“One small step for [a] man…”

Last year saw the 40th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11.  Four days later, on 20th July 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Moon.  And, as the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter discovered, the evidence is still there.

The BBC have some clips online, including this fascinating interview with Neil Armstrong from The Sky at Night in 1970.

And, looking forward, the BBC’s Spaceman blog has a post on a potential compromise over President Obama’s proposed new policy for Nasa, the Nasa Authorization Act of 2010 [pdf file], including “The addition of one more shuttle flight to the launch manifest” – “A lesson in ‘political science, not rocket science'”

The mood music suggests the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee has found a peace formula.

The White House spokesman Nick Shapiro was quoted as saying the deal worked out with the senators “contains the critical elements necessary for achieving the president’s vision for Nasa”.

Lori Garver, Nasa’s deputy administrator, echoed that when she said: “This is a milestone in the realignment of the space programme for the 21st Century,” adding also: “It preserves the most important parts of the president’s plan”.

But others will be disappointed to see a plan that appears in their view to dilute too much the original Obama vision. I was interested to see the comments of John Grunsfeld, a former Nasa chief scientist and the astronaut who participated in three Hubble repair missions:

Overall, does this look like the kind of bill that was planned by a team of rocket scientists and aerospace designers? No, it doesn’t.”