The Moment That Made Neil Armstrong’s Heart Rate Spike

The Atlantic | 7/16/1969 | Staff
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Two days later, Mission Control couldn’t see anything. The command module had looped around to the moon’s far side, out of the reach of radio communications. During this period of silence, the module slowed down and slipped into the moon’s orbit before coming back around. In this moment, as the men succumbed to the gravity of another world, Armstrong’s heart rate was 106, Aldrin’s 70, and Collins’s a cool 66.

The crew would loop around the moon a dozen more times before one spacecraft became two. Collins stayed in the Columbia module, their living quarters, while Armstrong and Aldrin clambered into the Eagle module and boosted it toward the ground. As they descended, the faint tug of the moon’s gravity greeted them. “Their arms sagged. Legs settled within their suits. Their feet pressed downward in their boots as they yielded to their down-rushing speed,” wrote Jay Barbree, a longtime space journalist and Armstrong confidant, in a biography of the astronaut, who died in 2012.

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Read: What will the moon landing mean to the future?

Armstrong later said he wasn’t worried about the fuel. They were close enough then that if the engine cut off, the moon’s gentle gravity, one-sixth that of Earth’s, would let them...
(Excerpt) Read more at: The Atlantic
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