The 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Mission – The Food Supply of Lunar City by Issac Asimov

Part I The conquest of Environment

July 16, 2019, marked the 50th Anniversary of the Saturn V rocket liftoff from Cape Kennedy, Florida that carried three courageous American Astronauts starting their Space voyage to the Moon. The brave Astronauts were Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Dr. Buzz Aldrin, the Apollo 11 Mission TEAM. What an exciting week that would be as we stayed glued to the television set to watch the Apollo 11 Mission in its entirety.

July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 Liftoff

We lived in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts in the small township of South Egremont. My parents had purchased a historic colonial inn in early 1967 and named it the Red Saber Inn. That event started my career in the hospitality industry and provided the hands-on experience of food service jobs and serving others. My jobs included dishwashing, bussing, serving, cleaning, housekeeping, cooking, pool cleaning and maintenance, and landscaping (lawn mowing).

Red Saber Inn Brochure

The Inn was open daily and our dining room served all three meals. We had guests all year round, so it was up early and plenty to achieve daily. Thanks for this valuable lesson Mom (Helen) and Dad (Bill) and teaching us about keeping a lifelong work ethic at that young age. We had to be Guest-Ready daily!

I was an older brother to my beautiful and kind sister, Joan. Shortly after we took over the inn, Joan and I welcomed a horse (Julia) to our family and we learned about cleaning stalls in our barn, that took more chore time for both of us. This started early every morning. Cleaning the stall, feeding, and watering and brushing Julia. A lot of work but horse riding was fun.

Activities like school homework, sports (football and basketball), school dances and riding my bike and later my mini-bike filled the rest of my time. There was also this important item in the Berkshires called WEATHER. We had an oil-burning furnace and a large fireplace. Winters were often severe. Did you know with blizzards oil could freeze in the underground tank shutting down your furnace? Several times in blizzards we were well below zero with no heat but the fireplace.

NASA Missions to Space and the Moon

Project Mercury Missions

I started 1st grade at Park Street Elementary in Rockville, Maryland in the fall of 1960. In spring of 1961, our 1st-grade class would be lined up and headed to the all-purpose room downstairs, where a black and white television in a cabinet was rolled to the front of a few hundred chairs. Wow – the whole school was there. No Talking! It was May 5th, 1961 and we watched the Mercury 3 Mission with Astronaut Alan Shepard in the

The Mercury 3 with Astronaut Alan Sheppard.

 Freedom 7 capsule blast off to “Space.” He was followed on July 21, 1961, by Astronaut Gus Grissom with the Mercury 4 Mission and Liberty Bell 7 capsule.

Astronaut Virgil “Gus” Grissom

Next, on February 20, 1962, Mercury Mission 6 with Astronaut John Glenn Jr. in Friendship 7 orbited the Earth three times. All bets were off, now as we watched John Glenn orbit. NASA was driving this baby all the way to the Moon. 

Astronaut John Glenn Jr. Friendship 7, 1st to Orbit the Earth.

There were three television channels, no cable television, and the internet had not been invented by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (now known as DARPA).  The ARPA  Network, ARPANET was the precursor to today’s internet.

A funny, popular cartoon show was The Jetsons which aired in primetime starting in the fall of 1962. It showed what life would be like in the future. Elroy and his dog Astro would be getting rides in his parents flying car.

How we would travel!

The Jetsons Cartoon ® from Hanna-Barbera.

Later that year on September 12, 1962, President John F. Kennedy, told us that the USA was going to land a man on the moon and return him safely to earth before the end of the decade. I loved watching every NASA Mercury Manned Mission.

The New York 1964 World’s Fair

GM Futurama Exhibit

Joan and I attended the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Our Grandmother and two Aunts lived in Brooklyn. It was so fascinating to see the exhibits and I was really wowed by the General Motors Futurama building and exhibit. I could not wait for the flying cars to be made and arrive in the near future.

What the Future would be.

GM – Living in the Future 1964

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. started in 1964 and it was also filled with cool technology and a futuristic modern feel. Then the Star Trek franchise debuted in 1966 with Captain James T. Kirk (Willian Shatner), and Spock (Leonard Nimoy). Spock was a Vulcan and really smart, but he had NO emotion. “Beam me up Scotty,” was also born as the cast was transported from the Starship Enterprise to every planet and civilization they visited. 

The main Star Trek Cast.

Star Trek Communicator

The next few years we watched all the Gemini Missions and then the Apollo Missions. It was the most exciting television to watch. Everything else stopped. These were brave American Astronauts sitting on huge Rockets and blasting into space every few months. And we witnessed it live on the television with our family and friends.

Every news broadcast was loaded with expert commentators and scientific whiz kids that shared how the rockets and Mission Control in Houston would work. They shared how the systems had triple redundancy. If something failed, no sweat, there were backups for safety. The Astronauts, along with the designers and contractors were the best and the brightest of the United States of American. NASA systems and the “technology” was state of the art.  This, of course, was after the sad and disastrous Apollo I capsule fire that killed its crew of Astronauts; Grissom, White, and Chaffee in 1967. 

Hidden Figures

Katherine Johnson had the full confidence of John Glenn.

Dorthy Vaughan, Katherine Johnson, and Mary Jackson, NASA Mathematicians (L-R)

Most people at the time never knew and it was not learned until decades later when the book Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margo Lee Shetterly was published, that there were several close calls in NASA missions.  The movie Hidden Figures (1916) loosely based on the non-fiction book was released and detailed the important work these mathematicians performed to make the manned missions successful.

Hidden Figures stars, Janelle Monáe (Mary Jackson), Taraji P. Henson (Katherine Johnson), and Octavia Spencer (Dorthy Vaughan), (L-R)

I just viewed the movie Apollo 11 a few days ago that noted over 400,000 people worked on the NASA missions. What a tremendous accomplishment by the United States of America and these dedicated professionals. Think of what was included in the greatest Project Management success story in history and how many different disciplines, professions, industries, and teams were required for the completion of the NASA manned flight programs. It was truly amazing. 

We learned detail after detail from television news broadcasters about what the Astronauts would wear, how they would breathe, how they would walk on the moon. And Food Service was part of the program. They had to eat and drink to stay alive.


Issac Asimov, Professor, Futurist, Science Fiction Icon and Author

I was intrigued by this, Astronauts would eat and drink in space and when they landed the Eagle on THE MOON. It was very interesting to receive Food Service® Magazine in July, because of an article by the famous professor, futurist, and writer Issac Asimov. The article; The FOOD SUPPLY OF LUNA CITY, Part 1 – The Conquest of Environment detailed some of the challenges for the menu, the quantity of food necessary, a space food management system and having astronauts eat in Zero-Gravity. This was real Science and Science Fiction combined.

The Moon Colony was named by Asimov as Luna City (kind of a catchy brand name). He mentions that everything would need to be transported from Earth. Each ship that brings men would need to bring food, water, and air. You can only imagine the containers and systems required to accomplish this feat.

Read the article below to appreciate the true genius of Issac Asimov and what faces NASA when we return to the Moon or go to other planets in the future. See you going by in your flying car! This would be one of the two big things to happen in the summer of 1969. Stay tuned for the story of my second 50th-anniversary celebration, right Pepsi Cola?



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