TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - With Saturday being the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, an East Texas university dean is putting into perspective just how astounding that achievement was, given our modern technological advances.
“The moon landing was the defining moment of the 20th century. It epitomized the technological gains that took place in the 20th century,” said Fred Ritchey, LeTourneau University’s dean of aviation.
Even now, it’s hard to believe science knew enough to make a moon landing a reality.
“To go from horses and carriages to walking on the moon was such a huge step, such a huge leap in mankind,” Fred sais.
Ritchey said it was done with human power, brilliant minds with slide-rules.
“Very brilliant people. It took a lot of people a lot of time and a lot of hard work to go to the moon without all of the computer power we have now. The early computers that they used, that NASA used, were room sized computers,” he sais.
Ritchey has a collection of items that when to the moon, the bible on microfilm. a mustard seed, and flags.
"The moon landing initiative was a thing that brought the entire country and the entire world together," he says.
But the path there came with extreme risk.
"Takes a lot of fuel to lift one pound of payload into space. Early in the space program they had a lot of failures. Rockets blew up on the launch pads. The technology we live with today, a lot of that was born out of this moon project," Ritchey says.
But that one moment in time is legendary.
"All we could do is listen to what was being said," he says.
Ritchey says he hopes this anniversary will spur the space program to visit the moon again within the next 5-to-10 years.