We revisited the moon Wednesday night.
Buzz Aldrin, the second man to set foot on the moon, was the guest lecturer for the Clinton Center series. It was moved to Robinson Auditorium in Little Rock and the place was packed. It was the largest crowd any of the 750-plus speakers (all prominent) in the history of the lecture series.
Aldrin, now 83, who advocates that America needs to try to beat the Chinese to Mars, is feisty, witty, sharp and entertaining.
He was asked about an incident in which he punched out a heckler who remarked that the whole moon landing was staged in Arizona. "He called me a liar and a cheat, what did you expect me to do?"
He also noted, "Pilgriims on the Mayflower didn't wait for the return trip. They came to settle."
He said the Apollo 11 astronauts were well trained in fixing things that went wrong, in other words "emergency procedures."
He said that the "smart" computer on the spacecraft was only capable of three things.
He said Neil Armstrong kept it a secret for years that the lunar spacecraft had knocked over the American flag on takeoff from the moon surface.
The space program always fascinated me and so many of the advances and inventions we have today were an outgrowth of that.
It's amazing those days in school when we huddled in front of a black and white television with a screen not much bigger than most cell phones. And the large computers behind the moon landing operation were far less powerful than today's smart phone.
For a presentation from a chair on a stage, it was a blast down memory lane — with a nod to the future.