side of the world who ultimately found his way to the U.S. and now Kansas City.
C. Mauli Agrawal, Ph.D., Chancellor, University of Missouri-Kansas City