To Infinity and Beyond

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  • Topic: NASA, International Space Station, Space exploration
  • Pages : 6 (2443 words )
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  • Published : May 30, 2013
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To Infinity and Beyond
We all have vivid memories of those late summer evenings when the moon is so large we just want to reach out and touch it. James “Jim” Lovell also had this experience, but with one big difference: he got close enough to actually do it. In all of history, in all the millions and millions of people who have walked the Earth, only 12 were lucky enough and skilled enough to have had this experience. They didn’t just see it through some big, fancy telescope, but they saw it through the window of a NASA spaceship orbiting only feet away. Lovell happens to be one of those people. Not only did he visit the moon once, but he visited twice. Jim Lovell, rightfully so, was recognized by Time Magazine as one of their “Men of the Year” in 1969 along with fellow astronauts, Frank Borman and William Anders. Time was right in doing this because Lovell needs to be remembered for a number of reasons. For example, all the work he did aiding the creation of NASA’s space program , the pride he gave America during the Cold War, his success in multiple, skilled fields of work. But most importantly, the intact image of space exploration is almost entirely thanks to him [Gale Biography 5]. Yet even in addition to all of those things, Jim Lovell provided us with a perspective that very few have. We have all yearned to go to the moon. Lovell did that. The perspective he gave us was how important our very own planet was. “The vast loneliness up here at the moon is awe inspiring, and it makes you realize what you have back there on Earth. The Earth from here is a grand oasis in the big vastness of space” [American Experience: Race to The Moon 7], remarked Lovell on his second and final mission to the moon.

Jim Lovell had a very normal, one could call it, childhood. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio on March 25, 1928 to parents Blanche and James Lovell. Although, his parents moved him to Milwaukee, Wisconsin when he was still a young child. There he spent his time building toy rockets which subsequently became one of his favorite hobbies throughout high school. In high school he even figured out how to launch his rockets to noteable heights. In NASA’s biography of Lovell, they titled one of the sections Lovell: Stargazer in Space and stated that Lovell had been interested in space for as long as he could remember. Lovell attended a number of universities prior to his career including: University of Wisconsin, the US Naval Academy, where he received his Bachelors of Science in 1952, Test Pilot School, the University of Southern California, NATC, Aviation Safety School, Harvard Business School, Illinois Wesleyan University, Western Michigan University, Mary Hardin-Bayor University, and also the Milwaukee School of Business. When Lovell first finished with his schooling, he served two years in the Korean war [Ellis-Christensen 8]. After he returned from his tour, in September of 1962, Lovell was selected by NASA to be an astronaut [Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center 4]. This was mainly because of his extensive flying history. Before his space career, he was climbing up the ranks in the Navy as a test pilot. When he finally got chosen by NASA he finished his service in the Navy with over 7000 hours of logged flying time. The astronauts of Apollo 8, Lovell, Borman, and Anders, were the first three humans to ever see the other side of the moon, and from a mere 69 miles away [PBS 7]. Lovell was also known for his sense of humor. On the first live TV broadcast ever seen from space, Lovell could have been seen stirring his chocolate pudding and wishing his 73 year old mother a happy birthday. His first words to describe the moon when he first saw it were, “It looks like a big grey beach!” Also, he named one of the triangular mountains on the moon after his wife and the name stuck. To this day, people still refer to that mountain as Mt. Marilyn [PBS 7].

One of the biggest contributions Lovell left us with was all the work he did to help...
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