I've always been fascinated with the Apollo missions and I think in large part it's down to this picture.
Its official NASA designation is AS8-14-2383HR but it's more commonly known as Earthrise. It was taken by Bill Anders on Apollo 8, the first manned spacecraft to go around the moon in December of 1968 and became famous for Anders, Jim Lovell (Who was later to command the ill-fated Apollo 13) and Frank Boorman broadcasting a Christmas Eve message from the book of Genesis.
I believe the picture has actually gone on to become one of the most reproduced images in history although it's almost always rotated ninety degrees to the right, presumably so its fits more comfortably with our Earth-bound perceptions of gravity.
I don't know why I love the image so much, possibly its because they were the first people to ever see it, possibly because its something I know I'll never see myself or possibly because the three Astronauts have jokingly spent forty years arguing over which of them actually took it. If you were to ask most people about the Apollo missions (Arguably aviation and aerospace's greatest achievements) they could probably tell you that Neil Armstrong was the first man on the moon on Apollo 11 and that'd be about it but for me the Apollo mission's finest hour was the first lunar orbit and that picture above.
My wings are like a shield of steel.
Did they or didn't they? That is the question!
At one point in time only two people in the world knew what happened between
Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky and the American government couldn't
keep that one hidden. To have faked the moon landings would have needed
hundreds (If not thousands) of people keeping quiet so the US government would have had no chance with that one.
You have got me there, O winged one!
Neil Armstrong was then a devout Christian. Ergo, he would be incapable of telling a porky surely?
But seriously, as a then busy airline pilot, I can never forget the rising stress as I listened to Neil steadily searching for a suitable landing spot whilst looking out of those horrible little triangular windows. And this following the altitude computer crashing on final approach requiring him to revert to pure old "stick and rudder" skills. Do you recall the almost unbearable tension as the fuel available reduced to just seconds remaining. A brilliant piece of piloting when all hung upon the outcome. Just a bent undercarriage leg would have marooned them and they, and we, would have suffered the tragedy of having to eventually say farewell to them for ever as the ship's power trickled away and all went quiet as millions of us stood helplessly outside in the sad night just staring at the moon and silently weeping.........