Thursday, June 2, 2011
Happy Birthday, Pete Conrad!
Here at the Blessed are the Geeks Blog, we're big fans of everybody who has ever been involved with NASA, and of Pete Conrad in particular.
Conrad was Commander of the Apollo 12 mission and became the third man to walk on the moon, after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin's historic Apollo 11 mission a few months previous. Armstrong's first words after stepping on the moon are now famous and immortal, but Conrad's were much funnier:
"Whoopie! That may have been a small one for Neil, but that's a long one for me."
He was joking about the fact that Neil Armstrong was one of the tallest astronaut's while he was one of the shortest (5'6 to Neil's 5'11). But what really matters is that the man's first words after stepping onto the moon were a joke, and that's just awesome. His courage and dedication to his job are well known to everybody by virtue of the fact that he was a commander who led a team to the moon, but by all accounts he was also a great wit, a good man, and a brilliant, fun loving guy. He was killed in a motorcycle accident almost thirty years after his historic walk on the moon. Had he survived, he would be turning 81 today. Whoopie!