Apollo 11

As I drove from Seattle to Portland early this morning, the full moon glowed brightly in the western sky. I was born in 1961 right around the time President Kennedy boldly declared that it would be America’s goal to send a man to the moon in this decade and return him safely to earth.

“We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win”.

As I write this newsletter, I’m reflecting on the fact that exactly 50 years ago today, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins were halfway into their 240,000 mile journey to the moon, and that on this coming Saturday, July 20th, we will mark the fiftieth anniversary of their landing and walking on the moon.

When I was a small boy, I was utterly fascinated by space travel and by the American space program. I watched every launch, every splashdown, and everything in between. I remember watching Neil Armstrong land the Eagle on the lunar surface, and then watched him later as he slowly climbed down the LEM ladder and take that “one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind”.  I remember the emotion the late Walter Cronkite showed as Armstrong took that momentous step, and the elation he conveyed as Apollo 11 splashed down safely days later. I miss Walter Cronkite. Those were the days when the news was really NEWS.

I returned from Cultivate19 in Columbus, OH today. Yes, Little Prince was able to send a man to Ohio and return him safely home… Thank you Alaska Airlines!  A very special thanks to Frank Kilders from Clackamas Community College who graciously and professionally covered for me in my booth foe bathroom breaks and meetings during the show. Next year, Little Prince will move beyond the one-man crew of Project Mercury and begin the three person Apollo Program. Thanks for your patience if you had to wait at our booth in Ohio, and if I missed you, please send me a note.

I’ve been listening to the podcast ’13 Minutes to the Moon’ this week. If you’re a history buff, this is a perfect way to immerse yourself into the Apollo 11 landing. It goes into every detail of the final 13 minutes of the flight of the Eagle, from the moment they fired their engines to begin the “powered decent” phase of the landing until you hear Armstrong announce, “Houston, Tranquility Base here, the Eagle has landed”. The landing was FAR from easy and had a number of very tense moments that could have led mission control or the astronauts to abort the landing and come home. The success of the mission was made possible by the skill of the crew, some 400,000-support people who worked on the Apollo Program behind the scenes, and the new “computer” which was small enough to fit in a LARGE room at NASA. This computer had a RAM capacity of 4K, about one-fourth the size of the word document I’m writing now for this newsletter. The mission could not have been accomplished without this computer, or without the contribution of the human “computers” portrayed in the awesome movie “Hidden Figures”, which I watched on the way home from Cultivate.

The mission of Little Prince could not be accomplished without the incredible behind the scenes support staff we have here that plants, waters, weeds, cleans, tags and delivers the plants you order each week. Nor could we produce the plants we do in the carefully planned way we do without the help of our own “guidance” computer, our Grow Point software created by Rick at Advanced Grower Solutions. It fits on a thumb drive instead of a basketball court-sized room. We’re also supported by many other companies that provide us with pots, soils, fertilizer, young plants, plastics, greenhouses, etc. Without your help we could not be the great nursery that is Little Prince. Continuing to be the best that we can be, and the best choice you have to buy high quality plants is a challenge we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win.

 

Cheers,

Mark

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