The Mission was over... all that was left of the massive Saturn V was this small capsule containing 100 pounds of moon rocks and the lives of the three astronauts. Re-entering the atmosphere at more than 26,000 miles per hour this capsule heated up to several thousand degrees on the outside... soon it was cooling off in the Pacific Ocean as the USS Hornet steamed to pick them out of the sea.
You can see that some of the surface of the capsule has burned away from the intense heat. Now encapsulated in a covering of Plexiglas to preserve every detail for the world to see at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum in Washington DC. Standing next to all the history in this complex has always left me in awe... but its this exhibit that most inspires me as it represents an enormous feat in human history. Not something from decades gone by but something that happened in my life time.
The Lunar Lander that would have been Apollo 18 had the project continued to its full extent.
Equaly impressive is this F1 Saturn Engine... Still the largest in the world! The combustion chamber in this engine could easily handle temperatures equal to those on the surface of the sun!
One note of interest... The folks of Google Earth have launched a great addition this week with Google Moon where you can fully find all of the Apollo landing sites and a plethora of great information on each mission!
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